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Peyton Place: Part One DVD

SKU ID #331553

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Price: $39.99

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  • Technical Specs
  • Format: DVD
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Run Time: 810 Minutes
  • Region: 1 Region?
  • Aspect Ratio: Fullscreen
  • Studio: Shout Factory
  • DVD Release Date: May 19, 2009
  • Audio: ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Color: Black & White
This reviewer was too young to appreciate Peyton Place when it went on the air in September of 1964. In the interim, we saw a few poorly-struck dupe 16mm prints of the series, that did little to spark interest in the program. But 45 years later, as it makes its debut on DVD, we have to say, this program is so seductive that it is almost diabolical -- downright addictive. One can see how it made such a splash on television in 1964 -- right there out in the open, while Rob and Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show are sleeping in twin beds, are characters discussing infidelity, extra-marital (and pre-marital) sex, out-of-wedlock births, and all manner of other matters that we now take for granted in the context of prime-time entertainment. None of that would matter terribly much today, however, if not for the fact that the writing, by executive producer Paul Monash, starts out very very good in episode one, and gets better very fast; and that the cast is so damned good and attractive -- Dorothy Malone, Mia Farrow, Barbara Parkins, and the whole rest of the cast are incredibly good in their parts, and some of that credit has to go not only them and to Monash, but also to director Walter Doniger, who keeps his camera moving a lot more than one was used to in half-hour dramas in those days. And, finally, the other major reason why it hold up so well today is that the producers of the DVD have done a first-rate job of transferring these old black-and-white film prints into digital video -- the last thing that anyone in 1964 could have expected is that people would be looking at this material 45 years later in a high-resolution format that is probably superior to any home-broadcast image that could have been imagined at the time. There are flaws in the film stock, owing to age, but these have been compensated for more than adequately, and only some graininess remains as a minor but significant flaw. Each episode has been given a chapter-break accompanying the edited breaks for credits and commercials, so that there are six chapters per episode; and each of the five discs opens to a simple two-layer menu that allows access to all episodes or individual programs. The only problem there is the Shout Factory policy of putting trailers for other series ahead of the menu for this show, but those can be jumped over with the touch of a button. There are no bonus features, which is unfortunate -- most of the major players from the series are still with us, and they could easily have been interviewed about their work and reminiscences. As to the viewing, however, that's beyond reproach, especially as one watches the series with the knowledge of what came after it -- series from Dynasty onward would never have gotten off the ground without Peyton Place, which ran for five seasons; but Peyton Place has fewer distractions and less outrageous conceits than Dynasty, as it started out in black-and-white, as a real writer's show, and the 31 episodes here all hold up amazingly well.
 
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