Search - Sally Lockhart Mysteries - Ruby In the Smoke (Masterpiece Theatre) on DVD

Sally Lockhart Mysteries - Ruby In the Smoke (Masterpiece Theatre)
Sally Lockhart Mysteries - Ruby In the Smoke
Masterpiece Theatre
Actors: Billie Piper, Matt Smith, Sian Thomas, Kay Lyon, Robert Putt
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2007     1hr 26min

Fearless young Sally Lockhart (Billie Piper, Doctor Who) has a mind for numbers and for sleuthing, and in Phillip Pullman?s quartet of novels, set in Victorian London, she is put through the paces of melodrama and mystery....  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Billie Piper, Matt Smith, Sian Thomas, Kay Lyon, Robert Putt
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Period Piece, Crime & Criminals, Drama, British Television, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/24/2007
Original Release Date: 02/04/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 02/04/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 26min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 17
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Pretty good movie, I hope more are made in series
A. Burchfield | Conway, Missouri USA | 08/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I happened to catch the TV promotion for this before it aired and decided to watch partly because it had Billie Piper in it. I like British period detective dramas anyway and I wanted to see if she was good at something other than "Rose Tyler" from Dr. Who. I thought the story was pretty good, and the look of just about everything was wonderful- almost like being there.
Unlike the first review and at least the first comment I believe Ms. Piper did a good job. I found very little to complain about in this movie, it was a bit rushed towards the finish- 96 minutes would've been better than 86- and I think Sally's photographer friend's work tent was much too light (not dark enough inside it), that's about it.

If more are made in the series I'll watch and buy them."
'Ruby' is a Real Gem
Foggy Tewsday | 01/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Based on Philip Pullman's novel (which I have not read), this television adaptation is highly entertaining and engaging. `The Ruby in the Smoke' is set in England in 1874. Sally Lockhart (Billie Piper), a feisty young woman whose father has been killed in mysterious circumstances, now resides with her fusty Aunt Caroline. "What accomplishments do you have?" asks the spiteful elderly lady. Sally tells her that she has none save the ability to fire a pistol, speak Hindustani and to read an accounts ledger as easily as a newspaper. By the time she has removed herself from this stifling atmosphere, Sally is immersed in her first mystery. The catalyst for this upheaval is a cryptic note that she has received from Singapore concerning her father's untimely death. Much murderous mayhem and derring-do ensues when the eponymous ruby's existence becomes known.

Sally's business acumen comes to her rescue when she takes on the books at the lovelorn Frederick's (JJ Field) photography business in return for bed and board. He and capable cockney lad, Jim (Matt Smith), take on sidekick status as they are confronted by the vile and devious Mrs. Holland (Julie Walters) who will stop at nothing in order to secure the ruby for herself.

The acting is excellent, notably from Julie Walters. I don't think I've seen her playing a baddie before, but she appears to be thoroughly enjoying playing this sadistic character. Billie Piper gives an understated performance here, in keeping with her character's age and status. Visually, this is a real treat with some stunning photography that captures the colourful opulence of the haves as well as the dingy squalor of the have-nots. The story does demand some attention from the viewer: it's not something you can watch and switch your brain off. However, for those who enjoy quality costume drama coupled with mystery, this is a fine example.
Introducing the Victorian Nancy Drew.
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 09/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

""The Ruby in the Smoke" is adapted from the first book in "The Sally Lockhart Mysteries" series, written by Philip Pullman in the 1980s and 1990s to recall the style of Victorian penny dreadfuls. Indeed, as a I watched this film, I wondered if it had been written at the time it takes place, the 1870s. With its intrepid but pure young heroine, handsome men always quick to help her, opium dens, Dickensonian children, haggish villainess, and an improbable and labyrinthine plot in which key action is not always depicted, this story has the hallmarks of hacks and cheap Victorian melodrama. Maybe there is a little modernization: I doubt that Victorians would have jumped to hire a teenaged female accountant -because she is a woman, whereas now she would be dismissed for being young.

"The Sally Lockhart Mysteries" take themselves seriously enough that they don't fall headlong into camp. Even if nothing is quite believable, it is at least plausible in principle. I'm not sure who the audience is for a Victorian shilling-shocker these days -older children or adults- but these are good fun if the audience doesn't try to make anything more of them. Sally Lockhart is a woman in her late teens with little in the world to her name since her father died. Having been a shipping agent and minor adventurer, Captain Lockhart imparted to his daughter three skills: he taught her how to shoot a pistol, how to speak Hindustani, and how to keep accounts. Now the young lady is adrift in London with this odd combination of talents, with which she must make a life for herself.

"The Ruby in the Smoke" finds Sally (Billie Piper) mourning the loss of her father at sea. She receives a cryptic note about which she consults her father's business associate, who proves less than helpful, as he promptly dies. But an assistant at the Lockhart & Shelby shipping firm, Jim Taylor (Matt Smith), has overheard her conversation and pledges to help Sally solve the mystery. A Major Marchbanks (Miles Anderson) gives Sally a diary containing the story of how he acquired the brilliant Ruby of Agrapur years before and a riddle to where it is hidden now. But, before dying himself, he warns Sally that a ruthless woman named Mrs. Holland (Julie Waters) will be in pursuit. A chance meeting with dashing and kind photographer Frederick Garland (J.J. Feild) brings Sally another much-needed ally."
Another Spunky Pullman Heroine
B. Dew | USA | 11/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Interested in this because it was by Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass, etc. This is a video based on the 1st of a trilogy of books. Both the story and the production were very good. It has a very sophisticated plot, with many twists and turns."