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Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series [DVD]
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New York City. 1958. In these concrete canyons, everybody's got an angle: The beauty with the sob story who killed her old man. The harmless geezer who's in bed with the mob. The kidnapped broad who's really a fraud. When a case gets too twisted for the cops, only one man can straighten it out: two-fisted gumshoe Mike Hammer.
Created by legendary crime novelist Mickey Spillane, Mike Hammer was brought to television for the first time in 1958, with Darren McGavin (Kolchak: The Night Stalker, A Christmas Story) as the hardboiled private eye. Pummeled for its "excessive and gratuitous violence" (by 1950's standards), the show was, nevertheless, instantly successful - thanks, in part, to McGavin's tongue-in-cheek charm.
Here for the first time on DVD is the complete 78-episode run of the groundbreaking series MICKEY SPILLANE'S MIKE HAMMER, featuring the original jazz theme, Riff Blues and an unforgettable cast of conmen, crooks, killers and femmes fatale played by such notables as Angie Dickinson, Ted Knight, Barbara Bain, Marion Ross, Dick Van Patten and Robert Vaughn.
ALL 78 EPISODES ON 12 DISCS
Top Customer Reviews
As the episodes are short and action packed, character development often plays second fiddle to moving the narrative along. As such, many guest roles can seem fairly one dimensional. Women, in particular, get short shrift--usually portrayed as either simpering victims or as evil incarnate with little moderation. In many respects, therefore, the show's success sits on the reliable shoulders of McGavin. The stories themselves are better than expected, with plenty of twists and surprises. In fact, looking back at some of Hammer's cases--many are more intricate than what can be seen in today's cookie cutter procedural crime shows.Read more ›
Somehow, by adding magnetism and menace, the actor is able to avoid the misogyny of Spillane's alter-ego. Remember, the three women involved with Hammer in the 1955 film Kiss Me Deadly end up painfully dead. Mike may refer to the women as "chickies", but he treats his amours as the knight in slightly rusted armor he is.
Considering the age, the quality of the sound and the visuals are nothing short of miraculous. Evidently, the interiors were filmed in Hollywood (as the credits suggest), but the exteriors are pure mid-century New York City, and a treat they are themselves. Dave Kahn's jazz infused score is a perfect background for Hammer's world: flawed, sometimes down and dirty, but always with hope and confidence.
McGavin is, as always, spot on; as an actor, it's a shame he remains tremendously underrated. Here, he worked with everyone from Anna May Wong to Hershel Bernardi to Angie Dickinson. The faces that pop up from the series are amazing, so extraordinarily young, preserved on film forever.
One complaint: 28 minutes is simply too short a time for such interesting characters and situations. Each episode would make a perfect film noir; still, as is, we are truly blessed in having this collection of "noirettes'
Any fan of old TV, noir or just darn good acting, writing, directing and presentation, should do themselves a favor and buy this collection. Today.
As others mentioned it is always fun to see the future stars in their guest roles. Anyway....others go into much better detail about the series and I've only scratched the surface but I did want to let all who were , like me, wondering...they are very good prints you will not be disappointed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Always like Darren McGavin Never knew he did Mickey Spillane's Mike HammerPublished 12 days ago by grandmajo
Gritty, tense version of Mike Hammer which I feel is a better one than the one portrayed by Stacy Keach. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ivanhoe
How great to find the detective show that I remember from network TV of 1958. I always liked Darren McGavin in any acting parts. Read morePublished 3 months ago by V. Campbell
a very good hard boiled detective . as good or even slightly better than the later stacy keach version in that it's a little more believable portraying the down on his luck ,just... Read morePublished 3 months ago by jerard a burst
Mike Hammer Complete Series, 1958 film
Mickey Spillane’s fictional Private Investigator was adapted to television in 1958. Read more
We got tired of it and gave it away. Too many episodes were alike and it is in black and white.Published 4 months ago by LUVSERIES69