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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > Drama > British Telefilm > TV > The Moonstone (Telefilm)

The Moonstone (British Telefilm)


Picture: C     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Telefilm: B-



The second of two books by Wilkie Collins that are considered historically the first Mystery-genre novels, The Moonstone is a 1996 British TV movie adaptation of the book of the same name that shows the mix of adventure, drama and crime the stealing of a valuable gem from a sacred temple in India sets off.  The Hindu diamond is stolen in 1799, then handed down when the respected solider who thieved it dies via inheritance to Rachel (Patricia Hodge) for her birthday.  Of course, it is stolen from her.


Without reviewing the book, it can be said that the telefilm is good about it period and sticks to drama as much as mystery, so much so that this one landed up on Masterpiece Theater and not Mystery!  Both are WGBH/PBS productions (here from WGBH Boston Video) and could have picked it up, but there are other layers to the story.  You can understand how this helped to build the genre, though it would take the likes of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to solidify it all.  Still, this is interesting and a great way to look at the basics of the genre.  It is not as predictable as you would expect and this version brings it to life.  You’d never suspect the book was written in 1868!


The 1.33 X 1 image is softer than usual, in part from the transfer, which seems to have micro-digititis.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the other hand, has enough Pro Logic surrounds to make it more engaging, even when it gets muddy at points.  There are no extras except the usual weblink.  It could be said that the book also launched the British adventure story (spoofed so well in Ripping Yarns, reviewed elsewhere on this site).  It is worth a look.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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