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Deadite 17th July 2016 09:57 AM

Deadite Does Thriller
 
So, I was excited to get this complete Thriller box set that i'd heard a lot about but never to my recollection seen. I've decided that i'm going to post potted reviews of every episode as i watch them. I'll try to steer clear of spoilers as it's a 'twist in the tail' kind of series, but will opine on the contents of the episode as much as possible within that self-imposed restriction.

But where to start? Well, I decided to do a little research online and managed to find an episode guide. Trawling through that I found an episode that includes the legendary Bob Holness! So, that's where i'm starting.

I doubt whether i'll manage more than 2 or 3 episode reviews a week (maybe less than that on occasion) so the thread might well be a slow burner.

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Episode 2.04 One Deadly Owner

Main Cast: Donna Mills (Helen Cook), Jeremy Brett (Peter Tower), Robert Morris (Freddie Green), Laurence Payne (John Lacey), Eric Lander (Hans), Michael Beint (Hawkins), Bob Holness (Announcer).

I decided to start my viewing of the Thriller series with this episode because I noticed Bob Holness in the credits! Being an old fan of Blockbuster I had to start with this episode, even if it is only voice-work by him. Anyhoo, to the episode.

Donna Mills plays the fashion model Helen Cook who as the episode starts buys, on impulse, a white Rolls Royce that seems to have bewitched her for some time. As time progresses she becomes convinced that the car is haunted (much to the derision of her photographer friend, a very young looking Jeremy Brett, pre Sherlock Holmes). What follows is some amateur detective work as Helen tries to make sense of the predicament she finds herself in, with aid from several other characters (or is it aid?) before a denouement that, in truth, I called within the first 10 minutes of the programme.

This episode is faintly ludicrous to begin with, but if you manage to suspend your disbelief you can enjoy the ride as I did (see what I did there?). This is no more than an average thriller in my opinion, so I mark it as neither remarkable, nor risible. The acting is perfectly adequate throughout - Eric Lander as Hans is particularly good as a rather stereo-typically brash German agent and seeing Jeremy Brett's costume changes throughout the show is also amusing. Fashion victim! My only disappointment being that Bob Holness only 'appears' as a radio announcer! Then again, radio is where he first rose to prominence – he was a radio James Bond dontcha know!

2 ½ out of 5.

gag 17th July 2016 10:57 AM

I thought this was some kind of porn or something, you know like debbie does dallas :lol:

Demdike@Cult Labs 17th July 2016 01:32 PM

Great idea for a thread, Deadite.

Thriller is an excellent series. I look forward to your writing on it.

As it's a goof few years since i watched the set i might even follow in watching it again using your running order.

Deadite 21st July 2016 09:53 PM

Episode 3.05 Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

Main Cast: Lynda Day George (Cathy Moore), Peter Jeffrey (Dexter), John Carson (Arthur Lewis), Colette O'Neil (Alice Lewis), Bernard Holley (Paul Eastman), Richard Corbet (Reeves), Kathleen Mallory (Jane Howard), John Line (Davis), Molly Weir (Miss Pendy), Kevin Brennan (Parminter).

Ah, the time-worn story of a distressed lady looking for a travelling companion that no-one else seems to think exists! How I missed thee! Of course, my jaded opinion is based on an old-chestnut that might not have been such an old-chestnut in the early seventies when this was first aired. Anyway, to say the plot of this thriller was familiar is to take away from an excellent episode. It may have been familiar but it kept me riveted throughout and I guessed only half the sting in this particular tale.

A great part of the enjoyment came from a rather shabby cast of characters – the alcoholic inn-keep who may have a skeleton in the closet (well played by John Carson) and the policeman who is certainly sexist and possibly violent.

Although the climax was not entirely unexpected and told in part in wibbly-wobbly 'this happened in the past', I thoroughly enjoyed this one and have to single out the performance of Peter Jeffrey as the rather concerning copper Dexter as an episode highlight – Not the kind of policeman i'd want anywhere near me in a crime, but fine thriller viewing! :behindsofa:

Score 4 out of 5

Deadite 28th July 2016 09:44 PM

Episode 5.02 The Double Kill

Main Cast: Gary Collins (Hugh Briant), James Villiers (Paul), Peter Bowles (Superintendent Lucas), Stuart Wilson (Max Burns), Penelope Horner (Clorissa Briant), John Flanagan (Michael Player), Hilda Fenemore (Mrs Harper), Griffith Davies (Burglar), Michael Stainton (Brent).

A man is a bit too free and easy down the pub talking about the pieces of art his wife has bought, goes home and finds a burglar ransacking the place. Gary Collins as Hugh Briant (the aforementioned blabbermouth) is a little too confident when he tackles him, however. In fact, he has a deal he wants to make. Can he and the burglar trust each other? Of course not! Nasty deeds are done, and Peter Bowles enters the piece as Superintendent Lucas, who has a secret of his own that his Sergeant isn't impressed by.

I dunno whether i'm clever, lucky, jaded, or all three, but I guessed what was happening here right from Lucas's entrance – the 'twist' was a little too telegraphed IMO, although Briant's actions before the 'sting' are suitibly ironic and thus wrap up the episode nicely.

Nothing outstanding in the acting department for me – just a competent Thriller.

2 ½ out of 5.

Deadite 3rd August 2016 09:22 PM

Episode 1.08 File it Under Fear

Main Cast: Maureen Lipman (Liz Morris), Richard O'Callaghan (George Bailey), James Grout (Superintendent Cramer), John LeMesurier (Stubbs), Colin Fisher (Sergeant Truscott), Rose Hill (Mother), Richard Pendrey (Gerry Masters), John Nightingale (Steve Kerroway), Jan Francis (Gillie Randall), Jenny Quayle (Betty), Georgina Melville (Jackie), Sue Bond (Karen).

I picked this one next solely on the strength of it having Maureen (You've got an ology) Lipman and John (Would you mind awfully falling-in?) LeMesurier in the cast. Set largely in a library in a seemingly small community (although it's never really clarified where it is) that is rocked by a series of murders and as is usual in this series, there are no shortage of suspects. There's the creepy library assistant, the dodgy lodger and a silent American airman who shows up in suspicious places all the time (and thus was immediately eliminated from my own enquiries!). Maureen Lipman is suitibly prim as the head librarian and John LeMesurier is his usual affable self as the regular.

This one seemed to plod a bit compared to the previous episodes I watched, but was enlivened at the end by several neat flips and for once a Police force that didn't seem negligent, dodgy, or uncaring. I think this one finished strongly but flagged in the middle. The end for me made it an above average Thriller.

3 out of 5.

J Harker 3rd August 2016 10:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deadite (Post 500100)
Episode 1.08 File it Under Fear

Main Cast: Maureen Lipman (Liz Morris), Richard O'Callaghan (George Bailey), James Grout (Superintendent Cramer), John LeMesurier (Stubbs), Colin Fisher (Sergeant Truscott), Rose Hill (Mother), Richard Pendrey (Gerry Masters), John Nightingale (Steve Kerroway), Jan Francis (Gillie Randall), Jenny Quayle (Betty), Georgina Melville (Jackie), Sue Bond (Karen).

I picked this one next solely on the strength of it having Maureen (You've got an ology) Lipman and John (Would you mind awfully falling-in?) LeMesurier in the cast. Set largely in a library in a seemingly small community (although it's never really clarified where it is) that is rocked by a series of murders and as is usual in this series, there are no shortage of suspects. There's the creepy library assistant, the dodgy lodger and a silent American airman who shows up in suspicious places all the time (and thus was immediately eliminated from my own enquiries!). Maureen Lipman is suitibly prim as the head librarian and John LeMesurier is his usual affable self as the regular.

This one seemed to plod a bit compared to the previous episodes I watched, but was enlivened at the end by several neat flips and for once a Police force that didn't seem negligent, dodgy, or uncaring. I think this one finished strongly but flagged in the middle. The end for me made it an above average Thriller.

3 out of 5.

Funny enough i watched this one last night, have to say i did find it to be probably the weakest one i've seen so far.

Deadite 3rd August 2016 11:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J Harker (Post 500117)
Funny enough i watched this one last night, have to say i did find it to be probably the weakest one i've seen so far.

It certainly plodded, but i liked the end so marked it up a bit!

J Harker 3rd August 2016 11:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deadite (Post 500121)
It certainly plodded, but i liked the end so marked it up a bit!

It wasn't awful. Even for the worst episode I've seen its still better than a lot of modern toss.

Deadite 8th August 2016 09:32 PM

Episode 3.03 Death to Sister Mary

Main Cast: Robert Powell (Rook), Jennie Linden (Sister Mary/Penny Stacey), George Maharis (Mark Fields), Antony Newlands (Tony Barton), Joan Haythorne (Mother Superior), Derek Foulds (Dicky), Leigh Lawson (Larry Turner), Gerry Cowen (TV Director), Windsor Davies (Detective Moore).

Jennie Linden plays the part of Penny Stacey who plays the part of Sister Mary in a soap opera called 'Saints & Sinners' on telly. The cast and hangers on of the show start having 'accidents', there's also a mugging, a hit and run – well you get the picture, even if the people involved don't.

I can't really reveal more without going into spoiler territory, so i'll shut up about the story now and say that this Thriller seemed designed to get under my skin. I found it squirm inducing at times – which is testament to the direction and performances involved. My only reservation is that the victims at the centre of the events seem a little slow on the uptake about what's happening. This episode also has Windsor Davies in a straight role as a police detective! He only appears quite late in the piece, however, and seems less able than the non-police characters! Antony Newlands hams it up a tad too much as well.

A bit more of my likes are presented below in spoiler space – don't read if you don't want to spoil it.

SPOILER:
Robert Powell gives a really creepy performance as Rook, who for some reason, no-one takes very seriously as a nut-job, he's just a 'harmless' nut. As a 'number 1 fan' he was bound to be unhinged and unlike other Thrillers i've seen so far, this one ran straight and true and there was no real twist – the guy's a nut and tries to kill Sister Mary after wooing her with plans of a fan club. I really liked the fact that at the end, he is shown to be physically ineffectual – he falls over running up stairs and when he throws a punch he misses, swings himself around and falls onto some glass!


Really good episode IMO.

4 out of 5

Deadite 14th August 2016 09:42 PM

Episode 4.04 Killer with Two Faces

Main Cast: Donna Mills (Patty Heron), Ian Hendry (Spelling), Roddy McMillan (Inspector Fillory), David Lodge (Bradley), Robin Parkinson (Mr Holland)

Another episode I won't go into too much detail with as to do so would be to spoil it. However, its another old chesnut really, albeit done rather well. There is some tension along the way due to the circumstances. Donna Mills is in this one as well as the first episode I watched. Have to say that she looks more fetching here than in One Deadly Owner and her performance is better too.

It was rather nice to go from seeing Ian Hendry in Theater of Blood to seeing him in the lead role here. His performance is pretty good, although I must admit that i'm not his greatest fan. This episode also suffers from that perculiarly 70s disease of wanting us to believe that 50 or 60 something men are irrestible to women half their age. Sorry, i'm not buying Ian Hendry as a lothario!

Nice ending which I think could have been more interesting if they had turned expectation upside down (you'll know what I mean if and when you see it).

Solid, if slightly cliched Thriller.

3 out of 5.

Deadite 22nd August 2016 08:57 PM

Episode 6.04 Dial a Deadly Number

Main Cast: Gary Collins (Dave Adams), Gemma Jones (Helen Curry), Beth Morris (Sally Kirby), Linda Liles (Ann Curry), Cavan Kendall (Tim Foster), Peter Schofield (O'Hara), Richard Warner (Baxter), Charles Lamb (Caretaker), Dennis Blanch (Paul Kirby)

Gary Collins plays another low-life scumbag in this episode. This time posing as a psychiatrist to a disturbed woman in order to bilk money out of her once his landlord throws him out for sponging too much off of him – he's a real charmer. Anyhoo, it soon becomes apparent that he's bitten off more than he can chew as 2 missing people are linked to his 'client'. Unperturbed, he moves into the rambling pile that Helen Curry (his patient, played a tad too maniacally for my taste by Gemma Jones) shares with her sister.

Dave does a decent job of shamming some pysch sessions and continues his bilking, until the sister of a missing man, a private detective, and Dave's old landlord Tim Foster (the skeletally thin Cavan Kendall – eat a sandwich man!) stick their noses in. A really good episode this one and one that should really have the subtitle of 'Serves You Right!'. Not a huge amount of suspense here, just a nice psychological thriller.

4 out of 5.

nosferatu42 22nd August 2016 09:16 PM

That reminds me, i must get some bilk.;)

Deadite 5th November 2016 10:18 PM

Been a while since i delved into the set, but i was in the right mood for some thrilling and managed to pick out a good one to get me rolling again.

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Episode 1.04 An Echo of Theresa

Main Cast: Paul Burke (Brad Hunter), Polly Bergen (Suzy Hunter), Dinsdale Landen (Mathew Earp), Basil Henson (Charles Merrow), Vernon Dontcheff (Bannerheim), Meriel Brooke (Theresa), William Job (Trasker)

So, Brad Hunter (played well by Paul Burke) is losing his mind in London on a 'second honeymoon' with his wife Suzy. In the first few minutes he has several meltdowns, seemingly after looking at a newspaper. He wrongly calls his wife Teresa, and has a fight with a prospective business client. Cue strange characters with cats, the private detective Earp, and hearts cut out of the centres of newspapers.

The acting is for the most part excellent (with an exception or two), the story is intriging, with some fine characters, Charles Merrow and Mathew Earp prime among them. In fact, Dinsdale Landen has made a fine character from the material given to him and I wouldn't have minded seeing a series with him as the lead character. The ending is a slight let-down, but as Mr. Earp gets the best lines, I won't hold it against them. Very entertaining and my new favourite episode.

5 out of 5.

J Harker 6th November 2016 08:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deadite (Post 510433)
Been a while since i delved into the set, but i was in the right mood for some thrilling and managed to pick out a good one to get me rolling again.

------------------------------------------------------

Episode 1.04 An Echo of Theresa

Main Cast: Paul Burke (Brad Hunter), Polly Bergen (Suzy Hunter), Dinsdale Landen (Mathew Earp), Basil Henson (Charles Merrow), Vernon Dontcheff (Bannerheim), Meriel Brooke (Theresa), William Job (Trasker)

So, Brad Hunter (played well by Paul Burke) is losing his mind in London on a 'second honeymoon' with his wife Suzy. In the first few minutes he has several meltdowns, seemingly after looking at a newspaper. He wrongly calls his wife Teresa, and has a fight with a prospective business client. Cue strange characters with cats, the private detective Earp, and hearts cut out of the centres of newspapers.

The acting is for the most part excellent (with an exception or two), the story is intriging, with some fine characters, Charles Merrow and Mathew Earp prime among them. In fact, Dinsdale Landen has made a fine character from the material given to him and I wouldn't have minded seeing a series with him as the lead character. The ending is a slight let-down, but as Mr. Earp gets the best lines, I won't hold it against them. Very entertaining and my new favourite episode.

5 out of 5.

I too enjoyed this one D. One of the best so far, A Place to Die is still my current favourite though.

Deadite 8th January 2017 10:28 PM

Thriller! Thriller! Thriller!

Episode 1.09 The Eyes Have It

Main Cast: Peter Vaughan (Anderson), Dennis Waterman (Frank), William Marlowe (Jeffries), Sinead Cusack (Sally), Leslie Scholfield (Moore), David Jackson (Martin), Micheal Lees (George Mullard), Alun Armstrong (Mike), Colin McCormack (Peter), Catherine Chase (Jenny), Angela Walker (Pat), David Sands (Tom).

First off, what a cast! Some fine character actors and future stars in the making here. Would cost a pretty penny to assemble these days (minus the deceased of course). Anyhoo, a parade is due to head through a place, carrying a person who does a thing – really, it's never clarified who the VIP is, other than “a man of peace” or where the place is. All that really matters is some ne'er-do-wells including Grouty take over a college for the blind with a view towards blowing this “man of peace” away as it overlooks the route of the parade.

You know what's coming next, lots of tense scenes where the unsighted people blunder around the contract killers. Firstly unaware that anything untoward is happening, but later on discovering that the warnings of Sally (well played by Sinead Cusack) weren't 'nerves' but her well honed senses!

The crims bicker, the students blunder, and the plot such as it is, meanders. The ending is well staged, if slightly unlikely, but as you're cheering it on, it doesn't matter too much as the meek inherit the earth.

I have to say this though – the contract killers are rather screamish about violence, especially once the able-bodied folk are out of the way, but I guess I have to remember this is 70's telly.

Solid, but not outstanding. 3 out of 5.


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