Paramount // 1965 // 750 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Michael Rubino (Retired) // March 23rd, 2009
"Save up a lot of loneliness, you'll have to spend it somewhere."
The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume Two arrives offering more thrills, suspense, and awkward glances than you can shake a stick at.
Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) is innocent, but he can't prove it. Now he's on the run for his life, criss-crossing the country in search of the man who killed his wife. Chasing after him is the dedicated detective, Lt. Gerard (Barry Morse), who will stop at nothing to uphold the law -- even if the law is wrong.
Season Two, Volume Two contains the following episodes:
* "Brass Ring"
* "The End is but the Beginning"
* "Nicest Fella You'd Ever Want to Meet"
* "Fun and Games and Party Favors"
* "Corner of Hell"
* "Moon Child"
* "The Survivors"
* "Everybody Gets Hit in the Mouth Sometime"
* "May God Have Mercy"
* "Runner in the Dark"
* "The Old Man Picked a Lemon"
* "Last Second of a Big Dream"
The latter half of The Fugitive's sophomore season is a mixed bag of thrilling character studies and bizarre situations. Kimble continues his quixotic quest for the one-armed man while simultaneously getting involved in the lives of some seriously strange folks. That, I suppose, is the ulterior motive the show: to create rich, single-serving character studies and have them play out against the largely silent Kimble. To a degree, this works well -- although for my money, the best episodes are the ones that focus on Kimble narrowly escaping the grasp of Gerard and his wicked comb-over.
The set opens with "Brass Ring," where Kimble is working as a caretaker for a paraplegic shop owner on the Santa Monica pier (Yes, really). Along the way, Kimble discovers a plot to kill the shop owner (played by Robert Duvall) and swindle him out of his insurance money. As usual, Kimble's naive insistence on helping others puts him into a trap that he can just barely escape from. I don't mind these kinds of episodes; they're always filmed with great care and filled with quality acting. This volume has plenty of them.
It's episodes like "Corner of Hell," however, that remind me why I enjoy this show so much. Kimble, with Gerard hot on his heels, wanders off a country road and into a small shanty-town of lawless moonshiners. Gerard, ignoring the advice of local law enforcement, chases after Kimble and gets all kinds of hornswoggled. That's right, hornswoggled. It's up to Kimble to save Gerard, and they all learn a valuable lesson about innocence and justice. For as often as that happens in this show (and it'll happen a number of times throughout this volume), Gerard just doesn't let up. It's admirable, really. He also doesn't update that wanted poster, despite knowing that Kimble's got black hair.
Volume Two has a healthy mix of thrilling chases and character studies, although overall it didn't feel as satisfying as previous releases. This is partially due to Paramount's insistence on releasing each season in halves. The show is self-contained, and I don't think the episodes need to be watched in any specific order, but this set of episodes would have felt more even-keeled if it had been paired with the first volume.
As with previous releases, Paramount has done an excellent job restoring the show from the original negatives. The black and white picture is crisp and generally dirt free -- although you'll notice some scratches and fading at times. It's still very impressive.
The sound is a different story. Much was made of the awkwardly replaced soundtrack in Season Two, Volume One. Paramount, in an admirable showing of customer support, offered customers replacement discs with more of the original music restored. Volume Two doesn't have a 100 percent authentic score, but it seems to have more of the original music than that last release. The show's excellent theme song, along with the theme's variations played throughout each episode, are intact. There are still more than a few obvious instances of that clean, crisp, computer-generated music, and they stand out like a sore thumb. It's doubtful CBS will offer replacement discs this time, since it seems like they at least tried to license more of the original music than before, but purists will yet again be disappointed.
As usual, there aren't any special features included in the four-disc set. It would be nice to learn more about the show and the writing process behind the series. I'm sure fans would also appreciate a featurette explaining the replaced musical score...maybe that's asking a bit much.
The Fugitive is a show with a winning formula, and Season Two, Volume Two sticks to it nicely. There may not be as many over-the-top exciting episodes in this particular release, but if you picked up the previous volumes you'll surely want this one as well.
Review content copyright © 2009 Michael Rubino; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 750 Minutes
Release Year: 1965
MPAA Rating: Not Rated