Given the fact that it had been almost a decade since Shout Factory released Peyton Place: Part Two, this release came as a surprise. Even better, Shout has already announced a June 26th release date for Part Four! They’ll be no waiting, allowing nostalgic TV fans to binge on, “the continuing story of Peyton Place.” Part Three contains five discs and consists of episodes 65-97 (There were a total of 514 episodes).
For those unaware of the series, I’ll provide some background on the two earlier releases. Based on the 1956 best seller by Grace Metalious (which was also made into a hit film in 1957), Peyton Place was a prime-time series which ran from 1964-69. Set in a small New England town, the series was unafraid to tackle difficult topics. Storylines include rape, spousal abuse, infidelity, alcoholism, and other issues of the day.
ABC initially aired the series two nights a week, but it was such a hit, it was increased to three airings a week in June 1965. At the start, Oscar winner Dorothy Malone (Written on the Wind) was the centerpiece of an ensemble cast, as the matriarch Constance MacKenzie. Soon though, it was then-newcomers Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby) and Ryan O’Neal (Love Story) as young lovers Allison MacKenzie and Rodney Harrington. Other cast members include Warner Anderson, Ed Nelson, Barbara Parkins (Valley of the Dolls), Christopher Connelly, and Tim O’Connor.
Part Three opens midway through the first season. Constance has just married her former flame Elliot Carson (O’Connor) who after being unjustly convicted of murdering his wife, has been cleared. Dr. Rossi (Nelson) shows more than a professional interest in a female doctor (Mariette Hartley) who’s come to town to get a divorce and start a new life. The on and off Allison Rodney romance is on again…Sort of.
Best enjoyed three or four episodes at a time, it’s great to see Peyton Place making its return to DVD. It really was unique for its time, addressing serious issues, and proving that small towns weren’t immune from them. Back in 2009, I did a phone interview with the late Ed Nelson who starred on Peyton Place for its entire five season run. He said, “To call the whole thing a soap opera cheapens it. We were shot on film, and outside all the time.” Soap opera or not, Peyton Place can be credited with hiring some of the best actors, directors, and writers working in television at the time. Even if popularity didn’t translate into critical success (the show had three Emmy nominations and one win over its history), strong character development and occasionally delicate performances from the actors.
On this set, look for appearances by Lee Grant (who won an Emmy for her work), Ruth Warrick and Leslie Neilsen.
Presented in 1.33:1 full frame, these black and white transfers look a bit rough in spots, with dirt noticeable on the frame. It’s nothing that ruins the experience of watching the show, just be aware these aren’t pristine prints.
The audio mix is Dolby Digital mono.
There are no extras included.
Movie title: Peyton Place: Part Three (1964-1965)
Director(s): Ted Post , Walter Doniger , Jeffrey Hayden , William J. Hole, Jr. Harvey Hart , John Newland
Actor(s): Ed Nelson , Barbara Parkins , Ryan O'Neal Christopher Connelly Dorothy Malone , Tim O'Connor