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Armchair Thriller Set 1

Ian McKellen , John Shrapnel , Robert Tronson;Waris Hussein;Gareth Davies    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 CHILLING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS & MYSTERIES July 18 2009
By Harold Wolf - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"ARMCHAIR THRILLER SET 1" is a set of four separate stories, each as long as full-length theater movies or more, and full of bewildering suspense. One might call them "doctor drama" as they have to do with crime and mystery while dealing with suspects with less than a normal psychological temperament. But then, in a British mystery setting, what is normal.

The series is dated to 1978 simply because that is the date when it was originally aired. It is not intended to be a period mystery set, but it is rather fun in seeing avocado green dial telephones, 70's furnishings and wallpaper, and technology such as reel-to-reel tape recordings, and a 33rpm record music center.

Other than the occasional hair style, each suspense/mystery is as contemporary enjoyable as any 21st century production. Acorn Media deserves a pat on the back for making this set available to a new generation and continent.

Episode details:
...1...DYING DAY...100 minutes. A loner named Skipling ends up with a cassette tape left by another train commuter. He listens and hears a plan by someone to kill himself on Feb. 28. Skipling fails to get anyone, including the police, to believe him. Everyone feels he needs a psychologist, not a bodyguard. Is he a crank? Is he deranged? Is he in danger? February 28th answers all questions.
...2...THE LIMBO CONNECTION...152 minutes. Hard-drinking husband, Mark, wakes up to find out his wife, Clare, has had an accident, food poisoning, and treatment at a private clinic. She disappears. Police suspect Mark. Mark must find her and clear himself.
...3...RACHEL IN DANGER...93 minutes. Innocent 10-year-old Rachel, who talks like an educated 25-year-old, and who has not seen her dad for 8 years, is met at the rail station by an impostor. It's the man who killed Rachel's dad. Rachel's phony "father" & "stepmother", find Rachel an opportunity and a problem. Their main focus, as terrorists, is the Royal Garden Party at the palace.
...4...THE VICTIM...142 minutes. An industrialist's child, Sue, is abducted. Although Vincent could afford the ransom, he decides to lead his own private search to find the kidnappers, leaving the police out of the loop. Vincent's relentless drive, latest technology, and specialists are put into high hear once the ransom payment is refused.

Each feature deals with criminals with a psychological make-up that makes them dangerous, hard to predict, and/or elusive. Thus: unpredictable "ARMCHAIR THRILLERs" that have a mind bending twist, and a bit of a surprise faceted ending.

More than one scene actually made me flinch. My wife's reaction was an occasional grasp of my arm. This DVD set lives up to it's title: "ARMCHAIR THRILLER."

As good as MURDER MOST ENGLISH, another recommended DVD set. See my review. Thanks for reading this. TA!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Little Mysteries Aug. 10 2009
By The Saint - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
These are very well written mysteries. They are guaranteed to keep you watching. Each story is broken down in 24 minute parts and each time I told myself I would only watch 1 part, I found myself unable to wait for the next part. Very well acted and fast paced enough to keep you interested. Highly recommended.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthusiastically recommended to the attention of mystery buffs July 16 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
It's no secret that British television produces some of the finest mystery/suspense entertainment in the world. Case in point -- "Armchair Thriller", originally aired in the United States as part of the PBS 'Mystery!' television series. Showcasing four mystery stories ('Dying Day'; 'The Limbo Connection'; 'Rachel in Danger'; and 'The Victim'), "Armchair Thriller" offers truly flawless productions and has a total running time of 487 minutes. Replete with memorable characters, set designs, and BBC's usual high standards of performances, "Armchair Thriller" truly lives up to its title and is enthusiastically recommended to the attention of mystery buffs, and will make very welcome and popular addition to community library DVD collections.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Each Story Enjoys the Luxury of Time Aug. 8 2009
By Stephanie De Pue - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"Armchair Thriller," a classic British mystery series dating from 1978, comes to us in a four volume boxed set, consisting of four multi-part episodes, each episode's being approximately 24 minutes, for a total of approximately 487 minutes. The television series achieved high ratings in its British run, on Independent Television (ITV). Two of the stories have been seen here in 1982-3 on the "Mystery" series of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). The material is, of course, generations back in TV time: the sound and picture are not what we've grown accustomed to - and it could sure use subtitles.

But the mysteries enjoy the luxury of time that was then available, to the fullest. They are absolutely definitely positively filmed in the 1970's - believe me, you haven't seen so many all-brown interiors or outfits in decades. They are definitely not set in the fantasy 1970's of the current TV series Life on Mars: The Complete Series. These entertainments are well-constructed, well-made, well-performed: they bear the British TV hallmarks of lavish sets, good production values, a lot of scenic variety (though it does feel as though the bulk of the work is in the studio). They differ from the common run of British mysteries in that they are centered not on detectives, but on "ordinary" though rather hysterical people, in extraordinary circumstances. And, despite the bullet holes on the box, they are neither particularly violent nor bloodthirsty: most murders happen off camera. They feature strong performances from their leads: the great Ian Mckellen (X-Men Trilogy (X-Men/ X2 - X-Men United/ X-Men - The Last Stand); The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Theatrical Editions) [Blu-ray]); John Shrapnel (Gladiator [Blu-ray]); and James Bolan (New Tricks: Season One; The Beiderbecke Affair - Series 1 (3 Volume Boxed Set)).

The episodes are:

Dying Day. Antony Skipling, (Ian McKellen), a lonely man, fears someone plans his death on a coming date certain.
The Limbo Connection. The wife of Mark Omney (James Bolam) disappears without trace.
Rachel in Danger. A freckle-faced but difficult girl travels alone from her home in Scotland to meet the father she's never seen in London. She falls into the hands of terrorists.
The Victim. The daughter of industrialist Vincent Craig ( John Shrapnel) is abducted: he prefers not to leave her fate to the police.

To add to the fun, each episode boasts a clever little homage to some of the most famous mysteries around: try to find them.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well written thrillers Jan. 1 2011
By Michael Dobey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This series was very different than alot of shows on tv, it's very much a thinking mans mystery show and not a
whodoneit type of mystery that I love so well. It features strong performances from it's casts and very well written teleplays as they used to call them. I did enjoy seeing the seventies again too and hair styles and the like were alot different back then for sure but today we have a army of people with no style of any kind (baggy pants and even worse so now looks even worse in some regards; but not in color schemes for rooms etc for sure). Anyways this isn't a fast paced action show in any regard you get strong characterizations and basically four movies here. On tv they were shown as three or four half an hour episodes; but here one disc holds each story. The stories do feature murders and the like; but with twists like having a supersmart polite little girl outsmart evil terrorists played as monstrously as the real ones truly are. Or a man driven to paranoia to the extreme with terrible consequences. This is a slower paced show but it remains interesting throughout each story. They used the standard brit type of filming back then too; video tape for the interior scenes, and film for the exterior shots. But it's rather smooth here in transition. Luckily the prints have held up pretty well with the minimum of damage to them. Back in the seventies ITv and the BBC destroyed many shows so you are lucky these are around at all and looking this good. There are very few scratches or dirt specks. Some shows from this era look really bad and need restoration badly. These only have a few defects occasionally. This series is superior in writing but some people who only like fast moving type of crime shows may not have the patience for this series. Those type of shows are fine though it's lucky for me that I enjoy both types of shows! Because this is a great psychological thriller show. There is little in the way of extras but that is to be expected with these old tv shows.

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