Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A gold mine of international crime fiction on TV and DVD

I’ve written here and there about international detective stories televised by MHz Networks in the Washington, D.C., area. It turns out that the network shows more than the Andrea Camilleri and Harri Nykänen series I mentioned in those posts. It screens entire series of detective shows from abroad under the general title International Mystery and plans to issue several on DVD, which I think is big, exciting news.

Here’s a note from Mike Jeck, MHz’s programming manager for films:

International Mystery has been screening since early 2000 on MHz Networks [an independent, noncommercial television broadcaster delivering international programming to the Washington, D.C., area, and now, selected affiliates and other outlets around the country].

Currently we are showing TV movies adapted from:
— Georges Simenon’s works about Maigret [the French series starring Bruno Cremer]
— Andrea Camilleri’s works about
Montalbano
— The originally scripted German series Tatort [Scene of the Crime], focusing on the Cologne team of Ballauf and Schenk
— The unique, award-winning Finnish miniseries Raid [inspired by the novels, so far untranslated, by Harri Nykänen].

In the past, we have shown the Russian Sherlock Holmes adaptations, and almost all of the Mankell/Wallander movies and mini-series. We will soon resume showing all the Swedish adaptations/extensions from the novels about Martin Beck.

On a sister program we are showing the originally scripted Mafia series La Piovra [The Octopus], series 1 [there are 10.]

All of these are presented in the original language with English subtitles.

How to see us: For those in the Washington, D.C., area, click
here. Nationally, click here.

DVD: We hold all US rights for the Montalbano, Octopus, and Martin Beck series; have wholesale/retail agreements re the Maigret and Raid series, and are in negotiations for several other series.

We expect to begin issuing Montalbano, Octopus and Raid DVD collections by at least early next year, with plenty of others to follow.

This is good stuff, readers.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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22 Comments:

Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

This was an awful tease for the rest of us. Sigh.

September 18, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

You mean for those of you who don't live in the D.C. area? Neither do I, and I'm tantalizingly closer than most.

But I decided to post the comment anyhow, both to let readers know about the impending availability of the DVDs, and possibly to get you all pounding on the doors of your local public television stations insisting that they pick up some of these shows and movies.

September 18, 2007  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Peter you are lucky you don't live in the DC area or with Martin Beck, Henning Mankell and Andrea Camilleri on TV you might have a squatters.

The Times today has a review with the headline "The Bard takes a battering". Julia Pascal writer/director has added a Holocaust survivor to The Merchant of Venice and made Antonio and Bassanio gay!

September 19, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

I was thinking I might have to spend a few weekends in Washington visiting memorials and museums by day and holed up in a hotel room watching television at night.

Is that Times review online? I could look for it, or you could save me the trouble and send me a link. Did this Julia Pascal make one of Shakespeare's characters a Holocaust survivor, or did she have the temerity to add a character?

With respect to Antonio and Bassanio, I wonder if gay characters are or will become the current rage among Shakespeare directors, the way stinging, daring critiques of militarism were a few years ago. It seemed as if every director took it into his or her head to stage Shakespeare in military dress, amid the decadence of the Weimar Republic, or both. Coriolanus is about soldiers, so that gets a pass. But Macbeth goose-stepping around the stage was a ludicrous sight, Ian McKellan and the rest of the cast all in black in Richard III amid smoky effects was more suited to the opening act of heavy-metal concert than to Shakespeare, and Measure for Measure in 1920s Germany (or was it Vienna?), lighthearted carrying on against the rising cloud of Hitler? All right, already. I get the point. High-school level didacticism like that merits maybe a line or two in an essay, not an entire production.

September 19, 2007  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/stage/theatre/article2482300.ece

Here is the link Peter. She used the play with a play ploy and added a character.

September 19, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

I just read the review. It sounds like a suitably wince-inducing production.

Here's a bold restaging: Since it was Italian merchants and bankers, and not Jews, who ushered in the age of modern capitalism, why not stage The Merchant of Venice with a Florentine or Genoese Christian Shylock? That would be as tendentious as Pascal's version but arguably more interesting and innovative.

September 19, 2007  
Anonymous Ann said...

This might not count as I don't think there's a book, but Danish television have made a series called Mordkommissionen which is seriously good. I considered trying to interest British television in this, but decided it might be too gory or too foreign. Probably both.

It's so good that my 14-year-old who doesn't understand more than the odd word of Danish, or can read much of the Swedish subtitles, loves it.

September 20, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks. I've forwarded the recommendation to the programming head at MHz Networks. Now I'll look for information on the series in a language I can understand!

September 20, 2007  
Blogger Lisa said...

Greato. This may mean that at some point in the near future we'll be able to rent the Montalbano DVDs! Maybe I'll call my local PBS station and ask about the show, although they haven't very responsive in the past. Good to know there's hope, though.

September 24, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Or you could hook yourself up to DirectTV.

I'm not abreast of technological trends in home entertainment, but I seem to recall reading about adapters one can buy to get around the problem on incompatible DVD systems.

September 24, 2007  
Anonymous Jim Gritton said...

A late addition to this thread, I know, but the BBC is about to embark on a major new drama adaptation of Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series with Kenneth Branagh playing the Swedish detective. So far, three novels are to get the BBC treatment: One Step Behind, Firewall and Sidetracked. The BBC press release can be found here.

January 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks for the note; it's never too late to add to a thread.

I'd just read that news this week. I'd most recently seen Kenneth Branagh in Hamlet, which leads me to wonder whether I can picture Kurt Wallander making love to Kate Winslet.

January 12, 2008  
Anonymous jeff said...

Are there DVDs available yet? The International Mysteries are great, please tell me there are DVDs!! I need some Maigret (love the Bruno Cremer version) as well as RAID, and how about Commissario Brunetti. DVDs, please! Or tell me how I can tune in on Sundays from the West Coast (Oregon).

June 28, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I wish I knew where to tune in from Philadelphia. But your message may spur me to investigate availability again. Thanks.

I've only ever seen the Michaael Gambon Maigret series, and I liked it.

June 28, 2008  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Peter, Thanks for the response. We used to live in the D.C. area and we just loved the MHz International Mysteries series. I could now kick myself for never copying those to DVD or even VCR instead of just using the DVR. I keep checking the MHz site hoping they will someday offer some on DVD. Or expand their broadcasts to other markets. :-(

June 30, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And thanks for the reminder. I should remember to check periodically into the series' availability on DVD or tape or, as you suggest, even the sale of rights in other markets.

July 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alas, more than a year later and still signs of the DVDs. This makes two Christmases in which I would have spent $$ to gifts.

Is there any way to rattle their cage?!

November 16, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'd have spent some money myself.

I don't know whose cages one might rattle, but thanks for reminding me of this post so I can think about looking into where to do the rattling or at least to make some inquiries.

November 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the post. i live in the los angeles area and lucked into montalbano, maigret and irene huss (i think) on digital channel kcet 28.4. they are spread a bit thin, and show up at midnight and later (!). all are beautiful prints in the original language with english subtitles, of course.

i have begun searching for a complete series of montalbano on dvd, with no progress, thus far.

lastly, i hope that you have read the willem van der wettering series of zen police procedurals featuring detectives gripjstra and de gier. their adventures take them peripherally to japan, where the author spent time studying zen and wrote a fine non-fictional book, 'zen and the art of archery'. i highly recommend this book, as well!

hoping that you get this,

read well!
d kuwata

May 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Welcome, and thanks for your comment. I believe the complete Montalbano series is available on DVD from MHz Networks and also in Australia.

I have read all Van de Wetering's Grijpstra and De Gier stories as well as Empty Mirror, his fine and unexpectedly humorous memoir of his experience in a Zen monastery in Kyoto.

May 01, 2011  
Blogger sierra said...

Live in Chicago area, WYCC/PBS runs most of these mysteries Sundays 8:00 and 11:00 pm CentralUSTime and repeats it same time Tuesdays

They are great, also great reading. Enjoy!

July 08, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks!

July 08, 2011  

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