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Lord Peter Wimsey: Murder Must Advertise

5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 282.97
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ian Carmichael, Mark Eden, Rachel Herbert, Paul Darrow, Fiona Walker
  • Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • Release Date: Jan. 7 2003
  • Run Time: 200 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00007E1WX
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #152,781 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

"There is something going on in the organization that is very undesirable and might lead to serious consequences," reads a note that the ill-fated Victor Dean wrote to his superior just before he took a fatal fall down the metal staircase at Pym's Publicity Ltd. These darned suspicious circumstances lead Pym to hire Lord Peter Wimsey to determine whether Dean's death was an accident or murder or eh, what? Ian Carmichael returns in his signature role as Dorothy L. Sayers's aristocratic sleuth in this characteristically impeccable 1973 BBC miniseries. The chaotic advertising agency is a ripe setting for intrigue (Sayers herself worked in a prominent London ad agency in the 1920s). Wimsey has a high time masquerading incognito as the firm's new copywriter, as well as the mysterious costumed Harlequin, a ruse he adopts to obtain information from the notorious socialite Dian de Momerie (Bridget Armstrong), whose lovers (Dean, among them) all come to bad ends, and whose den of iniquity is fronted by Major Milligan (Peter Bowles, of To the Manor Born), a drug dealer who corrupts bright young things.

Among the pleasures of a Wimsey mystery is his panache with the niceties of our English tongue. At one point he observes, "Truth in advertising is like lemon in three measures of meal. It produces a suitable quantity of gas with which to blow out a mass of crude misrepresentations into a format the public can swallow." Let's see Nick Charles or Columbo wrap his tongue around that one. --Donald Liebenson

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Format: DVD
This DVD, along with The Nine Tailors, is one of my two favorite of the Lord Peter Wimsey series starring Ian Carmichael that were first produced in the mid 1970s. In Murder Must Advertise Lord Peter works incognito, using his two middle names Death Bredon as an alias, at an advertising agency in London. His purpose is to solve a puzzling mystery surrounding the death of an employee at the agency, shortly before that employee was to reveal some shocking information about criminal activities at work. The story is classical Sayers, with plenty of red herrings to mislead and beguile you. It has an additional charm in that it gives a good view of what life must have been like in an advertising agency in Britain in the 1930s (Dorothy L. Sayers worked in such an agency before creating Lord Peter, so the give and take of office life rings true. You also get a glimpse of the sordid world of drug dealers and the unhappy frivolity of the Bright Young Things. I also enjoyed Peter's sparkling sister Lady Mary and his snobby sister in law the Duchess of Denver The mystery itself is well told and comes to a satisfying conclusion. The DVD also has a nice interview with Ian Carmichael and some Wimsey/Sayers trivia
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Format: VHS Tape
Murder Must Advertise is, perhaps, the most entertaining of the five Lord Peter Wimsey videos now available to the public. Lord Peter goes undercover as Death Breedon to take a job as a copywriter for Pym's Advertising Agency to help Mr. Pym discover if foul play caused the death of Victor Dean, an employee of the agency. As Death Breedon Lord Peter shows his comic side as he obviously enjoys having fun with the various employees at Pym's. But more often than not there is purpose behind the humor as Lord Peter carefully sifts through a variety of clues and determines that Victor Dean was, indeed, murdered. Catching the killer is not so easy and draws Lord Peter into the world of the drug dealing de Momerie crowd. His various encounters with Dian de Momerie are highlights of the video.
Ian Carmichael was born to play Lord Peter. Add to that statement the obvious care with which Carmichael prepares for each scene and you have always in each video of the series a carefully orchestrated and meticulously delivered performance.
I now own two DVD versions of this series and wish I had been able to purchase the entire series in that format. As a bonus in the two DVDs that I do own, Ian Carmichael is interviewed and talks about his career and his work portraying Lord Peter. I would have liked for the interview to be longer, but it appears as if the producers cut the interview into parts to put into the various titles of the series.
In any format, I can highly recommend Murder Must Advertise along with each of the remaining titles in this series which is now complete.
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Format: VHS Tape
It took only a quarter century to catch up with <Lord Peter Wimsey: Murder Must Advertise> and I am eternally grateful to Acorn Media for making it available, along with "Clouds of Witness" and "The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club."
Yes, "Five Red Herrings" and "The Nine Tailors" are due soon. Having read the book several times, I can say that the dramatization is not only faithful to the plot but also to the comic tone of the original. Sayers herself did work in an advertising agency and she perfectly catches the chaos, the frustrations, and the high spirits that pervade such an establishment.
Even more on video than in the novel is each character fully realized. When Wimsey (working under an alias) first enters the secretaries' room, the more flamboyant of the women (played by Fiona Walker) is found coffee cup high in the air and sheet of advertising copy low in hand, thereby establishing her character perfectly. She can also quote Latin tags and Shakespeare with colloquial ease. The stuffy head of the firm, Mr. Pym, is played by Peter Pratt, well known to Gilbert & Sullivan buffs as the comic lead at the D'Oyly Carte several generations ago. The ubiquitous Peter Bowles plays the villainous Major Milligan as a dope dealer to the "bright young things" who still knows when to apologize for rudeness. Mark Eden continues his role as Chief Inspector Parker, now Wimsey's brother-in-law since marrying into the family after the "Clouds of Witness" case. If I cannot warm up to Lady Mary (Rachel Herbert), it is perhaps because of her smugness that tries to be charming but (for me) just misses.
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