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Inspector Lynley - A Great Deliverance
Inspector Lynley - A Great Deliverance
Director: Richard Laxton
Genres: Indie & Art House, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2003     3hr 0min

Talk about a puzzling case. Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley of Scotland Yard (Nathaniel Parker, Far from the Maddding Crowd) is assigned to investigate the gruesome murder of a farmer in a seemingly peaceful country vill...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Director: Richard Laxton
Genres: Indie & Art House, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 07/29/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2002
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 3hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A Great Deliverance -- A great adaptation
lydia03 | Bethesda | 11/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When the powers that be at Scotland Yard assign Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers to a particularly high-profile murder investigation, they create the oddest couple since Neil Simon's Felix Unger and Oscar Madison. Lynley is the Oxford-educated, Eighth Earl of Asherton, with an upscale London town house and a country estate down in Cornwall. Havers, who has in the past alternatively referred to Lynley as "that fast-track Oxford golden-boy" or "that arrogant, aristocratic ponce", lives in a council-house with her aging and infirmed parents, and carries around a chip on her shoulder the size of Rock of Gibraltar.As the story begins, "The Yard" has been called in by the Yorkshire police on a particularly nasty case - a farmer has been found brutally murdered in his barn along with his sheep dog; his traumatized sixteen-year old daughter is found mute, unable to tell investigators what has occurred. To make matters worse, allegations of local police corruption have just surfaced. This is not going to be an easy case, especially as Lynley and Havers arrive on the scene in Yorkshire each encumbered with a steamer trunk full of emotional baggage. Lynley has just been the Best Man at the wedding of the love of his life, Deborah, to his best friend Simon St. James. Upon arriving in Yorkshire, he finds that one of the local police officers assigned to work with him is one Sergeant Nies, whom he'd previously had a run-in with and Nies is still nursing a grudge against him. As if these problems weren't daunting enough, Lynley has to deal with Havers. Havers, who has a well deserved reputation at the Yard of being difficult to work with, resents Lynley for being rich, well-educated, well-connected, handsome and charming - in short, everything she isn't. Her obvious resentment of Lynley becomes so tiresome, that at one point, he stops the car in the middle of the road one evening and says, "You are exhausting, you are permanently on the defensive." Later, he exclaims, "take away your prejudices and who's Barbara Havers?" Havers, however, does have some very real problems to deal with; while Lynley is trying to cope with his loss of Deborah, Havers is spending every spare moment on the phone trying to get help from Social Services for her parents - a father in the last stages of emphysema and a mother suffering from what appears to Alzheimer's.Yet in spite of their personal problems, Lynley and Havers quickly get down to the business of investigating the murder. That they do so - in the face of local police hostility and foot-dragging, witnesses who tell them only half-truths, plus a few red herrings thrown in along the way - is a testament to their skill and professionalism. This BBC production of "A Great Deliverance", based on the book by Elizabeth George, is well adapted and perfectly cast. Some Elizabeth George fans may object to casting a dark haired actor in the role of Lynley, whom George conceived of as a blonde, but that's a trivial issue. First, actors frequently bare little physical resemblance to the authors' original descriptions of the characters they play - case in point, P.D. James' Adam Dalgleish. James always described Dalgleish as "dark", something Roy Marsden isn't. Second, if you're casting about today for a tall, good looking, "upper class" British actor for a role - Nathaniel Parker is the natural choice. Parker casually combines class with masculinity. He also possesses one of the best speaking voices of any English-speaking actor today. His lines are always delivered clearly, but effortlessly, in that rich, mellow baritone of his. In a television career of more than a dozen years - "Piece of Cake", "Never Come Back", "Vanity Fair" and "Far From the Madding Crowd" - Parker has displayed great versatility. Having appeared in episodes of "Inspector Morse" and "Poirot" he's also no stranger to "Mystery" audiences. As Lynley, he projects authority, integrity, vulnerability; plus genuine warmth and tenderness when visiting the victim's youngest daughter - Roberta Tey - at a psychiatric hospital. Like Parker's Lynley, Sharon Small's Barbara Havers differs in appearance from the character created by George. George's creation was short, dumpy and dressed in Oxfam rejects - one doubts if too many actresses would have been beating down the doors to play the character as originally envisioned. Small retains Havers' abrasiveness, but through her attempts at dealing with the problems in her private life, she succeeds in making Barbara a more sympathetic character. One of the traditional strengths of British TV imports is the careful attention the British pay to the casting of each role. "A Great Deliverance" is no exception. In addition to the two strong leads, "A Great Deliverance" is graced with a great supporting cast. Anthony Calf and Amanda Ryan play newly weds Simon and Deborah St. James brilliantly - capturing the romance of a newly wed couple and the awkwardness created by their relationship with Lynley and the anguish they know he is going through. Emma Fielding is perfect as Helen Clyde - so perfect - that one wonders why the producers subsequently replaced her in later episodes. Brendan Coyle (Richard Tey) - with his dark good looks and earthy masculinity - is a perfect counterweight to Parker's Lynley. But the real acting honors go to Rebecca Gallacher as Roberta Tey - so eloquent in her silence.To sum up, while this BBC-WGBH production of Elizabeth George's "A Great Deliverance" does not follow the book to the letter, it does capture the essence of this excellent mystery. I highly recommend "A Great Deliverance" to lovers of good, old-fashioned British mysteries."
A wonderful adaptation.
lydia03 | 09/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This wasn't exactly the story I was expecting to see after reading the novel (some aspects of the solution to the mystery were changed), but it still stood beautifully on its own. This program introduces the odd couple detective team of the aristocratic Thomas Lynley and the working class Barbara Havers, investigating the beheading of a farmer in a small English town. The locales were stunning, and the casting was true to the spirit of the characters in the books, although the dark-haired actor playing Lynley was a little hard to get used to. Sharon Small as the angry, defensive, beleaguered, vulnerable, good-hearted Havers was fantastic. Havers has always been the key character to me, the one I keep reading the mysteries for, and it was such a pleasure to see an actress capture who she was so beautifully. Everything important about the character was there: everything from her family problems to her budget clothing, her inferiority complex, her temper, her capability, her gentleness, and examples of the humorous situations that she keeps finding herself in. The actress was absolutely captivating. This is a wonderful start to this new line of video mysteries. I can't wait to see Havers on the screen again. This fan of Elizabeth George mysteries, for one, is absolutely thrilled."
An excellent adaptation of the novel
lydia03 | 08/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Elizabeth George writes incredibly complex novels that can become disturbingly graphic. She also creates vivid characters, and I could not imagine who could play Inspector Lynley (or Barbara Havers, for that matter) with success. I thus looked forward to the television adaptation of A Great Deliverance with some trepidation, wondering whether the novel could successfully make the transition from print to small screen.I need not have worried. This is a terrific adaptation, both well cast and well written. The characterizations are uniformly successful, and they make the transition to the small screen with complete success. The plot is equally successful, both well written and superbly adapted to the exigencies of television watching. Everyone who likes mysteries will enjoy this DVD, whether one is familiar with the book or not."
A Good Deliverance
Matthew Gladney | Champaign-Urbana, IL USA | 08/29/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Father Hart stumbles down the steps in to the dark cellar, and finds Roberta Tey, large and trembling, sitting just a few feet away from the beheaded corpse of her father. So begins the television adaptation of Elizabeth George's first mystery novel, "A Great Deliverance".Nathaniel Parker stars as Inspector Thomas Lynley, and Sharon Small as his assistant, DS Barbara Havers. The two are an odd match. Lynley is tall, handsome, well-kept, and comes from a wealthy family. Havers is short, unkempt, and struggles to take care of her ailing parents in her small, functional home. There is friction between the investigating officers, and it is a prime focus of the story. I appreciated that, although the differences between the two were played-up, the script also knew when to put it on the back-burner, and let the plot progress.The detectives from New Scotland Yard are sent to investigate the murder of the aforementioned beheaded farmer. The setting is the rural, picturesque countryside of England, and it used to full advantage. What comes across more than anything else in the TV adaptation of "A Great Deliverance" is the evocation of place. We are often graced with images of thatched roof cottages in lush green valleys, and grey, cobble-stoned little villages with sloping streets.The idyllic setting is in stark contrast with the horrific murder which has taken place, and the often unsettling movements of the strange and secretive suspects that pepper the landscape. This all works to good effect, creating a somewhat edgy atmosphere which permeates throughout the program.My quibbles with the story fall onto its more modern elements. Although it has certain 'golden age mystery' aspects, the story does feature very clear references to child abuse, baby killings, marital problems, and strong grudges held by members of the police ranks. I found all of those things a little jarring, in comparison with the beautiful scenery, and the quietness of the lead character. Nathaniel Parker plays Inspector Lynley with a solemn moroseness, a deep introspective quality which reminded me quite a bit of Roy Marsden's portrayal of Commander Adam Dalgliesh (in the popular P.D. James mystery adaptations). There was also one major red herring which, when revealed, was promptly dropped from the storyline. That was a little jarring, as well.The adaptation of "A Great Deliverance" succeeds with the solid portrayals of its lead characters, and with the utilization of the fabulous countryside setting that we find the murder mystery nestled in. The plot moves along at just the right pace. Some of the more modern elements clash with the established mood of the piece, but perhaps they are supposed to. It definitely serves as a good introduction into the television world of Inspector Lynley. I look forward to further installments."