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Showing 1-10 of 70 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 83 reviews
on April 2, 2015
The content was great and noir of the period brought back great memories of when television produced quality programs. However...the boxes the discs came in were pure trash. Set contains 8 disc boxes containing 2 discs per box. In nearly every disc box the "hubs" (which hold the DVD in place) were broken which allowed the discs to slide around with the broken pieces during shipping causing marring and scratching. There were only 2 "hubs" which were not broken, but they literally disintegrated when the discs were removed for the first time. Product was great but packing is JUNK...That's why I only gave this 2 stars.
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on July 28, 2015
OK series, quality of DVDs better than you might expect. Based on others' reviews, I was hoping this series would be better than it is. It's not bad, but basic fare for the era. However, I feared many poor-resolution episodes (also based on others' reviews), but so far the ratio of great (for the era) resolution to poor resolution is about a dozen great episodes to one poor, high-contrast episode.
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on July 8, 2013
I am down to the last two disks and I think the last disk is a audio dvd for the sound track. So I have watched most of the series and have found it very entertaining. This show didn't get a lot of big name guests, lots of character actors of old. But really Marvin carried this show on his own personality. Most of the video is very good, a few episodes show a little wear and tear. Good solid scripts and acting particularly Marvins performance.
Lee Marvin is a believable tough guy probably because he was a real tough guy, not a Hollywood creation.
Well worth the money........ I've seen this series as low as 43 dollars here on Amazon.
If your tired of all the fake contrived reality shows on cable these days invest your money in something entertaining and dump the overpriced cable junk.
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on February 5, 2012
This is a great series.Bought it sight unseen as I wanted to see Lee Marvin in his only TV series.This is one for the boys.Plenty of action.More gunplay than in a shooting gallery.You get the whole series here including a CD of the music from M Squad.This show must have been really popular in it's day as at the end of one episode during the credits Lee Marvin announces that due to popular demand the album is out of stock but more is on the way to the record stores and thanks the viewer for their patronage.If anyone remembers "Police Squad" that would then be turned into the Naked Gun movies this is the series that they are ripping off including it's theme music heard in the Naked Gun movies.The only reason I have given it four stars instead of five, and I really wanted to give this five stars,is because of the picture quality.Up to now, I've been really lucky with Timeless DVD's.But here I can see what some of the reviewers have been talking about.There is a milky white film over the night time exterior shots.The picture is still watchable but if you don't like this and want pristine images stay clear.I would rather have this show than not to have seen it at all.But it is up to you to decide.Timeless Media Group does announce this at the beginning of each DVD.This is the best prints they could get.It's a shame but Timeless Media Group is the only company taking the trouble to get these shows out there to us for which I am grateful.
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on February 14, 2015
I don't understand this carping about picture quality. It's not up to the latest standards, but anyone who remembers the old days of b&w television before cable won't be shocked. It looks gritty, but so is the show! The on-location shots of 1950's Chicago adds realism to the stories. You get the ENTIRE series PLUS a CD with the great jazz score. It's still highly enjoyable with Marvin in top form as Lt. Frank Ballinger, a tough cop who sends murderers to "the death house."
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on March 6, 2013
First, the show:
If you like fifties crime shows or retro tv, this is a must-have! Imagine "Dragnet" with (much) more testosterone, more action, (much) more bloodshed, and a faster pace. Throw in unusual camera angles, great dime detective novel-type dialogue, and an actor (Lee Marvin) who acts as if he was born to play the part of the tough and overworked Chicago detective to beat all Chicago detectives and you get "M Squad." There's plenty to distinguish this show from the many crime shows that were broadcast in the fifties: for one thing, there's violence - bloody violence. When someone gets in a car wreck (episode one), we see the very mangled cars and the bloody passengers inside the wreckage (anyone used to the sanitized crime shows of the fifties may be surprised at the realism of M Squad). Then there's the dozens of telling details that are thrown in that make this show special. At one point in episode one, Marvin is discussing the crime with another officer. A very buxom woman strolls by for a very brief moment. She walks by so fast and so close to the camera that we don't even see her face. Without missing a beat or a word of the conversation, Marvin's cold hungry eyes are pulled to the woman's attributes and follow her (them) until she is out of view. It only takes a second (and you will miss it if you aren't paying attention), but that small detail lets us know a lot about Marvin's character: he's virile and lusty underneath all that tough cop hide. We're only 15 minutes into the show and Marvin's character is already a fully developed, three-dimensional figure, There are dozens of small revealing details like that in M Squad that took time to think of and work into the script.
Now on to the audio/video:
It's not as bad as some of the reviews here suggest. Some of the audio is muddy in places (and Lee Marvin tends to be gravel-voiced to begin with), but I could understand everything. It sure isn't digital audio, though! The video is dark in places on some episodes. It's disappointing that this is so, but everything is watchable. I wouldn't bother with it if this was a bad show, but it is so good that I am just delighted to have it at all.
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on December 22, 2011
Old black & white TV series are not for everyone, especially if HD picture quality is a high priority. But if your viewing preferences are all about the atmosphere, the characters, the plot, and the music; M-Squad is a must have!
M-Squad was the basis for Police Squad, the short-lived detective series spoof starring Leslie Nielsen in the 1980's.
Yes, the picture quality varies considerably, and it is rarely excellent, but it is always perfectly watchable. There are very few episodes that one even fixates on the video quality. What does grab the viewer immediately is the raw, brutal but very human qualities of Detective Frank Ballinger (Lee Marvin), and the extreme gritiness of the often snow-covered 1950's Chicago urban landscape.This is a formula series-the intro never changes, but the story begins immediately with no fluff, and the Detective begins his investigation within a minute or two into the episode. Lee Marvin does his own fight scenes, and like all police heroes, is incredibly lucky to not get hit by bullets during the almost obligatory gunfire scene toward the end of the show. He is also an excellent marksman, being able to engage in a shootout with the crook,but never killing him-something that rarely happens in the real world. The plots are tight, with an unusually high number of women involved in the crime stories, even as the perpetrators.
At the incredibly low price this Timeless Media Group set is selling for, it is nearly worth it just for the bonus Music From M-Squad CD, let alone 15 DVDs in a really quality packaged set.
Get it while it lasts, and then pass it on to a friend or colleaque. They will never make anything like this again.
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on September 20, 2009
Ok, first the bad: Not only are the best of the episodes (imagewise) not restored, but some of worst are of poor video quality. M Squad was an important police drama of the late 50's - early 60's and you would think that NBC Universal would put some money into restoration efforts. Shows of the same era -- such as Perry Mason and Naked City look excellent by comparison. But the DVDs are better than nothing and for the price---you are getting 117 twenty-five minute episodes plus a fabulous audio CD of the jazz music from the series. Count Basie wrote the show's opening theme (for the second and third seasons) and other jazz greats contributed to the show's music.

Although Lee Marvin had appeared in numerous feature films prior to this series, you can see why this show made him a star. He had that rough and tumble, no-nonsense screen presence as Detective Lt. Frank Ballinger. Twenty-five minutes doesn't give a lot of opportunity for plot development, so there's a quite a bit of fast paced action--not a lot of talk, but a lot of shooting first and asking questions later.

But it is an interesting relic of the past and there is the pleasure of watching early performances for a lot of actors who went on to stardom: Charles Bronson, Mike Connors, Burt Reynolds, Tom Loughlin, Angie Dickenson, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly, Ed Nelson, etc. Plus a lot of obscure character actors who are immediately recognizable as staples of TV for the next thirty years.

Although exteriors where shot in Chicago, most of the time the stories were filmed on the back lots in Hollywood, so the production values don't really match up with the Naked City. But all in all, the DVD is money well spent for an enjoyable time.
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on September 9, 2015
Arrived in good shape and was better than I thought it would be. Lee Marvin was perfect for this show and it was like looking back to the past and what it was really like. Liked it a lot and will enjoy re-watching again and again.
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on September 27, 2009
I just started viewing the M-Squad multi-Pak, watching the show's first episode - "The Golden Look." I was looking forward to this DVD set as I had only sketchy memories of the show as it went off the air when I was three. I think WGN-TV in Chicago might have re-run the series in the early 1960s and I caught a few episodes then.

The intro warns you that the digitizers of the series had only somewhat beat-up film stock to work with (guess those guys at AFI wanting to make soft copies of all those old flicks weren't blowing smoke, so to speak). All in all, the copy quality is better than a lot of 1930s and 1940s flicks that survive on TV that weren't deemed "great works" with prime vault copies that could be mastered to DVD.

Anyway, what I saw of the first episode was wet my appetite for the rest. Lee Marvin plays Lt. Frank Ballinger, part of the omnibus M-Squad of the Chicago Police. This edition has Ballinger tracking down the lone survivor of a stick-up gang that killed three guards at an armored car office, then killed a father and son in a car collision during the get-away.


When Ballinger finally tracks the baddie to a merchant ship on Lake Michigan, there is no Miranda warning, only a fist sandwich from Marvin (hey, this was 1957).

I was surprised to find Bruce Gordon (yes, Frank Nitti on "The Untouchables") playing an Eisenhower-era CSI in this episode. The show edits in location shots of Marvin in Chicago (see NYPD Blue four decades later in The Big Apple) to provide the illusion that Hollywood back lot streets are the Windy City. Seeing Chicago in those location shots from 50 years ago is like stepping out of a time machine. A Drake Hotel appears in one scene, but with no John Hancock building nearby. Ballinger walks under El Tracks in the Loop, surrounded by signage that appears to have been hanging there since before D-Day.

If you like 1950s detectives with a refreshingly Draconian sense of justice, who slam down black coffees while chasing leads on rotary-dial phones with a Lucky Strikes hanging from their lips, this show is for you. If you want to see where an actor earned his chops before starring roles in "The Dirty Dozen" and "Point Blank" this is your puppy.

Finally, if you like a glimpse of times your parents or grandparents told you about, add this to your collection.
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