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Peyton Place: Part One
DVD | Box Set
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On September 15, 1964, then fledgling television network ABC began airing a twice weekly prime time serial drama based on the scandalous and sexy best selling book Peyton Place. With brilliant acting by Dorothy Malone, Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal among others, this superbly written and directed nighttime soap opera stretched the boundaries of what was considered morally acceptable in the pre sexual revolution 1960s. When all was said and done, Peyton Place had won a devoted following over the course of its 514 episodes, and ABC had become a major network.
This is the continuing story of Peyton Place the soothing voice of benevolent town elder Matthew Swain would begin every episode. But the stories that followed were anything but soothing. Extramarital affairs, unwed teen pregnancies, family betrayals, mental illness and even murder were all lurking behind the storybook façade of this picture perfect, centuries old New England village and its citizens. From the day Dr. Michael Rossi arrives at Peyton Place to assume his role as town doctor, some of the townspeoples lives begin to unravel, revealing unexpected and intersecting relationships long hidden by secrets and lies. The widow Constance MacKenzie and her innocent daughter Allison; the troubled brothers Norman and Rodney Harrington and their powerful father Leslie; struggling George and Julie Anderson and their love struck daughter Betty; and the mysterious Elliot Carson are all revealed to be much more than they initially appear in these first 31 episodes. This is the beginning of the continuing story of Peyton Place.
The continuing story of Peyton Place, which spanned five seasons and 514 episodes, begins here. Based on the sensational bestselling novel and subsequent Oscar-nominated film, this groundbreaking 1964 series was television's first serialized primetime soap. In this inaugural year, it aired episodes twice weekly, and catapulted fledgling network ABC from third place to No. 1. The name of this New England burg has become synonymous with small-town scandal. In the first episode, Dr. Michael Rossi (Ed Nelson), a transplanted New Yorker, arrives to set up his practice. "Peyton Place is more complicated than you think," he is told. That is an understatement. An illicit kiss between wealthy and married Leslie Harrington (Paul Langton) and his married secretary, Julie Anderson (Kasey Rogers), gets things rolling. Rodney (Ryan O'Neal), Leslie's son, witnesses the kiss, and, in turn, breaks up with Betty (Barbara Parkins), his summer fling from the wrong side of the tracks, and Julie's daughter. Things get increasingly complicated from here as the series tackles such not-ready-for-primetime topics as premarital sex, teenage pregnancy, and domestic abuse. Oscar-winner Dorothy Malone (Written on the Wind) lends some Old Hollywood glamour to the proceedings as bookstore owner and overprotective single mother Constance MacKenzie, whose own devastating family secret will be revealed in episode 31. In addition to O'Neal, New Hollywood is represented by a charming Mia Farrow as Constance's innocent daughter, Allison, an aspiring writer who falls in love with Rodney and, as these episodes unfold, becomes obsessed with the case of Elliot Carson (Tim O'Connor), who was imprisoned for killing his wife, and is up for parole.Another cast standout is Henry Beckman as discontented George Anderson, one of Leslie's salesmen, who has a sizable chip on his shoulders. Forty-five years later, Peyton Place seems quaint and moves at a deliberate pace, but one very quickly settles in and feels right at home. As wise old local newspaper editor Matthew Swain (Warner Anderson) tells Rossi upon his arrival, "Some morning you're going to wake up and realize that every face you see is familiar, and you're going to have a definite feeling about each person... You have an experience ahead of you." --Donald Liebenson
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Extremely well written and directed with believable characters and plot lines. "Peyton Place", much like the 1957 film version, is far superior to its source material and is engrossing entertainment.
Anchored by a solid trio of stars in Dorothy Malone, Warner Anderson and Ed Nelson, the series introduced future stars Mia Farrow, Ryan O'Neal and Barbara Parkins in breakthrough roles and provided a showcase for the talents of fine supporting actors such as Paul Langton, Patricia Breslin, Kasey Rogers, Henry Beckman, Kent Smith and Tim O'Connor.
A special mention to the brilliant New England set built by the 20th. Century-Fox production designers and the wise decision to retain the beautiful Franz Waxman theme music from the original film. This brilliant piece of music is one of the greatest in film history and gives the television series a real touch of class.
Simply put, this collection of the first 31 episodes is addictive viewing: splendidly acted, well paced and intriguing sub plots and superb production values make this continuing story a television highlight.
I went back and forth on this one repeatedly - I've been so happy with some of the old shows I've bought that I had never seen before because they were from before my time, or some that I vaguely remember liking or loving but knew that didn't mean the show was any good, so I finally took the leap when it went on sale and thank goodness I did!
I really love the feel and look of the show, the storylines which seem timeless in many many ways, the different types of families, and even the ways in which families/wives/husbands/kids/all roles are the same but different today. It makes me glad I grew up as a woman during the time I did in some ways, and made me long for the way things were back then in so many other ways.
I put it in for a late night, good show to go to sleep to, because old black and white movies are calming for me - but before I knew it, it was 4am and I was finishing the second disc. Finally had to just turn it OFF to sleep. Calming and cozy, YES, but the addiction factor takes over and keeps you watching JUST ONE MORE EPISODE, IT'S ONLY 22 MORE MINUTES!
For those non-soap fans, it's really more of a continuing drama with multiple family oriented storylines. But for Soap opera fans, it's still a win on every level-just not as in your face as today's shows. I just passed on the first few discs to my mother who didn't watch it way back when but I know is gonna love it even more than I do and am gonna send it to grandma too, I think it's right up her alley and being her prime will bring back great memories.
This is a show almost anyone can love, and I never thought that would be the case, by any means!!!! Going to get the second set now so I'm not waiting when I finish this one.
I have contacted the maker of the DVDs to see if there will be more and they are working to acquire the rights. It showed the potential of Mia Farrow, Ryan O'Neal and Barbra Parkins. When more episodes become available, it shows how when Mia Farrow hooked up with Frank Sinatra and left the show, how it changed the direction of the series. Ryan O'Neal also benifited from the exposure the series gave him. We also saw the making of stars such as Melanie Griffin, who then called herself Tippy Walker so nobody knew she was Tippi Hedren's Daughter.
These DVDs are a keeper. It can be seen that the film they used then is beginning to detiorate. So preserve it now as so many classic TV Series have been lost.
The first two years are my favorite. They hed some really good writers (Ted and Mathilde Ferro, among them). They also had some good acting by Mia Farrow, Christopher Connelly, Dorothy Malone and Barbara Parkins. Later by Lee Grant.
The DVD release is not very high quality. I have to turn all the lights out in my living room when I watch it, because it's so dark. I guess they did the best they could. It would have been wonderful if they could have added a special commentary by Farrow, O'Neal, Parkins, and Grant.
Anyway, I am still hooked on it!