- Actors: Steve Forrest, Moira Redmond, Jo Rowbottom, Brian Wilde, Meredith Edwards
- Directors: Cyril Frankel, Don Chaffey, Gordon Flemyng, Jeremy Summers, John Llewellyn Moxey
- Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
- Language: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 8
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Koch
- Release Date: March 10 2009
- Run Time: 1600 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- ASIN: B001NH4CEY
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #56,857 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
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The Baron - Complete Series
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Tall, handsome and debonair, John Mannering (Forrest), aka The Baron, is an international art and antiques dealer working with British Intelligence tracking stolen treasures. In a world of danger, greed and intrigue, The Baron - aided by the glamoro
Release Date: 0000-00-00
Media Type: DVD
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DVD: Pristine condition for a set this old. No gliches. 8 discs in 1 1/2 " wide cardboard boxed set.
Story: Made by ITC (The Saint w/ Roger Moore and Secret Agent/Danger Man w/ Patrick McGoohan) Simialar adventures of a spy for MI5/art dealer. Good supporting cast -- look for Jeremy Brett before he became S. Holmes. The series gets kudos for being the first action series based on John Creasy's jet set hero, the Baron (nickname, not title) who breaks espionage rings and brings criminal to justice. I gave Danger Man 5 stars, the Saint 5 stars -- why only 4 for the Baron when it's similar and in colour. First, I own all 3 sets. Steve Forester (The Baron) lacks the class and suave sophistication of Roger Moore whether in The Persuaders or The Saint and the wit and presence of Patrick MacGoohan. The stories are similar, but Forester simply can't carry the show. He's good. Moore and MacGoohan are great!
Suggest you buy the series, The Saint and Danger Man/Secret Agent Man, then decide if you want this set. too. If you like the stories in the former you will like the action packed adventure stories of the baron. The 3 are similar except for the presence of the leading man.
I didn't know what it was at first because the TV Week programme guide just mentioned the title-you don't get much for your money these days buying Australian TV guides to help you decide what to watch and getting information on the show-in any case I started to watch this particular episode and was surprised it starred Steve Forest as John Mannering, an antiques dealer and undercover agent working in an informal capacity for the head of the fictional British Diplomatic Intelligence, headed by Templeton-Green played by Colin Gordon and was made between 1965-66. (I seem to like the 60's stuff more these days than shows of today).
Low and behold I actually enjoyed it, and I began to watch more of `The Baron'.
Now I bought the DVD of the series complete and uncut as stated on the packaging, watching the series again without commercial interruption.
Steve Forrest is great as John Mannering and he fits the bill perfectly, while Sue Lloyd as Cordelia Winfield plays his female assistant sidekick; she took over from Paul Ferris who played David Marlowe, apparently to show the series to the American market the character of David Marlowe was dropped in favour of Cordelia (how pathetic...thank god now days America has no influence on how to present British TV to its audience-or any other country for that matter). I liked the David Marlowe character, and I believe there was room for him and Cordelia both on the show to give it scope and some depth. Plus with Colin Gordon's character as John Alexander Templeton-Greene, for some added light humour, you would get a well-balanced series covering almost all the angles.
So in my mind `The Baron' lost some of its uniqueness, when David Marlowe and Templeton-Greene left the scene; but even so, the series is still great and actor Steve Forest was the key that made it work; and with an on-screen chemistry with actress Sue Lloyd, the series was great fun. But unfortunately despite a promising start it did not do well enough in the US (Don't you just hate the 60's American mind set) and was syndicated midway through its run. This effectively ensured `The Baron' had no second series (which I would have loved) that would be made even though it was well received in the UK. (If the Baron was made today the series would have continued for sure).
Now let's look at the episodes...I will put them in production order (preferred) because the DVD/ITC order presented does not make logical sense, considering the changes imposed by America.
Samurai West - Asano, an aging Japanese man, agrees to sell a family heirloom, a 500-year-old samurai sword, to Mannering for 10,000 pounds. When Asano delivers the sword to the antiques dealer, he bumps into Sterling, an British army officer who suffered the Japanese POW camp commanded by Asano. Sterling plans on exacting revenge for his treatment at the hands of the Japanese soldier and when Asano is found dead, Mannering must project Sterling from Asano's vengeful servant.
1] The first episode to introduce John Mannering and David Marlowe.
2] This episode was rather slow going for me-more dramatics an action, it seemed to drag on, I couldn't wait for it to finish.
Red Horse, Red Rider - Mannering agrees to travel to a country racked by civil war to transport a valuable statuette back to London. The rebel leaders hope that the art object will bring them money to buy arms and ammunition to overthrow the tyrannical government. During his flight from the country, Mannering is dogged by the secret police who seem to know his every move even before he makes it.
Personal Comment: This is a much better episode than the first, and actor Frank Wolff who plays Miros makes his first appearance of three within this series.
The Legions of Ammak - Mannering is asked to handle the sale of "The Legions of Ammak", a golden necklace that contains seven perfectly matched black pearls from a Middle Eastern king to an eccentric millionaire. Mannering vouches for the authenticity of the necklace, but his assistant, David Marlowe notices that the king wore the wrong school tie at the ceremony. Mannering discovers that an actor, pretending to be the monarch sold the jewellery, and the purchaser, a man not known for purchasing art, has interests in region oil fields and fears that he has been duped into aiding a palace coup.
Personal Comment: Peter Wyngarde is excellent here playing dual roles as the King Ibrahim & Ronald Noyes, a first class actor.
Diplomatic Immunity - When the beautiful woman who stole a priceless Faberge bauble from his shop is identified as a Pameranian courier, Mannering decides to visit the country's embassy and demand satisfaction. He is intercepted by British intelligence agents who convince him to go behind the Iron Curtain and break up the ring of art thieves who have been hiding behind diplomatic immunity, using his real occupation as an antiques dealer as his cover.
Personal Comment: Sue Lloyd makes her first appearance as Cordelia, as well as Colin Gordon cast as Templeton-Green
Portrait of Louisa - Louisa Trenton is an old friend of Mannering and she is clearly in financial trouble because she offers to sell him some miniatures which are very valuable and have long been in her family. Later she rings the Baron, who goes to meet her at a discotheque, but finds that she is dead. The police believe that she killed herself but Mannering is certain that she was being blackmailed - and that the blackmailer murdered her. He has several suspects to choose from.
Farewell to Yesterday - An airline steward is found dead with a gold medallion in his possession - it is one of several stolen from the Vatican and links him to one of the biggest art smuggling rings in the world. To investigate it the Baron travels to Rome, meeting up with ex-girlfriend Cathy Dorne, who is being forced by her boss Nick to be part of the smuggling gang and who helps Mannering bring its members to justice.
Personal Comment: Good strong performance by William Sylvester as Nick, Sylvia Sims was good too as Cathy Dorne but I felt her character should have been a little stronger and not a helpless blonde with no logic thinking.
Epitaph for a Hero - Having attended the funeral of his old Army buddy, Jim Carey, Mannering is surprised to learn that the man is far from dead and the funeral was but a smoke screen. Carey is planning to steal a priceless jewel from a museum and wants the cooperation of Mannering, initially as a fence, later as a gang member and, to ensure his cooperation, Carey takes Cordelia hostage.
Personal Comment: This was a great episode with strong character acting all round from the main guest stars.
The Persuaders - Mannering's assistant, David Marlowe, is abducted from the shop and a ransom demanded for his return. Specifically the ransom money is to be obtained by Mannering selling a fake Renoir painting to art collector Sir Richard Ellacott. On Templeton-Green's authority Mannering sells the painting and obtains the money, which is to be delivered to Sir Richard's nephew, Roddy. Mannering knows that Roddy is one of the kidnappers but must be careful not to put David's life at risk.
Personal Comment: Sadly this was the last episode to feature Paul Ferris as David Marlowe, (he appeared in the first eight episodes) I feel the loss as his character added diversity and substance to the show by variety; again a good episode all round.
Something for a Rainy Day - John Mannering does a deal with a crooked insurance agent in order to recover an Aztec mask worth a hundred thousand pounds from an ex-convict, Mark Seldon. However, Seldon's old gang boss wants the mask for himself and threatens Seldon's daughter Anne as his security. Mannering now has to recover the mask by saving Anne.
1] It's good to see Lois Maxwell outside of the James Bond movies here, she fits her character as Charotte Russell to a tee, and if there was a second season, perhaps Lois could have returned as Charotte and Patrick Allen as Max Holder is perfect as this episodes bad guy.
2] From here on in Sue Lloyd returns and replaces Paul Ferris as John Mannering's assistant.
Enemy of the State - Mannering and Cordelia are in an Iron Curtain country where they are about to hand over some money at a secret rendezvous. However Mannering's contact has been caught by the police and forced to name his contact. Though warned to keep away Mannering and Cordelia fall into a trap and she is taken by the police. Mannering plans to spring her by taking his own prisoner - the chief of police.
Personal Comment: A favourite episode of mine; I love actor Anton Diffring as Jadwiga Szoblik in this episode, he has a strong on-screen presence, but I felt his character was restrained here, perhaps the script demanded it as such, and I felt Anton could have given a better-stronger performance if given artistic licence to do so to give the episode substance-unless he wasn't allowed too...who knows?
There's Someone Close Behind You - Having received a tip-off that the Lynstead art collection is about to be burgled Mannering lies in wait with the police for the thieves but one of the officers is shot and killed by gang leader Greg Wilde, who subsequently is charged with murder and sent for trial. As the only surviving witness to the killing, Mannering is in a vulnerable position when Wilde escapes from custody and comes after him with murderous intent.
1] Richard Wyler is great as Gregg Wilde giving a strong performance.
2] But the real gem in this episode is actor Philip Madoc who plays Frank Oddy a hired assassin out to get Mannering, his role I believe was far too short-he was a bad guy with class.
And Suddenly You're Dead - Whilst in Switzerland Mannering and Cordelia meet Peter Franklin, an American undercover agent and an old flame of Cordelia. He has stolen a strain of a deadly germ warfare virus from the laboratory where he was secretly working. When he is killed and the virus goes missing, Mannering intends to get to it before Dr. Ingar Sorensen, who developed it and the unscrupulous free agent Holmes.
1]This one of my favourite episodes...why? Actor Vladek Sheybal (UFO fame), he gives a good performance as Reiner. In some respects I would have preferred Vladek to have played the mad scientist an actress Kay Walsh-who did an excellent job anyway. I think Vladek would have been better.
2] Watch for actor Frank Wolff who makes a cameo (uncredited) as one of the hotel's bellboy, his second appearance of three within this series.
A Memory of Evil - Nikki Holz sets out from Germany to London with important information for Mannering but she is abducted before she can meet up with him. Mannering and Cordelia learn that her captors are members of a neo-Nazi organization who are selling off art treasures in order to fund their attempts to gain dominance in Europe, a discovery which leads the Baron into a dangerous climbing adventure.
1] Sadly this was the last episode to feature Colin Gordon as Templeton-Greene, as with Paul Ferris playing David Marlowe, (he appeared in only six episodes in the series) Colin's character added some light humour-but on the serious side, again a character should have stayed in the series.
2] A good well-paced episode here with NAZI looted treasures on offer, it seems that in the 60's and maybe 70's TV shows seem to have something of a NAZI itch, having at least one episode devoted to the shades of WW2...I guess it makes a good story.
Masquerade - A gang led by Morgan Travis is planning to steal the Crown Jewels and also to kill Mannering, replacing him with 'Eddie', a man who has undergone plastic surgery in order to become the Baron's exact double. In fact the gang kill Eddie by mistake but are unaware that Mannering is still alive. Mannering must now impersonate Eddie impersonating himself and convince Cordelia into the bargain.
The Killing - Having convinced Cordelia what is going on, Mannering goes to London with Morgan Travis's gang to get to the Tower of London. Unfortunately, whilst the Baron is doing his best to copy Eddie's mannerisms, a close friend of the deceased recognizes that he is not Eddie. The gang now force Mannering to assist them in their robbery of the Crown Jewels.
1]The above two episodes are a 2-parter, and was one of the combined episodes released as a movie for European release entitled: `The Man in a Looking Glass'. These episodes were great and Bernard Lee as Morgan Travis is excellent as the leader of the gang wanting to steal the Crown Jewels. His performance is faultless, his character strong. In all honesty I believe it was because of him appearing in the two episodes that turned them into a theatrical release, because Bernard Lee was playing M in the successful James Bond films, and there may have been an idea to cash in on it.
2] Actor Frank Wolff appears in `The Killing' episode as Frank Martin, his third appearance of three within this series.
3] A rare treat to see Steve Forrest playing a dual role as John Mannering and Eddie.
4] I know it's in the script, but I find it really hard to believe that the Crown Jewels could be under guarded and so easily stolen.
Long Ago and Far Away - Cordfelia travels to South America on Mannering's behalf to meet an explorer who has something to tell them. Then she disappears and Mannering travels out to find her. He discovers that she has been arrested for discovering a secret that the authorities do not want to come out into the open, involving the stock-piling of hidden weapons.
You Can't Win Them All - The Petrograd icons have been stolen but Mannering tracks them down and is about to put them into a safe deposit box when he is knocked unconscious and, on coming to, finds that they have been stolen again. His investigations lead him to the urbane Jim Gaynor and the Peerage gentlemen's club, where Mannering engages in a game of poker - the stakes being the further recovery of the icons.
The Seven Eyes of Night - Mannering is approached by a glamorous French widow, Madame Devereaux, who sells him an expensive necklace, the seven eyes of night. after she has gone, however, he realizes that she is an impostor and a member of a gang duping buyers into believing they have bought something valuable. He hopes to get to the gang by following secretary Nancy Cummings.
The Long Long Day - At a party in his house gangster Mario Navini kills Pia Vallachio and, helped by his younger brother Bruno, disposes of her body in a quarry. They are observed by sole witness Maria Pullerno, who flees in terror. The Italian Minister of Justice, Vittorio Guardi, asks Mannering to obtain a witness statement from her, as a result of which the Baron and Maria end up besieged by the Navinis in the police station in the village of Santa Montena.
The Edge of Fear - It would appear that the Mona Lisa has been stolen from the Louvre. But is it the actual Da Vinci painting or a forgery substituted to thwart the thieves? One of the robbers flies into London secretly and arranges to meet with Mannering so that he can authenticate the spoils whilst a French spy bugs the Baron's phone so that he too can find out further details. Ultimately Mannering finds himself the prospective saviour of one of the world's most iconic paintings.
Personal Comment: Watch for a cameo (uncredited) by actor Barry Evans (Doctor at Large) as the hotel's bellboy.
Time to Kill - The Vitale family are in possession of an emerald cameo brooch, which is said to be cursed and brings death to its wearer. Cristina Vitale arranges to sell it to Cordelia but she is killed before the transaction can be completed. Soon afterwards, her father is also slain. As the new owner of the brooch Cordelia is now in danger but is the curse genuine or a cover for something equally as sinister?
So Dark the Night - Mannering is about to give a valuation for a client when the man dies. He is a former bullion robber and he has been murdered by Ashton, his erstwhile partner in crime who is looking for the hidden loot and intends to use the dead man's daughter in order to locate it. This leads the Baron and Cordelia to an old dark house in the country where mysterious goings on have been reported.
The Maze - Mannering stops his car to pick up damsel in distress Jill Prentice but he is shot at and crashes the car. When he comes to Jill has gone and he finds himself having weird flashbacks involving a man with a gun. D.I. Walsh believes it is just concussion but Mannering has to piece together the maze in his mind and reach Jill before the gunman can stop him.
Night of the Hunter - Mannering has sold some antiques on behalf of Madame Nicharos, the wife of a deposed Balkan president. Before he can deliver the money to her he is confronted by the general who led the coup. The general seeks both the money and Madame Nicharos in order to strengthen his hold on power.
Storm Warning - While searching for a missing crate of valuable antiques, Cordelia discovers the murder and is promptly abducted by the killer. Mannering tracks her to the freighter and stows away in an effort to rescue her. On board, he stumbles across an undercover CIA operative who suspects the ship's crew is engaged in espionage activities for a foreign power.
The Island - While being held on a blacklisted freighter, Mannering and Cordelia discover that the ship's crew is part of a plot to knock an American space capsule out of orbit, retrieve the spacecraft and deliver it to an unfriendly power. Mannering manages to radio the U.S. Navy and escape in a lifeboat to a nearby island, where he tries to locate the command station before the search parties can locate him.
1] The above two episodes are a 2-parter, and was one of the combined episodes released as a movie for European release entitled: `Mystery Island'.
2] Reginald Marsh is excellent playing the cool level-headed Captain Brenner, and Dudley Sutton is wonderful as Bran Carlton, a semi- psychotic radio operator.
3] Watch out for a cameo (uncredited) of Edward Bishop (UFO) in the `The Island' episode as the Naval Operations Officer, but in the film version he is credited.
4] These two episodes has just enough pace to go the distance, although the climax could have been just a wee bit better.
Roundabout - When Mannering learns that the manager of his Paris shop is shipping illegal narcotics in the base of antiques he ships abroad, he joins forces with the police to break up the drug trafficking ring.
The High Terrace - Delivering a consignment of Medici's to a wealthy female client, Mannering discovers the door open, the lady missing and a strange man inside. Investigations reveal that she had been giving money to a bizarre religious sect with which she had recently been involved, whose leader styles himself the Chosen One. When Mannering decides to look into the sect he finds that he has become the one they have chosen to be killed.
The Man Outside - In Scotland Douglas MacRae, another antique dealer and friend of the Baron, is murdered by American mobsters who intercept him in the course of a 'job he has to finish'. Though the coroner's verdict is one of accidental death, Mannering is not convinced, especially when he spots one of the gangsters wearing Douglas's ring. His pursuit of the gang exposes a plan to flood the country with counterfeit money.
1] They don't come any meaner than Bruno Orsini played by David Bauer, his character is mean, ruthless, unforgiving, brutal, unfeeling...I could go on. David plays his character to perfection, I think he's the very best of the bad guys in `The Baron' series, a man you love to hate, but don't ever turn your back on him.
2] Actor Paul Maxwell as Dino Rossi makes his second appearance within `The Baron' series; his first was in `Epitaph for a Hero', playing John Mannering's old army buddy Jim Carey.
Countdown - The Baron is to meet Stanley White, a man he has never seen before, for information about a valuable sword. However film-maker Arkin Morley is also after the sword and has Mannering abducted and imprisoned in a railway goods truck whilst Compton, one of his men, posing as Mannering, makes the contact with White. Mannering has to escape and intercept Compton before he gets to White.
Personal Comment: We finish the series on a high note with this episode, only when it is about halfway does it get better, with the appearance of Edward Woodward as a crooked antique dealer Arkin Morley. If the series went into a second season and if the character of Arkin Morley did not die in the end of this episode, I would have liked him to continue, as I feel for certain, there would be a `Holmes and Moriarty', (Mannering & Morley) complex of adventure/thriller type episodes pitting one against the other, in getting that precious antique.
The DVD comes with a booklet...but there's a problem...you'll need rabbit eyes to read the information about the episodes...the type is small to read, and you might develop some form of eye-strain...this isn't good. Why produce a booklet in this way is beyond me, the information should be easy to read-but it isn't in my view.
There are some extra stuff on disc 8 which is the last disc of this DVD package. It contains interviews with Johnny Goodman and Sue Lloyd, Extensive Image & PR Image Galleries, Trailers and Credits for the two feature film versions, On-Set News Footage at Elstree Studios, Commercial Break Bumpers, Foreign Titles, Script & Press Booklet PDFs - the PDFs can be accessed via your PC...only three scripts are present for viewing...The Long, Long Day, The Persuaders and Epitaph For a Hero. I would have liked all the scripts of the series for completion sake, but maybe they were not available-who knows?
One of the most interesting things about John Mannering was his car, at a glance when I watched the show for the first time, I thought it was a 1960's version of the Jaguar XJS. How wrong I was (my apologies to car buffs everywhere, the first XJS came out in 1975), the Baron's car was a silver Jensen CV-8 Mk II. I really like this car and I wouldn't mind seeing the real version one day.
As stated above in `Extras' & `Episodes' there were two films made or rather put together from the series for European release. They were `Mystery Island', which was the episodes Storm Warming & The Island, and `The Man in a Looking Glass', which was the episodes Masquerade & The Killing. Again I would have liked these films to have been part of this DVD set for completion sake. Perhaps if a deluxe edition of the Baron came out in the future the films will be included.
A Final Word
All in all I found `The Baron' a pleasure to watch and an excellent series, and you will too; if so perhaps you should purchase `The Champions' and `The Prisoner' as well, you won't be disappointed with them either, `The Champions' is also one of my favourite shows from the 60's, alas it to went for one season. As I am more into Science-Fiction, I was surprised that I liked `The Baron'. Steve Forrest made it hard not to; and if you like him get the TV Series `SWAT', add `The Baron' to your collection today, it's worth it.
Please Note: This review is for the Network British Edition of 'The Baron', but I am assuming this edition is the same-just different packaging (cover-wise).
Thanks to Wikipedia, `The Baron' DVD notes & Booklet and the Internet for additional information for this review.
THE BARON AND THE SAINT HAD LOT OF SIMILARITIES. STEVE FORREST AND ROGER MOORE WERE VERY WELL DRESSED AND THEY ACTED THE SAME WAY. THE INTRIGUES WERE GOOD. THE PICTURE COULD BE MORE COLORFULL, BUT I UNDERSTAND IT WAS MADE IN 1966. I'VE ENJOYED THAT THIS SERIES WAS MADE ON DVDS. EXCELLENT SHOW.
ROBERT S. PAYER
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Great European locations, plots easy and fun to follow. For the price you get 30 shows, plus all kinds of extras about the stars, directors and locations. Neat stuff and for the re-runs of summer 2013 we have something new to watch!