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Murder, She Wrote: The Complete First Season [Import]

Angela Lansbury , Claude Akins , Alan Cooke , Allen Reisner    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 36.99
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Frequently Bought Together

Murder, She Wrote: The Complete First Season [Import] + Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Second Season [Import] + Murder She Wrote: Season Three [DVD]
Price For All Three: CDN$ 62.89

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There are two audiences for this DVD compilation of the first season of the enormously popular TV series Murder, She Wrote. The first enjoys the classic pleasures of the pre-forensics "whodunit," stories in which murder was not so much a crime as a logic puzzle; the joy here lay in how skillfully a writer could misdirect you. Murder, She Wrote--in which mystery writer Jessica Fletcher constantly stumbles across dead bodies in every setting imaginable, from a San Francisco drag show to a football field--doesn't have the elegance of an Agatha Christie or Rex Stout mystery, but the show was efficient at laying out its clues and cunningly used the audience's familiarity with television itself (the relative star power of the guests, the need for a dramatic high point before every commercial break, etc.) to mislead and manipulate. And of course Angela Lansbury, as Fletcher, was an ideal television presence: Warm and friendly, but with just a hint of the fierce, steely will she revealed in The Manchurian Candidate. Lansbury drove the show through an impressive twelve seasons (for which she received twelve Emmy nominations), plus multiple TV movies after its cancellation.

The other audience for Murder, She Wrote: The Complete First Season consists of viewers for whom names like Bert Convy, Dack Rambo, and Barbara Babcock send waves of guilty pleasure down their spines. The promotional materials for this boxed set make much ado about brief appearances by stars-to-be like Andy Garcia (who appears briefly as "1st White Tough" in the pilot TV movie) and Joaquin Phoenix (who's around 10 years old and still going by the name Leaf), but every single episode is a festival of B-, C-, and Z-grade celebrities from the 1970s and '80s: Claude Akins, Tom Bosley, Jeff Conaway, David Doyle, Samantha Eggar, Lynda Day George, Morgan Brittany, Belinda Montgomery, Gabe Kaplan, and Lyle Waggoner, just to name a handful. Some of these names may be forgotten, but their faces (and scenery-chewing performances) will spark a Proustian rush of television memories. --Bret Fetzer

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Set!! May 6 2005
By Justin
I have always enjoyed "Murder She Wrote" and I extremly happy to own it on DVD. THe quality of the picture, could be better, but keeping in mind the shows age, it looks fine. The outside case is really neat, but the DVDs did not contain ANY special feature ( interviews, commentarys etc). I think the average consumer would have liked to see this on the disc. Universal should invest more money into their DVDs.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Murder, She Wrote might be a set of comfortable cozies designed for the BarcaLounger crowd, but count me in. It also is a classy murder mystery series which, over 12 seasons with usually 22 one-hour shows per season, maintained a high level of consistency and viewer loyalty.

I think there are three reasons for this. First, the mysteries are solid. The writers mostly play fair with the audience. There are clues to be had if we're alert (although sometimes the clue may be so insignificant that expecting it to be noticed is optimistic). The mysteries often involve relationships among people with whom we're given the time to get to know. There seldom are out-and-out rotters. It's not always possible to spot the villain early, and when justice is done, thanks to Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), the conclusion is satisfying.

Second, Murder, She Wrote was shrewd in using the "So that's what happened to him (or her)" ploy in most of the programs. It can be immensely satisfying to a target audience of a certain age to come across once well known actors you haven't seen in quite a while. Lansbury and her producers almost always had strong character parts written for former marque names who still commanded affection and fans. In the Season 1 set, for instance, you'll encounter, among others, Howard Duff, Virginia Mayo, Martin Landau, Dan O'Herlihy, June Allyson, Van Johnson, Dane Clark, Jose Ferrer, Milton Berle, Stewart Granger, Eddie Bracken and Samantha Egger. These aren't stunt roles. The actors carry their weight. Angela Lansbury has always been a supremely confident and successful actor. She seems to thrive in having strong actors to play off of.

Third, and most importantly, is Angela Lansbury.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Wonderful Sept. 6 2009
I remember watching "Murder, She Wrote" with my Dad when I was younger, while it was still on TV. I think it is wonderful that all the seasons are now available on DVD (as are countless other shows). The first season did not dissapoint! It is interesting seeing Jessica Fletcher's character from the very beginning, especially in the Pilot episode. If you watch later seasons it is very noticable how different her chacter had evolved and changed in the years following the first episode. I have grown up watching the later seasons, so watching the first season helped explain how she became a mystery writer and helped set the scene for the future episodes. I highly recommend watching all the seasons and look forward to buying Season Two!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gift that was very well received March 6 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This arrived promptly in the mail and was given as a birthday gift to my brother. He loved it and I will be back to purchase further seasons of the series "Murder, She Wrote". I would certainly recommend this to anyone looking to purchase such a classic series at a reasonable price. Hours of enjoyment in one small package.
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5.0 out of 5 stars DVD Set Jan. 30 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I bought this dvd because I collect all the seasons. I would tell anybody who likes mysteries to buy these.
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