Saturday, May 27, 2017

Beverly Garland fans, rejoice: the complete DECOY television series hits DVD at last

Dyed-in-the-wool DECOY lovers -- that famous 1950s TV series about a New York City policewoman -- should be pleased to hear that all 39 episodes of this landmark program, the first of which aired in October of 1957, are now available on DVD, thanks to Film Chest Media. The three-disc set, full of enticing extras (see details in the paragraph at bottom) hits the street this coming Tuesday, May 30. The main attraction of the series -- back then as well as now -- is its star, the famously under-used and under-appreciated Beverly Garland.

Ms Garland, who died in 2008, made a few television series and a number of B-movies, some of them first-rate (D.O.A.) and others awful (Not of This Earth) but raised a notch or two due to her performance. In Decoy she plays a smart, empathetic policewoman who solves case after case in this first-and-only season that the show was allowed.

TrustMovies has watched only seven of the 39 episodes so far, but will go back to them now and again for the fun and nostalgia they provide, as well as for the chance to see Ms Garland at work, along with a wealth of other fine actors -- Barbara Barrie, Colleen Dewhurst, Diane Ladd, Suzanne Pleshette, Peter Falk (shown three photos below) and Martin Balsam, for starters -- at earlier points in their career.

The tales may look pretty dated now but were said to be ahead of their time back in the day, tackling themes from child abuse/abandonment and phone stalkers to drug addiction and (of course) murder. Filmed on location in New York City, the series offered a surprisingly "real" look, as well as a little would-be film noir now and then.

Basically, however, its the usual television mode: let's wrap up a desperate situation in 26 minutes. And this can wear awfully thin awfully fast. That's why watching only one or two episodes at a time is probably your best options. "Binging" on this one will quickly tire you out.

Ms Garland brings, in addition to her beauty and quiet but firm sass, her usual no-nonsense strength of character to the enterprise, even if she is asked to do yeoman's work over and over again in all-too-typical television fashion. She remains, as ever, believable and often remarkable.

The three-disc set comes with a 16-page booklet featuring an extended synopsis, historical notes, trivia page, photo gallery and a wonderful little precis of each episode's plot, leading cast members, and director.

From Film Chest, in 4x3 aspect ratio and running (count 'em!) 1,014 minutes, the DVD set will arrive this Tuesday, May 30 -- for purchase and, I would hope, maybe rental from somewhere or other. (Amazon's current $11.53 price for the 3-disc package seems rather a bargain.)

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