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P.D. James - Shroud for a Nightingale
PD James - Shroud for a Nightingale
Actors: Roy Marsden, Joss Ackland, Sheila Allen, Liz Fraser, Thelma Whiteley
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2002     4hr 11min

Murder strikes a teaching hospital in this satisfying puzzle from one of Britain's best mystery writers. Nightingale House, home to a top nursing program, is also the home of students, teachers, a nest of secrets, and rack...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Roy Marsden, Joss Ackland, Sheila Allen, Liz Fraser, Thelma Whiteley
Creators: Geoff Greenleaf, Trevor Vaisey
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Lance Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 10/29/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 4hr 11min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
See Also:

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Movie Reviews

AT LAST.......
Dianne Foster | USA | 12/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Finally, the wonderful BBC dramatizations of the P.D. James mysteries broadcast on PBS Mystery Theater are being issued in a DVD format. SHROUD FOR A NIGHTINGALE is one of the best. The setting for this mystery is a school in England located in an old 19th Century Victorian building situated on a large estate (thus the time-honored device of murder in the "country house" is preserved wherein all the suspects and victims are in residence). Florence Nightingale founded nursing in the U.K. during the Crimean War and for a long time afterward, those who became nurses were called "nightingales" after their famous role model. (Clara Barton was her equivalent in the U.S. during the Civil War.) In this mystery, the nightingales are student nurses and their instructors living in residence at a school of nursing. One morning, a student nurse is ingeniously done in before a dozen witnesses none of whom can identify the killer. Adam Dalgliesh, Scotland Yard's poetic police chief superintendent is soon on the scene. He finds plenty of suspects but before he can solve the first crime a beautiful red-headed instructor is found dead in her bed--of unnatural causes. She had been having an affair with someone as she was pregnant -- did her lover try to cover his tracks? Or maybe one of the other nurses was jealous of the beautiful young woman and killed her. When a third mysterious death takes place, hysteria reigns supreme. Dalgliesh stalks the killer and in the end nails his nemesis, but not before a very desperate person with a wicked, wicked past produces mayhem and a few murders."
P.D James can rock your boat
X. Wang | New York, NY USA | 08/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Based on the novel by award-winning author P.D James, this DVD, which is part of the Adam Dalgliesh series, can sure rock your boat. It might not have too much action, it might not have too many CSI shots(nothing against CSI), but it has fascinating dialogues, a lot of hospital intrigues, and quite a bit of suspense. If suspense novel is your thing, you will love this DVD. The humor is more subtle than the Poirot Series. Highly recommended."
Marsden Nails Dalgleish
K. Boullosa | 06/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"First, let me state upfront that I'm not a huge fan of PD James's mysteries, with or without Adam Dalgliesh, her fabled poetry-writing Scotland Yard detective. The PBS series done on her Dalgliesh mysteries, however, represents one of those infrequent instances in which the screen adaptations were a far more enjoyable experience than the original material. British actor Roy Marsden gets most of the credit for this, with his quietly vivid portrayal of the severely emotionally controlled Chief Superintendent Dalgliesh. Marsden overcomes the problem that Dalgliesh has always presented for me in James's novels: he's so enigmatic that he never quite comes to life. Marsden's strong physical presence, beautiful voice (just close your eyes and listen once in awhile), and subtle but clear characterization finally breathes real life into this unique detective. It was this series that gave Marsden a higher profile here in the States, although his edgy Neil Burnside in "The Sandbaggers" had already created a cult following. The strength of Marsden's work as Dalgliesh can best be appreciated by watching the one failed attempt PBS made to resurrect Dalgliesh with another actor ("The Murder Room") after Marsden exited the series. That is not to insult the later actor, it is just to point out how completely Marsden made Dalgliesh his own.

"Shroud for a Nigthingale" is one of the earlier PD James adaptations for PBS's "Mystery!", along with "Death of an Expert Witness", and despite these two showing video rather than film production values, both are particular favorites. "Shroud for a Nightingale" is set mostly in Nightingale House, a nurse's training school attached to a large private hospital. The story presents not only the cool, brainy Dalgliesh but a variety of other colorful characters, all fully realized by an excellent cast. (Penny Downie, who plays one of the student nurses here, turns up in two later James/Dalgliesh stories, once as Kate Mishkin, Dalgliesh's assistant after John Massingham exits in "A Taste for Death", and once as QC Venetia Aldridge in "A Certain Justice".)

Several narratives intertwine here: one involves a patient at the hospital with a suspicious international past who is under investigation by Dalgliesh; another involves the mysterious past of the self-possessed Matron, who heads up the hospital's nursing staff; others narratives involve relationships among students and senior nurses. The narratives collide early in the story, and, of course, a series of deaths result. Chief Inspector Dalgliesh and his assistant, D.I. John Massingham, set to work to unravel the connections among the narratives. Along the way we meet and get to know the characters of the student nurses, Matron (a strong performance by stage actress Sheila Allen), the senior nurses, and an egotistical surgeon (Joss Ackland), all nicely fleshed out. There is a subtle suggestion of lesbianism in two of the relationships, and the observant (especially if they listen carefully to voices) will also catch a younger John Thaw in a supporting role, long before he made his name in the U.S. as Inspector Morse.

"Shroud for a Nightingale" is one of the best of this series: tightly woven, clearly directed, with many interesting characters to watch - first among equals being Roy Marsden's piercing-eyed, deliciously aloof Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh."
E. Holmes | Seattle, WA USA | 03/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is my favorite of all the ITV PD James adaptations. I rented this one while on vacation, and ended up glued to it into the wee hours. I actually woke up my spouse in the middle of the night at one point when I inadvertantly started protesting at the screen during the final climax. The story like I said is gripping. The supporting cast is fantastic! Marsden is perfect. Definitely check this one out.

If you like this one, definitely read the book. It's great also and Massingham gets up to some hilarious antics -- which they cut this out of the film."