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P.D. James - Original Sin
PD James - Original Sin
Actors: Roy Marsden, Ian Bannen, Cathryn Harrison, Amanda Root, Sylvia Syms
Director: Andrew Grieve
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2003     2hr 32min

At the request of one of his literary heroes, Commander Dalgliesh is called to the headquarters of Peverell Press to look in to a stream of hate mail received by its boardmembers. When a series of macabre deaths occur at t...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Roy Marsden, Ian Bannen, Cathryn Harrison, Amanda Root, Sylvia Syms
Director: Andrew Grieve
Creators: Chris O'Dell, Andrew Benson, Lars MacFarlane, Rebecca Eaton, Simon Lewis, Michael Chaplin, P.D. James
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Lance Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 06/10/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/09/1997
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 32min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Implausible ending
E. Holmes | Seattle, WA USA | 03/29/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of the slicker new adaptations. Many of the scenes are set on the Thames near the London Bridge and the views are beautiful. The acting is quite good. For those 2 reasons, I quite enjoyed the first 3/4, but during the last 1/4, as the mystery is resolved, the plot is simply implausible bordering on ridiculous."
Revisiting Original Sin
Dr. Philip L. Mckown | PLM, Germany | 05/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Normally, I should not think it necessary to revisit "Original Sin." However, given the less than adequate sound engineering and the soft tones and trailing voice of Roy Marsden, it takes two or three hearing before one can clearly identify all of the dialogue. English subtitles for the non-Brits in the audience would make for a wonderful enhancement to this production. P.D. James writes with such intricacy of plot that she need not make the listener strain to catch the dialogue. Overall I remain a fan, so I make the extra effort."
Much Better
Richard B. Schwartz | Columbia, Missouri USA | 07/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I've been hard on a number of the P.D. James adaptations, but Original Sin is much better than those I've recently reviewed. For one thing, it's shot on film and the production values are high. The core concept--a publishing firm in a Venetian palace on the Thames in Wapping, with bodies piling up and sickness at the core--is clever and cinematic. The supporting cast is strong, with fine performances by Amanda Root and Ian Bannen, and the laconic Dalgleish is in his element here. London in general and the river in particular functions as a character in its own right and the atmospherics are good. Plus, it's not as long as Hamlet and Lear combined, as some of the adaptations seem to be. Other reviewers are correct: it would be helpful to have subtitles. Still and all, it's worth seeing."
Who killed Gerard?
Judith | Philadelphia, PA | 05/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"When Gerard Etienne, the high powered director of a publishing house turns up dead there are lots of suspects who had reasons to want him dead. As one of the employees tells the police inspector, "He wasn't a ray of sunshine." So, whodunit? Was it Frances, the jilted spinster who still loved him, but hated the way he ran her family's business? Was it Miss Blackett, his PA that he treated like a punching bag? Could it be Claudis, his sister who wants the money she'll inherit only if he dies before his upcoming wedding? And, the list of plausible suspects goes on. There are lots of plot twists and turns that keep the viewer guessing up to the end.

The acting is superb, particularly on the part of James Wilby playing Gerard and Carolyn Pickles playing Miss Blackett.

So why didn't I give it five stars? First, it was hard to believe there had ever been a relationship between the gorgeous, sophisticated Gerard and the timid, frumpy Frances. Perhaps this was a matter of casting a sexy, charismatic actor opposite a rather ordinary looking actress, or perhaps Gerard was supposed to have had an ulterior motive for the relaionship. I suspect the latter, but it wasn't made clear by the script.

Second, I felt the murderer was treated with too much sympathy. It's impossbile to explain this without giving away his motive. I don't want to write a spoiler, so I'll leave it at just saying here is a person who killed three people during the course of the movie, and yet we are supposed to sympathize because of things that happened in the past.

Finally, there were certain plot lines that weren't adquately explained/explored. For instance, what was going on in the relationship between Gerard and his father? Why was Gerard so desperate to please his father, and why wasn't his father pleased? How did certain people whose paths had crossed decades before happen to be working at the same publishing house. I can't explain that without giving away the mystery, but I did wonder about it at the end. I'm going to read the book, and hope that all the answers are in there.

Still, it's an intriguing story, involved, but easy to follow. The acting is excellent, the sets are wonderful, the pace is good. You will enjoy it, I am sure.