I can still remember watching this 3 part series on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. It was February 9th 1964 and I was 6 years old. When the theme song came on and the Scarecrow cackled his famous laugh, it sent shivers down my spine. I was hooked and I would remember this show for the rest of my life.
In my humble opinion, this was and still is the greatest Disney TV endeavor ever made. The production quality was spectacular (in contrast most of US TV shows of the day were shot on back lots and studios).
It is dark and moody, being filmed in and around Romney Marsh (on the southeast coast of England). The setting fits the film's story perfectly(a mild country parson by day who leads a masked smugglers gang at night in an effort to help the local people cope with King George's taxes and poverty). It also has a stellar cast, including Patrick McGoohan (of "Secret Agent" and "The Prisoner" fame).
It would be 46 years later that this series would finally be released to DVD. The DVD had been announced, on and off, for a number of years but was not to surface until November 11th, 2008.
It was well worth the wait!
Disney has done the completely unexpected; they have lovingly restored both the audio and video tracks, provided Walt's three introductions for the 3 parts, presented the restored theatrical version as well and given a wealth of background material (including a booklet and a collectible lithographed photo)- all on 2 DVDs in a metal boxed set.
The video tracks are presented as originally shot - in widescreen. As Leonard Maltin explains in the introduction, you will be seeing an entirely new vision of the series, as they were filmed, even though they were presented in standard full screen form in 1964. Sound is Dolby pro-logic. It is crisp and clear. All this and a great story too.
When I sat down to watch the first part, I had no idea that I would end up watching all three. They are that good! It takes a special production to hold up to today's digitalized standards and modern slick forms of entertainment.
This set was worth every penny. I must mention that the DVD is a numbered limited edition of 39,500 sets so get it while you can.
It is about time Disney started to release these types of great productions that were actually touched by the artistic and visionary hand of Walt Disney. They should do it before it is too late to impress another generation of children and families.There are too many high quality, family-friendly films and shows still lingering in the Disney vaults.
I never thought that I'd say this but thank you and Bravo Disney.