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Mystery: Malice Aforethought
Mystery Malice Aforethought
Actor: Ronnie Masterson; Phyllis Ryan; Fiona O'Shaughnessy; Barbara Flynn; Ben Miller (II); Megan Dodds; Peter Vaughan; Lucy Brown; Kate O'Toole; Gemma Reeves; Joseph Beattie; Orla O'Rourke; Richard Armitage; Niall Buggy; Ger Ryan; Hannah McCabe; Tom Kelly (VII)
Director: David Blair (II)
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2005     2hr 30min

Falling in love with this doctor could be bad for your health... Between an endless round of garden parties and village gossip, the only way long-suffering Dr. Edmund Bickleigh can bear the torment of his formidable wife ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Ronnie Masterson; Phyllis Ryan; Fiona O'Shaughnessy; Barbara Flynn; Ben Miller (II); Megan Dodds; Peter Vaughan; Lucy Brown; Kate O'Toole; Gemma Reeves; Joseph Beattie; Orla O'Rourke; Richard Armitage; Niall Buggy; Ger Ryan; Hannah McCabe; Tom Kelly (VII)
Director: David Blair (II)
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Crime & Criminals, Drama, Miniseries, British Television, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/26/2005
Original Release Date: 04/03/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 04/03/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 11
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

GEORGE RANNIE | DENVER, COLORADO United States | 09/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As I have previously indicated on this Board, I am a huge fan of British Murder/Mysteries. "Malice Aforethought" is certainly a "jolly good Murder/Mystery!" It has everything in its list of "ingredients" that I feel a good Murder/Mystery should include in order to make for a good and savory (what I call) "Murder/Mystery broth". "Malice Aforethought" certainly has the right "ingredients" to make it a most enjoyable 180 minutes of viewing. The "ingredients" comprising the ("Malice Aforethough) "Murder/Mystery broth" are as follows:

(1) Good suspense with the murderer appearing to have gotten away with murder, but as they always say: "murder will out". In this case, it's Typhoid Fever will out.

(2) Interesting characters consisting of an outwardly meek, masochistic letch of a philandering, obsessed with sanitation husband/doctor; a shrew of a wife that by her own personality and ways would certainly drive even a saint to want to murder her; a blond artistic vamp (with certain demands) for the "put upon" husband to lust after making the murder of the wife even more desirable: a "must get rid of (long standing) girlfriend" that becomes dispensable in order to get to what and/or to whom is really wanted. This girlfriend is very willing to (lie) in order to prove that she really loves her man; plus some innocent looking but irritating, see-all, know-all, town gossips that keep the "low cast" doctor and his philandering in their sights with the kindest word for the doctor/husband being "he's a beastly man". In addition there is a see all sickly gardener that too must be disposed of before he tells all of what he has seen.

(3) Great script that is written very well with nary a dull moment keeping this viewer on the edge of his seat.

(4) Wonderful recreation and depiction of a fascinating decade and/or era (the 1920s).

(5) Great acting with Ben Miller playing the lower class, seemingly "hen- pecked", letch, "scum-burger" of a husband marvelously; Barbara Flynn (in a role switch for her--she usually plays the Victorian fragile type of woman) is wonderful as his domineering, upper class very irritating, brow-beating, pretentious, full of herself harpy of a wife; and Megan Dodds is great as the conniving, money seeking would be artistic vamp.

(6) An intriguing setting for the entire "goings on"--a rural, picturesque and peaceful (at least on the surface) small English village with cobblestone walkways and small sheep herds.

The entire above ingredients meld together marvelously to make a wonderfully delicious concoction. Added, to the cauldron and to the above listed "ingredients", is just a pinch of so-called British "black humor" making for a most enjoyable and savory "Murder/Mystery broth".

This mystery is not a "detective driven" Murder/Mystery. Although there is a detective in the story his investigation does not bring the culprit to justice; potted meat and flies see that justice prevails.

To sample a "jolly good" example of some very savory steaming "Murder/Mystery broth", purchase this DVD.
A mystery lover's delight
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 06/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Malice Aforethought is one of those British mysteries that are set in a small rural village of yesteryear and populated with a cast of memorable characters. Dr. Edmund Bickleigh is a henpecked husband who denigrates his aspirations as an amateur artist. It's also why he is a chronic womanizer. Then into the village moves Madeleine Cranmere and he falls hard. The problem is that he must remove the obstacle of his domineering wife, end his affair with a local girl, and continue the veneer of respectability demanded of a man in his position. The costumes are period authentic, the sets are scrupulous detailed, the dialogue engaging, the acting first rate, and the plot twists are truly imaginative. Also available in a video cassette format and lead to an exciting and unpredicted conclusion, the DVD edition has a total running time of 2.5 hours and also includes access to the "Mystery! website, offers scene selection, and features closed captioning for the hearing impaired. Malice Aforethought is a mystery lover's delight and certain to be a popular addition to any community library video collection.
J. MACKENZIE | Taconic, CT USA | 02/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sink yourself into a comfortable chair and revel in this near perfect depiction of the perfect crime. Wonderful music. Terrific direction and camerawork - and unnervingly solid acting all around. Just be careful that you pour your own drinks, and prepare your own snacks..."
A Darkly Comic, Entirely Unmysterious, Murder Mystery.
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 04/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Malice Aforethought" is a wry mystery based on the 1931 novel by Francis Iles (Anthony Berkeley Cox). This novel is widely considered the mystery writer's best work, but it is unlike conventional mysteries in that we know who commits the murder and why. We are privy to the murderer's plan, and we watch the darkly comic consequences play out.

In the small English town of Wyvern's Cross, lover's trysts and hypochondriacs occupy most of Doctor Edmund Bickleigh's (Ben Miller) time. Dr. Bickleigh's constantly critical, domineering wife Julia (Barbara Flynn) owns the couple's home and never allows her husband to forget that for a moment. He's carrying on an affair with an adoring young lady named Ivy (Lucy Brown). But when the airheaded, artistic Miss Madeleine Cranmere (Megan Dodds) takes up residence in town, Dr. Bickleigh becomes infatuated with her. The socially conscious Julia has forbidden Bickleigh from ever seeing Madeleine, though. And Madeleine is not forthcoming with her affections without a promise of marriage. So Dr. Bickleigh decides that murder is the solution. But that's just the beginning of his troubles.

"Malice Aforethought" is black comedy revolving around the sociopathic, self-absorbed, but laughably foolish Dr. Bickleigh. Those traits actually don't distinguish him from most of the townsfolk. The film's characters could be as tiresome to the audience as they are to one another if we didn't see everyone through Dr. Bickleigh's eyes. Ben Miller gives a stand-out performance as this man who is oblivious to ethics and entirely single-minded. But instead of belonging to someone shrewd and ambitious, these traits belong to a dull-witted, passive-aggressive country doctor -who earnestly applies them to his problems. Thus "Malice Aforethought"'s mocking, ironic humor."