The Vise & Mark Saber Of London

In DVD/Blu-ray by Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Native New Yorkers, Edward J. and Harry Lee Danziger–producers extraordinaire—set up shop in Britain in 1952 and, for a decade, were arguably the world’s most prolific independent supplier of television shows and ‘B’ movies. Creating nearly 100 films and in excess of 300 TV episodes for the British and American market, their longest-running creation was one-armed detective Mark Saber, who sleuthed his way through more than 150 episodes of murder, blackmail, and conduct unbecoming. But before Saber appeared on the scene, there was The Vise

The Vise was an American mystery series about a British detective working in an US homicide department. Based on the hugely popular ABC Mystery Theatre radio and television series, the show was prime-time viewing through most of the ‘50s—and Network’s latest releases include three box sets, that cherry-pick some of the very best episodes.

The Vise: Volume 1 nails its noir colours squarely to the mast in the opening narration: “The story we’re going to tell is about people caught in the jaws of a vise—in a dilemma of their own making!” Over 21 episodes, a rotating cast played out a succession of edgy morality tales, in an anthology style show where each episode was bookended by a monologue from moody Australian actor Ron Randell.

For the second season of The Vise, producers, the Danzigers, rebooted the format, removing the heavy-handed narration, and making private investigator Mark Saber—memorably played by Donald Gray—the focus of the show. The new-look gave us Saber as a one-armed private detective solving more traditional mysteries inLondon, Paris and the Riviera. Released by Network under the title The Vise: Mark Saber this volume showcases 30 episodes.

Saber Of London: Volume 1, was the title given to the third series of The Vice and, while the title may have changed detective Mark Saber remained as dogged and as reliable as ever in a show whose consistent quality and story-telling kept audiences entertained for half a decade. In fact, in this final incarnation, Saber Of London ran for an unprecedented 91 episodes and 36 of the best are included in this box set.

Featuring screenplays from a very young Brian Clemens (The Avengers, The Professionals), Mark Grantham (The Cheaters) and others, The Vise is classic anthology  TV, in the vein of  Clemens’ better-remembered Thriller. Hopefully, these Network releases will correct that—because The Vice is great TV. Unseen for over fifty years each episode has  been newly transferred from original film elements especially for this release.

The Vise: Volume 1, includes:
Dr. Damon’s Experiment / Death Pays No Dividends / The Very Silent Traveller / The Gamblers / The Count of 12 / The Final Column / The Benevolent Burglar / Broken Honeymoon / Death on the Boards / Behind the Mask / The Cruel Test / The Deception / Week-End Guest / Account Closed / Man in Demand / The Verdict / Death in White / Never Let Me Down / Side Entrance / The Search for Martha Harris / Cross Channel


The Vise: Mark Saber, includes:
Man Hunt / Walk Softly for Murder / Collector’s Item / Hear No Evil / Murder by Design / A Coffin for Johnny / Murder for Gain / There’s Danger in Beauty / Death Needs No Cane / File It Under Murder / If This Be Murder / Holiday for Heatherton / Receipt for Murder / A Dram of Death / Return to Danger / The Very Last Witness / A Hatful of Trouble / Corpse in the Cellar / The Corpse with a Sword / Root of Evil / Man on a Cliff / Murder by Error / The Sound of Death / Diamond Jubilee / A Coin’s Worth of Murder / The Hostage / Bullets for Saber / Hi-Jacked / Bishops Sometimes Bite / Short, Dark and Handsome


Saber Of London: Volume 1, includes:
The Captain and the Killers / Deep in the Heart of Chelsea / Death by Delayed Payment / The Penny Black / Fast Cars and Girls / Strong Man Out / Saber at Sea / The Case of Mr Shore / The Maid Was Curious / The Man Who Was Twice / Power of Suggestion / Diamond Follies / A Diplomatic Affair / Don’t Lose Your Shirt / Weakness Doesn’t Pay / Corpse Cried Murder / Paid Off / Background for Murder / Where There’s a Will / It Walks at Night / Uncle William / Platinum Murder / Operation Arson / Murder for Revenge / Out of the Past / Silent Accusation / The Opportunists / Dead Before Arrival / Full Moon / Florentine Madonna / The Big Stone / Damages / The Scream in the Night / A Boxful of Tragedy / Lost and Found / Sweetheart Beware