Great Drama Series; Sheldon Reynolds' Euro-Noir 1/2 Hour Classic
This is next to "Northwest Passage" the best-written dramatic half-hour TV series of which I have knowledge. It was called "Dateline Europe" in rerun. To do what the authors of "Father Knows Best" or any satire-comedy series' writers did episode after episode is a hard-enough challenge; the creator of this estimable series, Sheldon Reynolds, did something much more difficult, I suggest. Because of his extensive history of having worked in Europe, he had gained the know-how plus the artistic acumen as executive producer to put together the format of a series which could be produced in Europe, with mostly European actors, using English-speakers as leads. This high-quality series is unusual in another respect, in that it was tried--with success I claim in all cases--to present the show using several different formats and with different stars. The parts played by Jerome Thor and Sydna Scott were those of reporters assigned to postwar Eureope; clearly this was a very good place within which to discover stories, quite a few relating to the coming communists and the ousted Nazis, wartime regimes and before, and those being established after WWII. James Daly and Anne Preville replaced Thor and Scott after two years, for a one-season run; then Gerald Mohr, a Humphrey Bogart sound-alike and strong lead, was installed for one season as the operator of a "Rick's "-style café (in the movie hit "Casablanca") to be the ethical central character ferreting out and involving himself in postwar events, plots, searches, missions and anti-crime activities. The locations were authentic, since the series was shot in Europe; and as a viewer and author I can attest that the noir stories boasted strong development, well-developed characters, dramatic goals, purposes, and actions of uncommon interest nearly in every episode. To add to the value-level of his production, Reynolds hired writers to create more than one episode for him, and skilled directors such as Marcel Cravenne, Jack Gage, Lars-Eric Kjellgren, Hans Lagerqvist, Steve Previn, Eugene Lourie, Tom Younger, and himself (noted director/ producer of "Foreign Intrigue" and "Assignment to Kill", plus his production of series such as "The Dick and the Duchess" and "Sherlock Holmes" with Ronald Howard). Among the actors, he employed more than once were Gunnar Nielsen, Inga Langre, Per-Axel Arosenius, Ingrid Thulin, Keve Hjelm etc., but he also employed well-known actors for an important role such as Eva Dahlbeck and others. Original music for the series was composed by Ervin Drake; the cinematographer was Paul Ivano or Bertil Palmgren. I cannot praise too highly the B/W authenticity of this show and its episodes. Many of those series set in the 1950s and beyond, and set in distant places, and eventually the hour-long "I Spy", owe much of their success I assert to the extraordinary and ground-breaking use Sheldon Reynolds made of his ability to create fiction about, located in and utilizing the talents of non-United States-based supporting actors, technicians, locations and support personnel. Without his expertise and his work in this series, the twentieth-century television and filmic use of European actors and locations would have been much poorer indeed. Not to be missed if it is shown where you can enjoy these fine episodes.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?