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Own the hit television series that launched the career of big-screen legend Steve McQueen. Josh Randall (McQueen) was not a typical rough-hewn bounty hunter of the Old West; he was a consummate gentleman who always gave half - or even all - of his reward money to charity. He was a man of few words, and he carried a Winchester sawed-off shotgun, which he wore on his belt and fondly called his "Mare?s leg."
DVD Features:Biographies:Documentaries:6-part documentary "Life in The Fast Lane"--an in-depth look at the legendary Steve McQueenFeaturette:3 featurettes on the TV seriesOther:3 colorized episodesPhoto gallery:
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The uniquely cool talent that propelled Steve McQueen to movie stardom is fully evident in the debut season of Wanted: Dead or Alive. Having just boosted his big-screen potential with a starring role in The Blob, 28-year-old McQueen was reluctant to accept the role of bounty hunter Josh Randall in this trend-setting series; he balked at the demanding schedule and thought himself too contemporary for a Western series, but the producers (including Four Star Productions cofounders Dick Powell and Ida Lupino) were convinced that McQueen was perfect for the role, and the still-struggling actor couldn't refuse a $750-per-week salary. Once committed, McQueen developed Randall into an antihero with conflicting qualities of danger and compassion: With his infamous "Mare's Leg" (an 1892 Winchester rifle with sawed-off stock and barrel) and calm demeanor, Randall maintained his tough-guy image as a mercenary outcast. Capable of attack without warning, he could also be generous to the needy, never seeking credit for his kindness. In these 36 consistently enjoyable episodes (out of a three-season total of 94), McQueen builds the prototype of his later success; he's a man of few words and volatile action, and his expressions (including a mischievous smile) convey quick-draw instinct and an amiable yet potentially deadly ability to fend off all enemies.
Randall was introduced in a March 1958 episode of the Western series Trackdown, and Wanted: Dead or Alive was an instant hit when it premiered on CBS on September 6, 1958. With surprising quirks of character (his "favorite tune" is Chopin's C-flat Nocturne), Randall was a new kind of hero, and Wanted further benefited from quality writing, direction, and familiar guest stars (including first-season appearances by Michael Landon, James Coburn, Skip Homeier, Everett Sloane, and many other stalwarts of late-'50s TV). The season 1 DVDs include a wealth of bonus features, including show history, a McQueen biography, three "series analysis" featurettes," photo galleries, and the A&E Biography segment "Steve McQueen: Life in the Fast Lane" split into six parts. Image and sound quality varies from excellent to average, and three episodes that were badly "colorized" in the 1980s are also included. They're hideous proof that colorization was a bad idea, but they indicate the extra effort that was made to provide features that Wanted fans will surely appreciate. --Jeff Shannon
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