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Home Movies/Out on Digital: May 18, 2017

May. 16, 2017
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“The Streets of San Francisco: The Complete Series”

During its peak years on network television, “The Streets of San Francisco” revolved around a rising star about to catch brilliance and an aging star preparing for his final act. Michael Douglas was a relative newbie when the cop show debuted (1972). Oscar-winner Karl Malden’s epochal films were decades behind him.

Douglas plays Inspector Keller, a cocksure young detective with the San Francisco Police Department, and Malden is his superior, the avuncular in a no-nonsense way Lt. Stone. Youth working with age, cool collaborating with cranky, provided the show with its underlying dynamic at a time when the ’60s generation gap remained unbridged. With its rolling hills, ocean vistas and late Victorian architecture, San Francisco was a picturesque if gritty backdrop in those days before the city’s gentrification. The show followed the template of the era’s Quinn Martin productions with four acts, a pithy epilogue and a punch-press pace.

“Mannix: The Complete Series”

When we first meet Joe Mannix, he’s working for a big detective agency with secretarial pools and surveillance cameras everywhere. He hangs his coat over his office cam. Mannix is no organization man and mocks the efficacy of the IBM technology surrounding him. He goes by intuition and gets the job done. Little wonder he breaks away and starts his own agency with faithful secretary Peggy back at his home office.

All 194 episodes of “Mannix” (1967-1975) are collected in this 48-disc set. The show generated controversy in its day: Mannix (Mike Connors) is white; Peggy (Gail Fisher), black. The plots are often patchy but executed with panache; their pleasure lies in the implacable titular character cruising L.A. in his convertible, quick with a gun but offering a ready smile of human sympathy. The best scenes could have been filmed by Alfred Hitchcock; the worst raised camp to an acute point.


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