Soldiers Of Fortune Is A Cheap Revue TV Series Now Out As A Worse DVD Boxset
"Soldiers Of Fortune" is an incredibly bad TV series that wastes the talents of actors John Russell and Chick Chandler. No one person could be responsible for this TV disaster, it took teamwork. The first episode of the series, The Gaboon Viper, has it all: a lousy script, incredibly cheap sets and virtually no action. The episode did give some black actors work, but these actors looked none too happy, the producers probably shortchanged them. I saw this episode complete, then I scanned through other episodes, not wanting to use up too much time.
Most episodes I saw looked like Timeless Media Group had only had access to 16MM prints of the episodes. Some looked like video transfers. Worst of all, some had what seemed like decomposition damage on either the left or right side of the frame. On another TMG mastered series I have, "The Texan," TMG did a really fine job, most episodes had no print damage of any sort, no end of reel marks, no scratches or hazy areas. "Soldiers Of Fortune" is another story, much sadder.
So some NBC Universal functionary approves the release to TMG of many bad prints of episodes of "Soldiers Of Fortune," who cares if the resulting box set is a consumer ripoff. I only recall seeing one or two episodes of this series on a black and white TV set over 50 years ago. Seeing this series now makes me realize that some old TV series are better off buried in archives beyond the reach of mortal man (and woman).
Looking at the series episodes, featuring badly filmed stock footage inserts, ill fitting costumes from wardrobe, guest actors for whom the series was the end of the line (with exceptions like Lee Van Cleef and Leo Gordon) and directors collecting a paycheck as the major Hollywood movie studios went into free fall back then, you have to think that working on this series must have been real depressing. But John Russell and Chick Chandler just plugged away, always putting on a cheerful face. Those two deserved better.
As does any consumer who made the mistake of buying this shoddy box set featuring many video episodes mastered to the bad public domain quality you see on Alpha and Gotham DVDs.
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