Search - Armchair Thriller: Set 1 on DVD

Armchair Thriller: Set 1
Armchair Thriller Set 1
Actors: Ian McKellen, John Shrapnel
Director: Robert Tronson;Waris Hussein;Gareth Davies
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2009     8hr 7min

As seen on PBS?s Mystery! Four stories from the haunting British series How do ordinary people react when confronted by extraordinary circumstances--when their mundane worlds are turned upside down by unforeseen events? ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Ian McKellen, John Shrapnel
Director: Robert Tronson;Waris Hussein;Gareth Davies
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Acorn Media
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 07/28/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/1978
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1978
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 8hr 7min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Harold Wolf | Wells, IN United States | 07/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""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!"
Enthusiastically recommended to the attention of mystery buf
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 07/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."
Great Little Mysteries
The Saint | ST. LOUIS, MO USA | 08/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."
Each Story Enjoys the Luxury of Time
Stephanie DePue | Carolina Beach, NC USA | 08/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""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.