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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > British TV > Telefilm > A Murder Of Quality (Mystery Telefilm)

A Murder Of Quality (British Telefilm)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Telefilm: C+



John Le Carré has been one of the most important writers of Spy & Espionage fiction since The Cold War.  In all this, he even created George Smiley and featured him in several books.  Denholm Elliott was cast as George Smiley in A Murder Of Quality (1991) for a British TV movie in which the former Spy takes on a personal case of “will he kill me” for a female friend who is married.  When he answers the call, she is dead.


When he starts to investigate, the husband naturally has the best alibi and he uncovers more than he either wanted to or hoped to.  Previous Le Carré adaptations include The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Smiley’s People (all reviewed elsewhere on this site), the problematic Sean Connery/Michelle Pfeiffer version of The Russia House and The Tailor Of Panama.  Those were all explicitly Spy tales, though not all with Smiley.  Having not read the book, this is just too far off the beaten path and comes across as more of a movie-of-the-week mystery than some suspenseful thriller.  Instead, it feels like something inspired by Murder, She Wrote, if a bit more literate.  It feels light years away from anything involving later Smiley stories or Alec Guinness.  Elliott is simply miscast in the role.  Joss Ackland, Glenda Jackson, Billie Whitelaw and a then-barely-known and young Christian Bale also star, but only have so much to do.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image was shot by Denis Crossan and is professional and competent at best, while the print supplied is in good shape.  Detail is limited only because the DVD can only capture so much detail and there are more dark shots than not.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is simple and has no surround information whatsoever.  The few text extras are included are Le Carré bibliography and slightly dated filmography of the actors.  For fans and completists only.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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