DVD Review: It Takes a Thief: The Complete Series
Country: United States
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Distributor: Entertainment One
· Roland Kibbee
· Robert Wagner
· Malachi Throne
· Fred Astaire
by Eric Deters
Published: December 4, 2011
Over the past couple years, I became a pretty big TV watcher, going from only casually watching shows like The Office and Invader Zim (don’t hate) to finally experiencing the masterpiece that is Arrested Development (catch up before the new season and the movie, you will not be disappointed) as well as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Wire. However, it was only earlier this year that I started getting into some very early examples of television programs when I got the Blu-Ray collection of Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner, which aired starting in 1967 and only lasted around 12 episodes. Now, I’ve been watching another spy-oriented show, It Takes a Thief, which began its runtime of 3 years mere months after The Prisoner, and have found myself to be enjoying it immensely. The show is something of a relic in this era of television; unless you grew up around the time that it aired, you’ve likely never seen any primetime program like it. This well-crafted mix of quirky, subtle humor and thrilling espionage manages to be greatly entertaining throughout the massive amount of hours it will take you to see it all.
The show stars Robert Wagner as the thief Alexander Mundy, smooth, clever and devastatingly stealthy in equal measure, who is in prison when we meet him. He is quickly released on government orders, and responds with confusion towards his new, completely legal, position; “Let me get this straight… you want me to steal?” This wonderful concept leads to plenty of ventures that involve sleuthing, sneaking, and stealing in the best possible ways. The story itself doesn’t concern itself with sweeping arcs and monumental moments, but instead focuses on the smaller heists that take place in each episode. There are continuities, to be sure, especially in the third and final season, but they take a backseat to ensuring that the show has a consistently inventive feel to the various jobs Mundy goes on. Speaking of Mundy, he’s simply a great character, who’s played with such confidence and swagger by Wagner that he is impossible not to love. There are multiple guest stars throughout the show’s run, including Malachi Throne, Fred Astaire, and Joseph Cotton who are all cast as very diverse and well-written characters. The dialogue is genuinely very charming and pretty funny overall when it wants to be. It is truly a product of the times, so there are multiple instances that involve various Cold War-related plotlines, but they manage to avoid outrageous cliché for the most part and are genuinely entertaining. The show’s finale also ends on a wonderful fourth-wall break that pays homage to these influences. In my eyes, the show started to feel more and more dated as it went on, which was the opposite of what I honestly expected, but it’s not overbearing or hard to watch in the slightest.
This box set contains all 66 episodes from the 3 seasons of the show, an interview with the star Robert Wagner and a show executive Glen Larson, a 4-piece coaster set, a small booklet containing a look at the show’s influence on television, and a limited edition reproduction of a 35mm film frame. This all comes at the asking price of around $200 ($100 on Amazon right now), and I would say that given all the content that you get for that price (every episode is around 50 minutes, plus the bonus features), it’s not a bad offer. And besides, you really can’t go wrong with a show as stylish, cool, and excellent as this one.