Review of "Kojak: The Complete Movie Collection" From The TV MegaSite

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Kojak: The Complete Movie Collection DVD cover


Kojak: The Complete Movie Collection

 Review by Suzanne Lanoue 1/6/12

I watched all or most of the cop and private eye shows in the 70's, including this one. However, it was not my favorite. That's because I was a young teen, so I preferred the shows with cute guys like Mod Squad, Starsky & Hutch, Streets of San Francisco, Mannix et al.  I never really liked bald guys, so Telly did not turn me on. Also, it is a very gritty and realistic cop show, so that would not have appealed to me back then.

Now, however, I can enjoy it and see that it's a very good show. With a lot of TV from back then, I have trouble watching it because either it's very slow or it's just so dated that it's laughable. Kojak still holds up very well, and the shows move along at a nice pace. The stories are actually quite complex, which was not that common in TV dramas until fairly recently.

This particular set is not the Kojak series, however. It starts with the original pilot, but then the other movies are all from the 80's and 90's, long after the Kojak show went off the air, so they are more modern, for the most part.  The original pilot, based on a true story, takes place in 1973, but it has a very 60's feel to it. All of the cops are white and male. When two young women are stabbed to death, it is seen as very shocking. They get a lot of cops from all over the city to investigate (as they did in the real story), and they arrest the first black guy they can find (and of course he's innocent). It's up to Kojak to figure out that they have the wrong guy, since they beat a confession out of him, among other things.  The thing is, this is not a feel-good show, so the ending is not always so happy and nice like many shows then and now. You may not like how things turn out.

There are many other things I found fun about watching this set.  For one thing, the technology changes drastically over time, so you see it first, in the 70's with virtually no technology (not to mention, no ACLU or CSI), to early computers, and then beepers, and eventually more modern computers. One of the episodes has a woman and her father communicating with a "bulletin board" but it really looks more like something out of the movie "Wargames".  Even the later movies, though, take place before cell phones. The movies look more modern, but the last one is from 1990, which is over 20 years ago (I know, it feels like yesterday to some of us...).

Another fun thing about watching the show is seeing all of the great actors from past and present. You get to see Ned Beatty and Jose Ferrer in the original pilot (and probably other faces you'll recognize).  Of course, Kevin Dobson was in the actual show, but he only appears in the last movie for some reason (too busy doing Knots Landing, maybe?).  Instead, Kojak gets Andre Braugher as a sidekick for a while. It's great to see him and others looking so young and skinny.  Suzanne Pleschette is in one of the episodes, along with Max Von Syndow.  We also see a Angie Dickenson, Rip Torn, Amanda Plummer, Darren McGavin, Jerry Orbach, and a very young James Remar as a killer in one movie, and a very young Steven Weber as a cop in another. I loved spotting actors in these. The last movie has three different soap opera actors I recognize.

There are 8 movies all together, so that means there are about 16 hours of Kojak fun!  Also, there is one feature, where some of the actors who are still around chat about the show.  They have a lot of nice things to say about star Telly Savalas, as do his children.  It is a nice addition to the set. We learn some great behind-the-scenes stuff, and it's fun to see what the actors look like now.

Any fan of 70's TV, or of realistic TV, or of police drama should love this set!

More Information:

Kojak: The Complete Movie Collection
Release Date: 1/24/2012
Categories:  TV on DVD   Feature Films   DVD Box Sets 
DVD    $29.98 + S&H *  click here to purchase

Telly Savalas stars as the tough, lollipop-toting Detective Theo Kojak in eight gritty and unforgettable mystery movies from 1973–1990.

Created by Emmy®– and Academy Award®–winning writer Abby Mann, Kojak ran for five seasons on CBS from 1973–1978 and was later revisited as a series of TV movies. Along with these special broadcasts, this DVD set also features the previously unavailable pilot movie, The Marcus-Nelson Murders (aired in 1973), which started it all and earned Abby Mann an Emmy for Outstanding Writing.

This 4-disc set includes all 8 original full-length feature films:

  • The Marcus-Nelson Murders (1973)
  • The Belarus File (1985)
  • The Prince of Justice (1987)
  • Ariana (1989)
  • Fatal Flaw (1989)
  • Flowers For Matty (1990)
  • It’s Always Something (1990)
  • None So Blind (1990)

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Page update 1/6/12

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