Lord Peter Wimsey: Murder Must Advertise
"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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I strongly recommend this DVD to all those amored of a cracking good yarn. The plot is well written and the players deliver their parts exquisitely. Read morePublished on Dec 18 2003 by Peter Smith
I enjoy Murder Must Advertise and The Nine Tailors the most of all of Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2003 by John D. Cofield
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