China, 7th century. On their way to a provincial centre Judge Dee and his three wives spend the night at a taoist monastery. Soon the judge discovers that the secluded place holds a secret ... See full summary »
China, 7th century. On their way to a provincial centre Judge Dee and his three wives spend the night at a taoist monastery. Soon the judge discovers that the secluded place holds a secret - the former abbot died of unnatural causes. After a number of mysterious events and more cases of murder Dee tracks down the true villain. Written by
Otto Oberhauser <Oberhauser@cc.univie.ac.at>
In the novel "The Haunted Monastery", on which this movie is based, Jade Mirror is the name of the dead, embalmed former abbot. In the movie, this name is given as that of Judge Dee's first wife. In the 16 Judge Dee books written by Robert van Gulik, Dee's first and second wives' names are never mentioned. His third wife is only mentioned by her family name, (Miss) Tsao, prior to her marriage to the magistrate. Her personal name is never given. See more »
China's Nero Wolfe; Baffling Murder; Stylish TV Color Mystery
There have been a number of fine films made for television over the decades since public-network TV was rushed into being. "Judge Dee and the Monastery Murders" is one of them, on just about every count. It has that rare quality, style, a literate script by Nicholas Meyer, based on Robert Van Gulik's novel, and interesting performances, lighting and sound. Leonard Rosenman supplied above-average music; and director Jeremy Kagan kept the action going non- stop even though the structure of the investigational mystery required him to deal with many scenes of questioning, discovery and reaction. The story takes place in the 7th Century. On his way to a provincial capital, Judge Dee and his three wives are forced by a heavy rainstorm to ask for shelter at a rural Taoist monastery. The Judge, China's greatest detective, discovers that the late abbot of the institution, very recently deceased, had been murdered, that he had not died of natural causes. The monastery is host to a group of guests of various sorts, as was usual in those days; and many secrets, lies, evasions and suspicions have to be dealt with before the Judge solves not only one murder but several more attempts and deaths. This rare and intelligent production starred Khigh Dhiegh as the Judge, Mako as Tao Gan, his assistant, Miiko Taka as his First Wife, Keye Luke as Lord Sun Ming, and such luminaries of the Oriental acting fraternity as Irene Tsu, Soon-tek Oh, Frances Fong, James Hong, Beverky Kushida, Yuki Shimoda and others appearing in the talented cast. Do not miss a chance to see Judge Dee at work in this popular classic; the East's Nero Wolfe is as fascinating as Charlie Chan and as cool as Inspector Morse. It is to be regretted that no other films about this fabulous character of Van Gulik's have been made to date. This example of the Judge's work was extremely well- done for a television achievement. Jan Scott's production design and the acting alone rendered it worth worth seeking, and viewing more than once.
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