As seen on Masterpiece Theatre Semi-retired, with wine glass in one hand and cigarette in the other, former ?60s rock singer Maggie Sheridan (Helen Mirren, Prime Suspect, The Queen) seems resigned to life on a crumbling c... more »ountry estate, ruminating about her past. But everything changes when a botched robbery leaves her friend Sir Charles Stafford dead and one of his prized paintings missing. Determined to retrieve the masterpiece and find the killer, Maggie plunges into the murky underworld of the art trade. Posing as a wealthy Polish countess, she sets off on a treacherous path from Ireland to London to New York and back again. Meanwhile, Sir Charles?s troubled son, Sebastian, embarks on his own path of discovery. Where the two trails meet, life begins to imitate art to deadly effect. Oscar®-winner Helen Mirren delivers a tour-de-force performance with strong supporting turns by Iain Glen (Adam Bede), Lesley Manville (All or Nothing), Michael Maloney (Truly Madly Deeply), and Franco Nero (Camelot). DVD FEATURE INCLUDES biography of Helen Mirren. Nudity and sexual situations« less
Harold Wolf | Wells, IN United States | 02/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Painted Lady" is 100% unpredictable. This one is impossible to get to the root of (solve) the mystery till the very end, so don't cheat yourself and skip immediately to the last scene selection. The facts behind who-dun-it and the ever changing mystery of why, are what makes this movie. That is why the Chicago Tribune labeled it "Deliciously Complex." That it is. For 190 minutes of its 198 minute length, you'll constantly wonder who or why.
Helen Mirren, is wonderful, in and out of her clothing. Her character, ex-singer Maggie Sheridan, seems to make friends with many, but it is the murder of Sir Charles, whom Maggie considered "like a father", that sets her on the hunt for the killer. And a search for a lost painting. The mystery becomes a tapestry of clues related to drugs, homosexual activity, murder, art trade (legal and illegal), and robbery. Maggie uses anyone and everyone in her quest. All she seems to find are more questions. She uses anyone, legal or illegal, man or woman, crook or cop, enemies and family, in her search for answers. She uses her own created alias of an art-loving rich countess. Her sister helps her learn a bit of art history, but just enough to get herself into many fixes.
The movie does get a little graphic in places, so it's not for the squeamish or the kiddies. Nothing like an attackers brains being blown across her pretty face to wake up Maggie to more danger. In Maggie's effort to help Sir Charles' son with his financial woes, he gets strung up clad only in his briefs, then used for crossbow target practice. Well, get the picture? This British mystery, unrated, is NOT G. The cover includes a splat and run of blood in the upper right corner--there's a reason for that.
Extras include subtitles although even though most of the activity takes place in England, it is easy to understand, not strong accent. Helen Mirren also has a written bio to read and a huge list of credits to her career.
Painted Lady is more than just a robbery gone bad ending in a murder. It is about the mysterious discoveries of a half dozen or more characters involved with the mishap. Each new discovery leads to who? what? when? where? and why?
Well, I tried to leave you a warning for those needing it related to nudity, blood, and sexual situations. But, also I'd encourage mystery fans. Bet you won't solve it any faster than Maggie did."
She Enjoys Painting the Town Red
Stephanie DePue | Carolina Beach, NC USA | 02/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Painted Lady," is a British mystery/crime thriller/drama, made as a television mini-series by Granada for the United Kingdom's associated independent television stations (ITV). It was shown here on the Public Broadcasting System's "Masterpiece Theatre" in 1998 and 2000. It stars Oscar, Emmy-winning, and highly-admired actress Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect - Complete Collection (10 Disc Set) ; The Queen), in a part that might have been written for her, and probably was, by the talented Allen Cubitt(Prime Suspect 2). It was helmed by the equally-talented Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited; Becoming Jane). And Mirren herself, who undoubtedly had quite a lot to do with this production, takes an Associate Producer credit on it; as does Rebecca Eaton, of Boston Station WGBH, "Masterpiece Theatre's"long-time Executive Producer. It's a two-part series that runs approximately 198 minutes, and, wonderfully enough, it's got subtitles, too.
Mirren gives every sign of having a ball playing Maggie Sheridan, former 1960's British blues crooner, now semi-retired, living in the lushest green Irish countryside, with wine glass in one hand, cigarette in the other, and boy toy not far. She's got a "diamond" or whatever stud in her nose, and is at ease in her old hippie gear. Until, that is, a robbery goes very wrong,leaving her friend and benefactor Sir Charles Stafford (Ian Cuthbertson,Gorillas in the Mist) dead, one of his most valuable paintings stolen. Maggie wants to find her friend's masterpiece, and his killer, so she insinuates herself into the art trade. She poses as a wealthy Polish countess, and she's off to glamorous auctions, hotels, restaurants, and such, in London and New York. Gone is the hippie gear, in favor of smart suits and signature jewelry. Suspense mounts, particularly after Maggie hooks up again with her close friend, Sir Charles's deeply troubled son Sebastian (Iain Glen, Adam Bede). Other strong supporting turns are contributed by Lesley Manville (All Or Nothing) as her sister Susie Peel; Michael Maloney (Truly Madly Deeply) as her brother-in-law Oliver Peel; Franco Nero (Camelot)as Robert Tassi,an important Italian-American New York art dealer, and John Kavanagh (The Tudors - The Complete First Season), as Michael Longley, an Irish gangland chief. The mystery centers on a real painting by the real 17th century Italian Artemisia Gentileschi, the first woman to make a name for herself in the heavily male-dominated art field, and a true feminist hero.
It so happens that once I met friends for a drink in the bar of New York's Algonquin Hotel, a theater district landmark made legendary for the wit of its "Round Table," of carousing writers and performers, Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woollcott, the Marx Brothers and company; and there was Mirren, enjoying a drink or three, and chatting amiably with her neighbors. She appeared to have been enjoying painting the town red; even as she appears to be enjoying painting a couple of towns red in "Painted Lady." I enjoyed watching her, and expect you will, too.
Aging rock star becomes detective
R. Kyle | USA | 09/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Helen Mirren's arguably one of the best actresses today. Who else could make Britain's Queen come to life on the screen with dignity and grace?
In Masterpiece Theatre's "Painted Lady," she plays Maggie Sheridan, an aging rock star who's taken shelter in the guest house of a family friend and father figure. When he's murdered over a painting, she goes undercover to solve the crime.
This is an intricate mystery that takes some deliciously unpredictable turns before the story comes to its conclusion. Definitely not a film you will want to see uninterrupted, you do not want to miss a thread or you will be lost.
Warning -- this is not family fare. You have nudity, gore, and some torture depicted in this film. "Painted Lady" is definitely an art treasure on its own, well worth watching and owning.
Rebecca Kyle, September 2009"
Behind the painted smile
Junglies | Morrisville, NC United States | 05/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What starts off as being your average Masterpiece Thetre gig turns out to be something to savour rather than castoff.
Very reminiscent of the Long Good Friday which coincidentally stars Helen Mirren, this mini-series has judicious elements which combine to form a coherent whole which Mirren Makes all of her own.
The series itself is compelling viewing, intertwining various, shall we say, less than great aspects, and transforming it into an elegant mystery that could have served as a vehicle for the redoubtable Inspector Morse.
Some parts are frankly incredulous, such as the character of an ex-rock star metamorphosising into a titled Eurpoean art thief, but they enhance the mystery rather than detract from it.
Overall, it is a good use of 3 to 4 hours which leaves a feeling of satisfaction from it's consumption rather than a bitter aftertaste, and which leaves one with a lasting impression of why Helen Mirren can be a great actress."
The Painter | Omaha, AR United States | 01/27/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I admit I had to watch this production twice before I absorbed its intense flavors, but it is well worth the effort. Helen, as always, gives a wonderful performance as a washed up rock star who "turns into" a Russian contessa. Plot and subplot are somewhat deep, but delightful when recognized. One of my favorites by Helen."