Friday, September 3, 2021

DIAL 999: A Television Review

A few months ago I purchased a DVD set for a television program titled DIAL 999. Starring Robert Beatty in the lead role as a modern-day Canadian Mountie who ventures to England to help assist Scotland Yard with cleaning up the crime in the streets, this series ran one full year in the late 1950s. Based on the files of Scotland Yard, the stories were abound with detective work and explosive entertainment. Shrewd maneuvers to thwart the desperate, dangerous quarry are found in every episode. To sum up an accurate description of this series, I consider this the British equivalent of America's Dragnet

Along the way I saw some familiar faces such as William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, but also the screen debut of Barbara Steele. But the real star is Robert Beatty as Detective Inspector Mike Maguire. He was born in Canada (so his Canadian accent is authentic) and he served for a time as a British Police Constable during World War II. If the actor's name is not familiar, his face may be. He played supporting roles in Odd Man Out (1947) with James Mason, Man on a Tightrope (with Frederic March), and in Something of Value (with Rock Hudson and Dana Wynter). 

The DVD set was issued in England and while the print transfers are drop dead gorgeous, the format is in PAL. If you do not have a region-free DVD player, you will not be able to play these. But if you do have a region-free DVD player, do yourself a favor and buy this. A couple friends of mine followed my advice and both, later and separately, called to tell me out of the blue that they appreciated the recommendation because they enjoyed this series very much.