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Mannix: The Sixth Season
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MANNIX, the action-packed detective drama about a tough and cynical private investigator, returns to DVD in a collectible 6 disc-set including all 24 taut and exciting sixth season episodes. Golden Globe winner Mike Connors stars as the title character, a hard-boiled and gritty detective who constantly defies rules and regulations and is able to take a flurry of fist fights, high-speed car chases and bullet wounds in stride.
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Top Customer Reviews
hence buy as many episodes to really get a good look at this popular series of time gone by. It gives a lot of
action and mystery in a less than a hour episode.
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For those who are un-initiated to "Mannix," remember it only from its first run, or were exposed to it only in butchered re-runs, here is a brief overview.
"Mannix" is one of a class of shows produced by Desulu in the late 60's -- in fact, it was the last show produced by that studio. Its closest peers are "Star Trek" and "Mission Impossible," the latter of which had the same executive producer. As a result, you actually see many of the same actors, settings and props in all three shows -- and in the closing credits, some of the same names. But, while "Star Trek" and "Mission Impossible" went on to spawn movies and re-makes, "Mannix" stands on its original episodes.
This makes perfect sense to "Mannix" fans, because the show was not a formula show. It is not easy, and perhaps not possible, to distill what Mannix was about to a few lines, and so bring in a bunch of different actors to re-do some concept. "Mannix" was a character study. It evolved more than it was designed.
"Mannix" has been described as a PI show, formed out of the desire to bring back something of the film noir era, actually inspired in part by the movie "Harper" which starred Paul Newman. As a result, it has often been cited as the first of a long line of cop shows in the same genre, and especially PI shows like "The Rockford Files," "Harry O," and "Magnum PI." But, "Mannix" fans know that the show was so much more than that.
The two dominant descriptions of the show reveal both why it was unique as well as why people wrongly assume it is something other than what it really is all about. First, the show was once labeled the most violent on TV -- and, incredibly, you still see that label appear, all these years later. Second, descriptions "Mannix" often include how many times Joe Mannix was knocked unconscious, shot, beaten up, drugged or in a fistfight -- the numbers are impressive. This makes the show appear less cultured, less intellectual than its descendants -- and nothing could be further from the truth.
The same themes that appear over and over again in "Mannix" -- the abuses to Joe Mannix' body, the cars over the cliff, the number of times Peggy (Joe's secretary, played by the wonderful Gail Fisher) is kidnapped, the number of times Joe's Korean War buddies go nuts and try to kill him, the number of times Joe is all alone and up against it in a small town, the number of times Joe goes up against the police, or does a case for free (often for a kid), are all there in the service of framing, in deeply symbolic ways, what the show was about -- the qualities of its main character. And, in that respect, "Mannix" would still be "Mannix" even if Joe wasn't a PI. "Mannix" was about a singular hero type, portrayed brilliantly by Mike Connors, nothing else -- and nothing less.
And this is also why the show was never re-made. "Mannix" started out as one thing -- a concept show where Joe Mannix works for Intertect during its first year, but evolved year after year, as the writers, producers, and especially Mike Connors developed the character. For example, during the second year, Joe starts off looking like a more or less typical PI, at least at the beginning. But, by the time the second year ends it became something more as Joe becomes more of a spiritual presence in episodes like "A Pittance of Faith" and "Death in a Minor Key." Then, the character evolves again as we get to see Joe's inner demons in season 3 ("The Sound of Darkness") and by the time we get to season 4 we see a dark side ("A Ticket to the Eclipse"). By the time we get to season 5, Joe is well established in his own, private practice with a singular reputation you, the fan, also get to enjoy -- and so we see him becoming something more of a target, culminating in the classic, "Death is the Fifth Gear."
Through all of the first five seasons the common thread was that there was a lot of action -- and Joe took a lot of physical abuse. But, by the time season 6 comes around, in 1972, there was pushback from both Congress and the networks on "violence," which was incredibly mild by today's standards, and, as a result "Mannix" has its season with the least action.
As a result, the sheer brilliance of this show -- in terms of what it really was about, as well as its execution, provided by both the people behind it and the way Mike Connors owns this character -- is that despite the series being forced to go completely away from its roots in pretty much every way, the limitations actually result in one of the best seasons of "Mannix." Now, I didn't always know that when I watched the season first run! But, that was because I was only 11 years old then -- and I missed the action.
Now, as an adult, I can see how they managed to convey the essential qualities of Joe Mannix -- and the result is some of the best episodes, and what's more, some of the best scenes of the entire series, right here in season 6. Because, as those who know and love "Mannix" also know, because this is a character study, first and foremost, you watch to see how Joe responds to situations, moment by moment. The result is movie-quality scenes with fine-grained, detailed acting you can watch over and over again -- thanks to these high quality DVDs.
Some examples are the scene in Joe office when Peggy comes in for the day in "The Open Web," the closing scene of "The Inside Man," the carnival scene in "The Upside Down Penny," the prison scenes in "Lost Sunday," the scene with Art in Joe's office in "Light and Shadow," the scene in "Out of the Night" (in which Peggy goes undercover as a prostitute) in which Joe take physical punishment in front of Peggy, the scene with Art in Joe's office in "The Faces of Murder," the scenes with Adam Tobias (Robert Reed) in "The Danford File" -- and pretty much any scene from "A Puzzle for One" and "A Matter of Principle" which are two of the best overall episodes of the entire series. And, as "Mannix" fans know, these scenes you looked for every week are set up by not only the rest of the episode, but also with the context that comes from a strong relationship you have with the characters. "Mannix" never underestimated the intelligence of its viewing audience.
But, if your primary relationship with the show is via syndication in the U.S., you did not see this.
The first "Mannix" fans have been able to really have this great show back, since its original airing, is with the release of these DVDs. Two of the signatures of the show meant that it would not survive the cutting of syndication intact. First, it was very tightly edited to begin with, done in order to facilitate pace. Thus, further cutting was not really possible. Second, the character qualities were often expertly done in sometimes very small scenes and reaction shots -- things loyal viewers looked for every week, but which were the first to be removed by editors cutting the show to allow for more commercial time.
And that's too bad. Because "Mannix" is a show that is so good that it can actually make you better. That is what great myths, expertly done, can do.
While I'm so glad to have it back now, we should have had it back sooner.
If you break it all down, really tear it all apart and analyze it (see the recent posts on the "Mannix is Coming!" thread on the Home Theatre Forum for more of this), Joe Mannix is a singular hero-type, consistent with the best of Joesph Campbell's heroes. He isn't larger than life, but isn't small enough to leave you with only pure entertainment value either -- he leaves you wanting to be better. How many characters really leave you feeling that being tougher, more independent, and more willing to sacrifice and possibly get hurt in the process of doing the right thing is, well.. appealing?
That is a really tough thing to pull off -- but, "Mannix" does this and, when you connect, you get it, deep down. It makes you better.
I've watched a lot of TV over the years -- and never found another show in the same class as "Mannix." It was one of the few shows done with movie-quality production and acting, translated to the pace and weekly grind of TV. And, I never expected this, before re-discovering the show with the release of the season 4 DVDs last year -- I simply did not expect the show to even hold up well, let alone contain, in a single appealing package, some of the best themes psychology, philosophy and religion have to offer.
Thanks to CBS/Paramount for, finally, having the first six seasons of "Mannix" back, out of the vaults. Here's hoping for the timely release of seasons 7 and 8 -- of which all but eight episodes of season 7 have not been seen in the US since they were originally aired.
Season 7 brings the action back -- and takes the character of Joe Mannix to yet another level.
I never expected anything less from "Mannix" -- and it never failed to deliver.
All these years later, it is delivering for me again -- as any great myth can, and should.
"In my family, coffee this weak is only for women and children."
--P.I. Joe Mannix to Sam Maturian about his coffee in "Harvest of Death".
POLICE FORCES NOTES
Los Angeles cop characters from the Homicide Division return and Lt. Art Malcom (actor Ward Wood) appears in all episodes except in:
* "The Crimson Halo" and "To Kill a Memory" with no guest cop
* "Portrait of a Hero", "The Inside Man", "The Man Who Wasn't There" and "The Danford File" with Lt. Adam Tobias (actor Robert Reed)
* "A Puzzle for One" and "A Game of Shadow" with Lt. Dan Ives (actor Jack Ging)
* "The Man Who Wasn't There" with Detective Gifford (actor Tom Hallick) and Lt. Dean (actor Bart LaRue)
* "Out of the Night" with Narc officer Charley Hager (actor Leonard Stone) and Vice Squad officer O'Fallon (actor Paul Piscerni)
Lt. Art Malcolm is rescued by a police colleague in:
* "The Open Web" with Lt. Paul Haber (actor Eddie Egan who was a real-life cop that inspired the Popeye Doyle character of "The French Connection")
Local cop characters also return in:
* "Harvest of Death" with Sheriff Simkins (actor Henry Beckman)
* "Lost Sunday" with an un-named Sheriff (actor Kevin Hagen)
Private investigators step into the game in:
* "A Game of Shadow" with Jerry Kane (actor Alan Bergmann)
* "The Faces of Murder" with Mel Faber (actor Woodrow Parfrey)
* "Search For a Whisper" with Albie (actor Milton Selzer)
BEST CASES NOTES (in broadcast order)
* "The Open Web" (guest starring Rip Torn, John McLiam and Bruce Watson) in which psycho hitman Victor Roarke fails to shoot down Mannix at his office and, later on, abducts Lt. Malcom with the help of three henchmen wearing police uniforms to get a ransom and a jet.
* "Cry Silence" (directing by actor Alf Kjellin and guest starring Anthony Zerbe, Joe Maross and Geoffrey Lewis) in which a former priest hires Mannix to find out a man with a heavy conscience who used to confess a deed which happens to be performed by a blackmailer master of disguise hitman. Mannix is the target of this crazy mechanic.
* "The Inside Man" (directed by Paul Krasny and guest starring John Colicos, Lloyd Battista, Nancy Kovack and Barry Russo) in which Mannix goes undercover as a hood to infiltrate the organization of gangster Mr. Lytell and, in the process, falls in love with her employee Angela. The infiltration charade is a veiled reference to the season 4 "One for The Lady" but blended with the season 2 love story "The Girl Who Came In With The Tide". This cat and mouse plot is about nailing the informer of the outfit!
* "To Kill a Memory" (directed by Sutton Roley and guest starring Martin Sheen, John Vernon, Ford Rainey) in which Mannix is assigned to an amnesic young Vietnam veteran who has a double identity (married footsoldier Alex Lachlan/electronic expert Dan Turner) and is mixed up with a crooked corporate big shot willing to steal diamonds from a top merchant. Find a psychedelic character's study combined with a heist subplot. This is the triumph of style thanks to Sutton Roley aka the Orson Welles of television who fashions his personal vision filled with a Pop Expressionist tapestry: see the two airport scenes, the dreamlike tunnel scene and the diamonds merchant office scene and its delirious flashes of memory from the Vietnam front. Sutton Roley continues to explore the inner mind of a disturbed young man as in the previous season 5 "A Step in Time".
* "Light and Shadow" (directed by Sutton Roley and guest starring Christine Belford, Murray Matheson, Cesare Danova, John Hillerman and Frank Christi). It's another goodie executed by the great Sutton Roley that deals with a bizarre case of murder inside a wealthy family combined with an unexpected heroin deal. Two guest actors (Christine Belford and Murray Matheson) were parts of a 1972 series entitled "Banacek".
* "Lost Sunday" (directed by Reza S. Badiyi and guest starring Harry Townes, Kevin Hagen, Tom Reese, Luana Anders) in which Mannix is hired by a country woman to find out the murderer of her brother but things gets complicated when a wealthy industrialist protects his mentally-disturbed son, returning from the Vietnam front, and while some corruption in the local police department occurs. Don't miss the first scene in the gravel plant during Act 1: M16 potshots galore! Find two scenes in slow motion taking place in the gravel plant.
* "The Man Who Wasn't There" (directed by Sutton Roley and guest starring Clu Gulager, Arthur Batanides, Ken Lynch, Robert Middleton) in which Mannix is the target of a former Korean War veteran buddy named Corporal Lyle Foster who has lost his mind, laughs maniacally, finishes his short sentences with `Kay', tricks him with a mini reel players and chases him until the boxing arena. Demiurge director Sutton Roley highlights this showdown with panache. Don't miss the flashback scene taking place in the 1950's Korean POW camp, punctuated by composer Jerry Fielding's martial score for the season 4 "One for the Lady".
* "Out of the Night" (directed by Paul Kasny and guest starring Joyce Van Patten, Leonard Stone, Paul Carr) in which secretary Peggy Fair goes underground by posing as Detroit hooker Tracy Dee--who communicates with a lipstick-transmitter--and work for a female drug dealer in order to indict an unknown top drug dealer figure. As in the season 4 "The World Between", she has an impossible romance with another man but from the underworld. The episode is done like an intrigue from the season 6 of "Mission: Impossible".
* "A Problem of Innocence" (directed by Don McDougall and guest starring Fritz Weaver, John Randolph and Anne Archer) in which the daughter of an ex-con hires Mannix to inform a third party to stop harassing her about the stolen loot of her so-called dead father. Don't miss the nice twist from both sides!
* "The Danford File" (guest starring John Gavin, Richard Bradford, Jessica Walter, Arlene Martel) in which Mannix meets an ex-call girl--that he saved twelve years ago--in a party organized by her husband (a notorious political figure on campaign) and he decides to help her again in order to find out and stop her mysterious blackmailer. Don't miss two subliminal flashbacks: one for the meeting at the party and one on the road near the house of Mrs. Cornell. Here's an updated version of the season 3 "Who Is Sylvia?". Actor Richard Bradford is remembered as McGill from the 1967 English series "Man in a Suitcase".
PATHOLOGICAL CASES NOTES
* "To Kill a Memory" (see above)
* "Lost Sunday" (see above)
* "See No Evil" dealing with a wealthy woman killed in a sordid neighborhood by a black hoodlum named Berdue threatening a couple not to talk. Things go weird when the tormented husband, who has already hired Mannix to find the murderer, decides to kidnap and kill the couple who witnesses the deed because they refused to tell the truth.
* "The Man Who Wasn't There" (see above)
ARMENIAN BACKGROUND NOTES
In "Harvest of Death", Mannix investigates and meets Armenian farm workers and his leader Sam Maturian (actor Joe de Santis).
KOREAN WAR NOTES
A reference to a former soldier helping blind veterans for the Sightseers Society occurs in "Cry Silence". In "Harvest of Death", Mannix is hired by a veteran pal named Dave Winters (actor Paul Mantee who previously played a veteran in "A Ticket to the Eclipse") to investigate and posing as a crop duster. "The Man Who Wasn't There" is a mixture of two previous Korean war soldier characters: Gus Keller from the season 2 "End Game" (who toys with explosives) and Mark from the season 4 "A Ticket to the Eclipse" (who threatens Peggy Fair).
VIETNAM WAR NOTES
"Portrait of a Hero" has a shallow reference to a former Vietnam War soldier that dies at the start of the episode because of a grenade. "To Kill a Memory" focuses on a young amnesiac veteran, missing in action, who returns to his home after two years of absence. "Lost Sunday" deals again with a young veteran who looses his balance and goes to the gravel plant of his father to unwind with a M16.
As in the previous season, find another female photographer during a shooting: "Carol Lockwood, Past Tense" with actress Jane Merrow who can fly planes.
GRAPHIC DESIGN NOTES
There is no prologue scene so the series now starts directly with the same main titles as in season 5 except the four squares introduction that is replaced by a 5 seconds black and blue animation depicting the silhouette of Mannix running towards the frame that fades to the current main titles with the missing third left square from the season 5 "Dark So Early, Dark So Long". The ninth batch of squares is updated: the same two season 4 footage squares (the escape from the dam scene in "Sunburst" and the jumping of the bridge scene in "What Happened to Sunday?") and a brand new season 5 footage square in which we see Mannix skiing culled from "Cold Trail" replacing "The Glass Trap".
Mannix carries his usual Italian Persol sunglasses in "The Crimson Halo" and, also carries a pair of metal-framed sunglasses in "The Upside Down Penny", "See No Evil", "Out of the Night" and "Search For a Whisper".
Find a brand new arrangement of the series theme with additional fast-paced percussion and a piano recital. Composer Kenyon Hopkins is still credited as music supervisor. Composer Lalo Schifrin writes a single score for "The Open Web" and the arrangements remind the previous season 4 "A Ticket to the Eclipse" and the season 7 score "Underground" (1972) from "Mission: Impossible" and even foreshadows the film score "Charley Varrick" (1973). Other craftmen contribute to the music: Richard Markowitz ("Cry Silence" which contains a cue recycled from the season 2 "End Game" for the dismantling of the timebomb parcel), Richard Hazard ("The Crimson Halo", "The Inside Man" and "Light and Shadow" that are derived from the season 6 score "The Bride" from "Mission: Impossible": mostly, the intimistic line), Duane Tatro (the semi esoteric "Broken Mirror"), George Romanis ("To Kill a Memory" which is derived from the season 6 score "The Visitors" from "Mission: Impossible": mostly the action-packed gangster line), Pat Williams ("One Step to Midnight" which is written in the same urban line as the pilot for "The Streets of San Francisco": tablas, maracas, wah wah guitar, guiro) and Benny Golson ("See No Evil" that reminds the jazz-blues leaning of two "Mission: Impossible" score entitled "Blind" and "Blues").
As in the previous season 4 and 5 sets, these season 6 discs feature English subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of hearing (English SDH).
PICTURE QUALITY NOTES
Paramount/CBS delivers, as usual, well-restored crisp prints in living color. They follow the path of "Mission: Impossible" prints.
The Open Web - Rip Torn, Maggie Johnson
Cry Silence - Anthony Zerbe, Fay Spain
The Crimson Halo - Joe Campanella, Burgess Meredith
Broken Mirror - Anjanette Comer, Ahna Capri
Portrait of a Hero - Robert Reed, Dabney Coleman
The Inside Man - Nancy Kovack, Robert Mandan
To Kill a Memory - Martin Sheen, Pamela Shoop
The Upside Down Penny - Frank Marth, Vaughn Taylor
One Step to Midnight - Harold Gould, Belinda Montgomery
Harvest of Death - Linda Marsh, Jeanette Nolan
A Puzzle for One - Adam West, Carol Wayne
Lost Sunday - Michele Marsh, Harry Townes
See No Evil - Norman Alden, Felton Perry
Light and Shadow - Tina Sinatra, Christine Belford
A Game of Shadows - Meg Foster, Marta Kristen
The Man Who Wasn't There - Robert Reed, Clu Gulager
A Matter of Principle - Abe Vigoda, Elsa Lanchester
Out of the Night - Joyce van Patten, Leonard Stone
Carol Lockwood, Past Tense - Jane Merrow, Jason Evers
The Faces of Murder - Susan Strasberg, Tina Louise
Search for a Whisper - William Shatner, Susan Flannery
To Quote a Dead Man - David Wayne, Lloyd Bochner
A Problem of Innocence - Anne Archer, Marion Ross
The Danford File - John Gavin, Jessica Walter