Do you really need an introduction? If you’re reading this review, you know the series, don’tyou? You know this is the story of Stalag 13, where the unfortunate Colonel Klink and the idioticSergeant Schultz are the straight men to the madcap antics of Colonel Hogan (Bob Crane) andhis men. Hogan and company are prisoners in name only, constantly ferrying out other POWsand otherwise creating chaos for the German war machine.
As a war sitcom (the premise is, of course,…a little counterintuitive), the series hasn’t agedwell, and has been since far outdone at the slapstick end by the frequently inspired stupidity of’Allo ‘Allo, and is nowhere near as intelligent as M*A*S*H. In fact, the wholeexercise feels rather forced. I suppose the very nostalgic might want to watch all 32 episodesavailable here, but surely not in concentrated sittings. For added interest, however, try this foran evening of viewing: screen any episode here along with Isla, She-Wolf of the SS(extreme sleaze filmed on the show’s set, which also blew it up), and Auto-Focus(detailing Bob Crane’s decline, fall and murder).
Mono sound, but good, noise-free mono. No distortion, everything’s clean, and there isnothing to object to. Not too much to say about it, either, but it certainly gets the job done.
I screened this set immediately after the much more recent Sweet Valley High, andthe picture quality here of a forty-year-old shot is enormously superior. The picture is crisp andsharp, and in fine shape. The colours are very strong. The beginning of the series was in black-and-white, and this looks good too, if not quite on the same level as the colour episodes.
None. But. QUALITY CONTROL ALERT: my set has Discs 1 and 2 mislabelled. If youpop in Disc 1 and don’t get the pilot, relax and put in Disc 2.
Middling comedy, but the series is something of a cultural oddity now, and has a certaininterest on that level.