DVD Review “Combat!: The Complete Series”

combat-frontActors: Vic Morrow, Rick Jason, Pierre Jalbert, Jack Hogan, Dick Peabody
Directors: Bernard McEveety, John Peyser, Robert Altman, Sutton Roley
Number of discs: 40
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
DVD Release Date: November 12, 2013
Run Time: 7260 minutes

Series: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

“Combat!” is currently TV’s longest-running World War II drama. It premiered on ABC on October 2, 1962 and aired for five seasons and 152 hour-long episodes. The first 127 episodes or four seasons were filmed in black and white, while the the final season or 25 episodes were filmed in color. Image Entertainment is behind this recent re-release of this complete series in a newly repackaged set. If you are a fan of war shows or films, then this set is a must. Each episodes plans like a mini-movie and are so well done. This is really a very complete immersible set for this series and it really does the show justice.

The series stars Vic Morrow, Rick Jason, Pierre Jalbert, Jack Hogan and Dick Peabody and featured what an amazing list of guest stars through its run. Some of the great talent included were Eddie Albert, James Caan, James Coburn, Lee Marvin, Leonard Nimoy, Mickey Rooney, Rip Torn, Robert Duvall, Roddy McDowall, Sal Mineo, Telly Savalas, Bill Bixby, Claude Akins, Dennis Hopper, Ricardo Montalban, Wayne Rogers, Harry Dean Stanton, Beau Bridges, Charles Bronson, and Frankie Avalon…just to name a few.

Official Premise: One of television’s most popular series, the groundbreaking Combat! offers a gritty, unflinching look at American soldiers battling on the front lines in Europe during World War II, confronting imposing odds and demonstrating remarkable levels of ingenuity and courage. Vic Morrow and Rick Jason head a stellar cast in this long-running war drama featuring an incomparable list of guest stars as well as top directorial talent. This collection includes all 152 episodes of this action-packed series, including the final season in color.

The episodes look quite impressive on DVD. Image has been known for great restores of classic shows like “The Twilight Zone” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. They are presented in 1.33:1 full frame. The first four seasons with the black and white transfers are very sharp and also still have that classic feel that I love. Same goes for the five season, which is color, it really looks solid. The audio track included are a Dolby Digital Mono track. Since there is quite a bit of action within the show it is well-represented. I never watched this show when it aired on TV originally but I really enjoyed the experience overall on this DVD.

In terms of special features, there is no shortage here at all. There are several audio commentary tracks including Tom Lowell on “The Celebrity”, Robert Altman on “Cat and Mouse” and “Survival”, Michael Caffey on “Cat and Mouse” and “The Glory Among Men”, Joseph Campanella on “The Medal”, Ben Cooper & Tom Lowell on “Next In Command”, Sutton Roley on “The Battle of The Roses”, Ted Post on “The Sniper”, “The Bridge at Chalon” and “The Hostages”, Richard Donner on “No Trumpets, No Drums,” Tom Lowell on “Bridgehead,” Esther Mitchell on “Anatomy of a Patrol”, Warren Stevens on “The Gun,” Conlan Carter on “Cry For Help”, Jo Davidsmeyer and Steve Mitchell on “Night Mare On the Red Bull Run” and George Fenady on the finale “Jonah”.

Honest I would have just been happy with the commentaries but there is still much more. “Memories of Combat” is a great featurettes with the talent like Robert Altman and Richard Donner sharing their experiences. “Social Security in Action” includes interviews with Vic Morrow and Pierre Jalbert, There is a “Rick Jason Radio Interview is from KTRS in St. Louis from 2000”. “The Big Picture” features Vic Morrow narrating a documentary about the Ranger training school at Ft. Benning. “Combat! Directed by Vic Morrow ” looks into the episodes that Vic stepped behind the director’s chair. “Combat! This Season in Color” is a very in depth look into the shows transition into color. Lastly there are some notes, oddities and bloopers are provided for each episode and photo galleries for all five seasons are included.

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