Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars
When I think about Christmas, I can’t help it but think about Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. With the holidays just around the corner, I am excited to get a chance to check out a maybe lesser-known collection of work from Mr. Stewart. I think I can listen to his voice for hours, especially later in his career. There is nothing like it. Jimmy Stewart is perfectly cast as the slow-drawling Southern lawyer Billy Jim Hawkin. This mystery TV series aired for one season on CBS from 1973 and 1974 and was created by Robert Hamner and David Karp. Even though it was cancelled after one season Jimmy Stewart ended up winning a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in Television Drama Series. If you are a fan of his work, this is a must purchase!
This 4-disc set consists of an eight film collection including “Death and the Maiden”, “Murder in Movieland”, “Die, Darling, Die”, “A Life For a Life”, “Blood Feud”, “Murder and the Slave Trade”, “Murder on the 13th Floor” and “Candidate for Murder”. There is something special about watching these classic TV movie adaptions. “Hawkins” used to air during The New CBS Tuesday Night Movies back in the day. I think if they gave this show a bit of a chance it could have been the a very long running and successful series. He reminds me a pre-dated “Monk”. Each film stands alone and delivers some classic murder mystery. This is the first time that this has ever been released on DVD, thanks to Warner Archive. This release is presented in 4X3 full frame with the its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The audio track is the original mono audio, which works perfectly within the legalese dialogue.
Official Synopsis: A decade before TV saw another silver-haired, slow-drawling Southern shyster with a knack for sleuthing out the truth, M-G-M welcomed back two titanic talents, TV producer Norman Felton and screen legend Jimmy Stewart, for Hawkins. Stewart played Billy Jim Hawkins in rotation with the Shaft TV movies (Talk about Country Mouse and City Mouse!), solving crimes alongside his cousin RJ (Strother Martin) and a bevy of sensational costars. Bonnie Bedelia plays a troubled young woman accused of familicide, Cameron Mitchell plays a tinseltown spouse facing murder charges, Julie Harris plays an accused mercy killer, William Windom plays a parent with a vendetta, Lew Ayres and James Best play folk caught up in a deadly Civil War re-enactment, James Luisi plays a football pro caught up in foul play, Teresa Wright plays an ex-amour of Bill Jim’s, and Paul Burke and Pernell Roberts play a senator and aide caught up in a slaying.