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Man in a Suitcase - Set 1

Richard Bradford , Donald Sutherland    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 74.99
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Product Description

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Bearing one of the miniskirt era's groovier theme songs, Britain's Man in a Suitcase presents a scenario similar to ITC's Danger Man (Secret Agent Man in the United Sates). After American intelligence gives him the boot for facilitating a high-profile defection, "Mac" McGill (Richard Bradford, The Untouchables) remains in London as a freelance detective. In the Charles Crichton-directed opener, "Brainwash," a band of political exiles pressures him to lie in order to get back what they've lost. When McGill refuses to play along, they torture him using the sort of mind-control methods featured in The Manchurian Candidate. (Best known for The Lavender Hill Mob, Crichton also directed "Day of Execution.")

A silver-haired chain smoker, McGill escapes by virtue of his fists and his smarts. Though he carries a gun, he prefers to use a well-placed karate chop. While Bradford's Method mumble adds to McGill's veneer of insouciant cool, his beach attire--tube socks!--is another matter. During the first season, the PI keeps an eye on an informer (George Sewell) in "The Sitting Pigeon," searches for the boss (John Barrie) who can clear his name in "Man from the Dead," and looks out for an old college buddy (a lanky young Donald Sutherland) in "Day of Execution." If he has time for a few girlfriends, a long-term commitment is out of the question.

Created by Richard Harris and Dennis Spooner (The Avengers), Man in a Suitcase ran for one 30-episode season. Other notable participants include actor Peter Vaughn and Room at the Top cinematographer Freddie Francis. McGill may be less sympathetic than Patrick McGoohan's John Drake, but the combination of visceral action and subtle humor makes for an enjoyable addition to the small-screen spy genre. This boxed set includes the first 15 episodes in the series plus four photo galleries, one for each disc. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

“Mac” McGill (Richard Bradford, The Untouchables) is an ex-spy with a murky past and an uncertain future. Wrongfully dismissed by his bosses in U.S. intelligence, he decides to freelance as a private detective based out of London. McGill’s work takes him far and wide, yet seemingly always on a collision course with the British authorities, the Soviets, and his old colleagues in American espionage. Beset by enemies on all sides, he strives to clear his name and restore his reputation. But until he does, he remains on the run, taking jobs in the dark and dangerous corners of European society.

This action-packed Cold War drama aired on ABC in the late 1960s and features savvy writing and a host of superb guest stars, including Donald Sutherland (Pride & Prejudice), James Grout (Inspector Morse), Anton Rodgers (Lillie), Nicola Pagett (Upstairs, Downstairs), Peter Vaughan (The Remains of the Day), Stuart Damon (General Hospital), and Judy Geeson (Mad About You).


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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gamble That Paid Off March 16 2014
By Moodywoody TOP 500 REVIEWER
I bought this set as a gambit because I was simply curious about the premise of the show. An ex-CIA wrongfully accused, now living in Europe as a private investigator or problem solver for hire. The lead actor, Richard Bradford, I knew little about other than he had appeared in two Marlon Brando films, and was known to be a good friend of Jack Nicholson.

What a pleasant surprise to discover a very unique show with a very talented method actor in the lead. The intensity of Bradford's performances are so that the viewer at first is simply taken aback by it. Rarely does one see this kind of method acting in a TV show, probably because it is so demanding to do it for the same character over and over again for a TV show. The demands on Bradford must have been emotionally and physically draining. It is no surprise therefore on this basis alone that the show only lasted two seasons.

Great entertainment. The performance of Bradford alone is worth the investment, not to mention the great theme tune of the show which has to be one of the very best ever written for a TV show.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Man in the Middle Feb. 2 2011
By Bryan Cassiday - Published on Amazon.com
Nobody gets stabbed, shot, beaten, tortured, garroted, kicked, punched, and double-crossed more times than McGill, the hero of "Man in a Suitcase." An ex-CIA agent with a dirty past, McGill is kicked out of the CIA. He ends up in England and Europe, out of work and in need of money.

McGill will take any job, no matter how dirty it is, as long as he gets paid. This guy ain't Simon Pure. Money is his motivation. Wherever McGill goes he is a pariah. Nobody wants him around. Even his clients don't want him around. They just want him to do his job and get lost. He gets double-crossed by everyone, including his clients, and is punched senseless more times than he is able to smoke a cigarette. In fact, in one scene he trades punches in a brutal fistfight while he is smoking a cigarette. Somehow he manages to keep the cigarette in his mouth throughout the entire fight.

My favorite episode is the one called "Mariocki." A lot of the episodes are forgettable. Several of them are cut-and-dried. Some very good actors appeared in this series, including Donald Sutherland. American actor Richard Bradford is good as the sullen and explosive McGill, the man with a past. He's a sixties TV antihero who seems much more contemporary than other TV spies of the sixties such as the heroes Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."

"Man in a Suitcase" isn't as good as "Secret Agent Man," Patrick McGoohan's TV spy series in the sixties, but it's close. Even the theme song of "Man in a Suitcase" is catchy. And that old beat-up leather suitcase McGill carries with him wherever he goes. Who can forget that? It's a shame the series lasted only one season.

--Bryan Cassiday, author of "The Kill Option"
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Series I Never Expected to See Again Feb. 12 2011
By Gary P. Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
As a kid, I used to enjoy watching the British action series shown on American tv. "The Saint" and "Secret Agent" are 2 of my all-time favorites. I also clearly remember watching this series. It was a summer-replacement series shown Friday nights on ABC. Unlike "The Saint," "Secret Agent" and "The Avengers," it was only shown once and not brought back again. I never expected to see this series again.
The series concerns an American secret agent bounced from the CIA for something he did not do. He now travels around Europe as a roving private-eye. (The series is sort of a great grandfather to the current "Burn Notice," shown on the USA network.) The main character with the tough-guy name of McGill is played by an American, Richard Bradford (who 21 years later would become more famous for his rough fight scene with Sean Connery in "The Untouchables.)
Bradford, who seems to have been influenced by the Brando school of method acting and walks with the kind of "I don't give a crap" gait that Vic Morrow had on "Combat," seems to smoke a cigarette in every scene, most of which he smokes down to the butt.
The thing I remember about this series is the cool theme music, which I have never forgotten and which I looked forward to hearing again.
The plots are, for the most part, interesting although many of the episodes end rather abruptly. The show is in color and like the color of most 1960's tv series far nicer and preferable to me than the color today. The disc quality is good.
As stated, I never expected to see this series again as it was not particularly successful and did not run long. However I am happy that it has been released and have enjoyed making McGill's acquaintance again.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting series of intrigue and suspense, Man in a Suitcase is not to be missed Feb. 15 2011
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Man in a Suitcase, set 1 is a DVD collection chronicling the harrowing adventures of "Mac" McGill (played by Richard Bradford), an ex-spy wrongfully terminated by U.S intelligence. He embarks on a freelance career as a private detective based in London, yet no matter how far he travels in his new job, he inevitably seems to conflict with British authorities, the Soviets, and former colleagues in American espionage. Though he strives to clear his name, he's forced to remain on the run, accepting jobs from shady contacts of European society. An exciting series of intrigue and suspense, Man in a Suitcase is not to be missed. 15 episodes on 4 discs, 779 min., full screen.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The name is McGill" March 25 2011
By Kenneth M. Pizzi - Published on Amazon.com
Highly enjoyable spy/detective series made in 1967/68, featuring Richard Bradford as John McGill, ex-CIA agent forced to resign and now freelances as a pricey, globetrotting private detective.

Another fine series from the ITC Television Network, responsible for shows like "The Prisoner" and "Gideon's Way," this is a gritty, realistic and exciting set of episodes well-written with fast-moving plots and never short on action.

Bradford plays McGill with a degree of toughness and a laconic ease so well that he seems to be perfectly cast for the role. Trained at the NY Actor's Studio, Bradford was a Method actor and claimed Brando as his inspiration; in fact, Bradford had a supporting role with the Academy Award winning actor in the controversial film, "The Chase" (1966), directed by Arthur Penn. Supporting players, all fine character actors from ITC's stable, like Donald Houston, Angela Browne, and Judy Geeson, raise the bar of this rarely seen, but popular, detective series.

Compared to 'Danger Man's" John Drake, McGill is the antihero--a man for hire, keen and distrustful of others, with an eye for the ladies, but a man not without scruples. Shot in color, the series is markedly violent and in the fisticuffs McGill often finds himself in, the blood flows freely. But there is more: the stories and assignments McGill takes on are interesting as they are unusual at times. The international locales also add a bit of flair in contrast to the typical "Mannix" episode that was limited to that metropolis called Los Angeles.

This is from the original Network DVD set that should be held up as a model of what all DVD sets should aspire to: pristine transfers from the original print (so clean they look as if they were shot yesterday), tons of extras including trailers, foreign titles, bumpers, behind-the-scene stills, a Richard Bradford interview (today, a mere shadow of the lean, handsome actor he was 40 years ago!), a full-color booklet, and more.

Nonetheless, "Man in a Suitcase" is a tight and shut case to hours of viewing enjoyment. And if the incidental music in "Man in a Suitcase" seems awfully familiar to that of 'The Prisoner" it should be--both were composed by Ron Grainer.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine cult show is most welcome March 11 2011
By JAK - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Although this series does not quite have the staying power of other great British Spy shows of the 60's such as The Prisoner, The Saint, The Avengers, and my favorite Secret Agent Man, this program comes highly recommended nonetheless. The outside photography in and around London is very good, and the star Richard Bradford is certainly a different kind of hero. It is somewhat of a misnomer to say that he is trying to clear his name during the course of the series, because he knows he really can't do that. Any attempt to clear his name would result in a double agent colleague of his being tortured or killed in the Soviet Union. He really is between a rock and a hardplace, which makes for interesting stories. Also, he really doesn't live out of his suitcase, but he does carry it around with him from residence to residence. I can't wait for the secound volume to be released to compelte the entire run of the series.
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