An excellent introduction to the Inspector Morse series.
Russell Fanelli | Longmeadow, MA USA | 08/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An Amazon.com reviewer of July 10th has written a superb review of this episode of the extensive series of Morse mysteries and I won't go over ground that he or she has ably covered. For those viewers who are convinced by his/her review to begin watching the Morse mysteries with The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn, I would like to add that the mystery begins with the opening credits.We are introduced to the deaf Nicholas Quinn, an examiner at a Board based in Oxford, England. He is standing by himself reading the lips of the various people talking with one another at a wine party. We see the obvious concern on his face that something is desperately wrong, but, like him, we can't hear what many of the guests are saying. He does not need to hear; his facility reading lips is evident. He tells another reviewer that the examinations conducted by the Board are compromised and he walks out of the party in distress.In the next scene, still while the credits are playing, we watch a fire drill at the Examining Board. We don't see Nicholas Quinn leave the building even though we are told that everyone is accounted for. If you watch this scene a second time carefully, many of the clues to unlock the mystery are contained in this first few minutes of the program.My guess is that most people who view this mystery like solving complicated puzzles and will enjoy watching each clue that Morse uncovers right to the last scene.John Thaw, unfortunately now dead, was a superb English actor and he found an ideal character to play in the crusty Chief Inspector Morse. Kevin Whately is almost equally as good as his long suffering sidekick, Sergeant Lewis. Viewers who like this early installment will have a chance to watch Morse and Lewis in action many more times in this outstanding and long running series."
Junglies | Morrisville, NC United States | 07/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This has grown to be my favourite Inspector Morse of the entire Morse series! The more I watch this the more enchanted I become with it uncovering little pieces each time. Exquisite indeed!The murder is set in the arcane world of examiantion boards which were affiliated to some of England's major universities as arbiters of the academic development of students at ages 16 and 18. This obscure branch of academia is nonetheless an ivory tower existance disguising basic human failings of jealousy, greed etc.When a relatively new examiner is found dead at home the detectives seem to be looking beyond the workplace but in the course of the investigation the examination board becomes the centre of attention.Essential Morse has three main interests, his love of opera, his appreciation of real ale (microbrews in American parlance), and his fascination of crosswords. It is in the last of these that we find the core to this story. As always the story is composed like a crossword such that the clues must be solved before completing the case. Here, however, the crossword assumes a much greater role. One of the other examiners, and as such a suspect, turns out to be an intellectual hero of Morse, Daedalus, who sets a particu;arly challenging crossword which gives Morse great pleasure. The two men share similar interests and it becomes apparent that they have a similar view of the world. They become competitors in trying to resolve the case but only until Daedalus (played superbly by Michael Gough) is also murdered although he leaves some difficult clues behind.Another dimension to this story is the love interest of examiner Monica. Again there is a crossword perspective. Morse is intrigued by the physical and intellectual beauty of this woman, but as usual he cannot solve the clues to understanding her. He is torn between his feelings for her as a person and the growing suspicion that she is somehow involved in the murders. Ultimately this conflict is only resolved when it is too late.The plot twists and turns and has several blind allies but it is compulsive viweing and by the device of Daedelus we get to see a mirror image of Morse the man. Kevin Whately puts in another superb performance as the long suffering Lewis who we perceive as the apprentice of the master but also the master's concience.An excellent vintage and quite excellent indeed. The DVD version is a little disappointing in that it delivers a full-screen format with a cleaner sound. Moreover Barrington Phelong's incidental music does not benefit from the transfer. It would certainly benefit from a remastering. The other additional features are minimal but did make me replay the Jeremy Brett version of Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sign of Four" shortly afterwards to find John Thaw in fine form. I am sure that Inspector Morse fans would appreciate the show even more if it was available in the widescreen format but I am afraid that that is unlikely.Still, this remains an exceptional introduction to the Morse series and an absolute must have for one's fledling DVD collection."
Dianne Foster | USA | 09/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE SILENT WORLD OF NICOLAS QUINN is about a man who works for a syndicate in Oxford England. The business of the syndicate is testing students in underdeveloped countries for the purpose of awarding degrees--one presumes from Oxford University as the syndicate members are all affilitated with various colleges of the university. At a reception for a dignitary from a Middle Eastern country, a hearing impaired professor named Nicholas Quinn reads the lips of two speakers and uncovers an awful truth--cheating is abroad. It seems some or all of the syndicate members are involved in a scam to "sell" test results by providing the answers to the questions beforehand. Quinn shares his concerns with a fellow member of the syndicate and is overheard, or his lips are read, or his confidant betrays him --the end result is murder. (Sherry, crossword puzzles, acrosstics, and ticket stubs for Marlon Brando's "Last Tango.." become important clues.) The film is vintage Morse. The shots of Oxford are fabulous --some of the best. This episode was part of the set of stories used to introduced Morse to the American viewing public. John Thaw, who plays Inspector Morse, was born in 1942 and sadly died this past year. Colin Dextor ended the life of his character Inspector Morse about the same time--perhaps knowing the actor had cancer. The series always resonated with sadness and loss, but now the loss is real. Phelong Barrington's wonderful music beating out the no longer used Morse code adds to the angst. The series was able to snare the best BBC actors and this episode is no exception. Mystery fans will recogize Kevin Whately as Lewis. Barbara Flynn, who played a private investigator in another Mystery presentation, plays a female don. Frederick Torres, who has been suspected of murder more than once and who fans of the "Jewel in the Crown" will know, also plays a don. Clive Swift, known to those who watch "Keeping up Appearances" as Richard Bucket (Bouquet) plays the head of the syndicate. The DVD is a recording of the tape and is thus not top notch. This is the A&E version and A&E does not always do the best job. However, if you are a Morse fan, this is one of the best of the series, and unlike some of the later episodes was based on a book by Colin Dexter with the same title--so the plot is ingenious."
"Morse's Law is that there's always time for one more pint..
Mary Whipple | New England | 07/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The second episode in the TV series of Inspector Morse, which eventually reached thirty-three episodes, The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn, first broadcast in 1987, continues the fine acting and photography of the first episode, The Dead of Jericho. Here Nicholas Quinn, a deaf member of the Foreign Examinations Syndicate at Oxford, is found dead shortly after he lip-reads a conversation at an Oxford party. The Secretary of the Syndicate is seen conversing with a sheikh, possibly selling the secrets of the exams for foreign students. Quinn suspects that others are in on the dishonesty, but he is murdered before his discovery can be made public.
Inspector Morse (the always brilliant John Thaw) and Sgt. Lewis (the down-to-earth sidekick played by Kevin Whately) are called in to investigate this complex murder mystery surrounding the examinations for O-levels and A-levels. A satisfactory grade on a series of essays is needed for students to be admitted to Oxford, and some foreign governments in the Middle East depend on having their students accepted. If even one question goes astray ahead of time, the integrity of the whole system is undermined. Money talks, however, and some governments are willing to pay anyone in the syndicate who will accommodate them by providing questions in advance.
With a great many characters, some of whom resemble each other, a question of whether there is more than one murderer, some characters (including the son of the Secretary, who vigorously "conducts" recordings of Wagner) noted primarily for their oddness, and a highly esoteric motive for murder (foreign examinations for Oxford), this episode is not as tightly plotted or as exciting as some other episodes in the series.
Morse and Lewis, however, continue to develop as characters, and Morse's interest in crosswords and how they are designed plays a significant role in the solution to the mystery. Though Morse does play his beloved opera recordings at home, there is less music throughout this episode than in some other episodes. In a brilliant scene which reveals the characters of both Morse and Lewis at the end, Morse decides finally to go see "The Last Tango in Paris," which has been playing at the local cinema throughout the episode. The expressions on his and Lewis's faces when he is dropped off at the theatre require no words. With outstanding photography and a fine cast, this is an enjoyable episode in a landmark series which won international acclaim from 1987 to 2000. n Mary Whipple