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Beyond Reasonable Doubt (1981)

A docu-drama covering one of the most famous murder cases in New Zealand history. Did Arthur Thomas kill Jeannette and Harvey Crewe at their Pukekawa farm house? Arthur was sure that ... See full summary »

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Insp. Bruce Hutton
John Hargreaves ...
Arthur Allan Thomas
Tony Barry ...
Det. John Hughes
Martyn Sanderson ...
Len Demler
Grant Tilly ...
David Morris
Diana Rowan ...
Vivien Thomas
Ian Watkin ...
Kevin Ryan
Terence Cooper ...
Paul Temin
...
Constable Wyllie
...
Detective Murray Jeffries
...
Detectivez Sam Keith
...
Pat Vesey
Peter Hayden ...
Graham Hewson
...
Bruce Roddick
Robert Shannon ...
Mickey Eyre
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Storyline

A docu-drama covering one of the most famous murder cases in New Zealand history. Did Arthur Thomas kill Jeannette and Harvey Crewe at their Pukekawa farm house? Arthur was sure that trusting the police and co-operating fully would prove his innocence. The police held a very different view of this simple farmer. Written by Evan Yates

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true crime | independent film | See All (2) »

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A bloodstained house, two bodies in the river, and the wrong man in jail! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Release Date:

8 October 1983 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Al di là di ogni dubbio  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the 1980s, the film was not available through CBS/FOX Video in New Zealand. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinema of Unease: A Personal Journey by Sam Neill (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Zealous But All At Sea Police Bring Torment To Probable Innocent Man.
11 December 2005 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

Zealous But All At Sea Police Bring Torment To Probable Innocent Man.

The 1970 murder of rural Pukekawa, New Zealand residents Harvey and Jeanette Crewe, and a subsequent arrest and conviction, on circumstantial evidence, of a neighbouring farmer, Arthur Allen Thomas for the crime is the subject of this somewhat documentary flavoured film that stigmatizes the do-as-you-please supervising detective inspector who employed since disallowed methods during his investigation. British journalist David Yallop, who carefully studied the case history, became convinced of the innocence of Thomas and wrote a best-selling volume upon the subject, a publication that was directly responsible for a Commission of Inquiry ordered by the Prime Minister, and additionally penned the screenplay for this film, its purpose plainly intended to reveal sundry dishonest legal methods utilized by the government's investigative team. The Commission of Inquiry recommended that Thomas be released in 1979, following nine years in prison, and one year before this production was completed as a showcase for Yallop's preferential position that crucial evidence was falsified, a reasonable claim since the police had their innings prior. David Hemmings gives a memorable performance as Bruce Hutton, supervising inspector who ostensibly organized the rigging of evidence and the selection control from jury lists that reduced the chances of exoneration for Thomas to a mere dream despite the government's unconvincing case. The production provides added realism through its casting of featured players whose appearance equates with the originals, and of Pukekawa residents as extras. Of creative importance is the tactful camera-work with appropriate selection of colour that consistently enhances moods for this leisurely paced piece. In addition to that of Hemmings, strong turns come from John Hargreaves as Thomas, Grant Tilly who performs as prosecuting counsel Morris, Ian Watkin as the final defense counsel for Thomas, and Tony Barry who serves as Hutton's principal detective assistant in this crime drama wherein the revisionist posture of Yallop is consistent with data recorded and taken from the investigation and subsequent unsuccessful Thomas appeal procedures. Methods of compiling evidence, planted and otherwise, constitutes the greatest part of the work, subverting opportunities to develop character studies, and here the one major flaw in the film becomes prominent: this crime, perhaps the most infamous homicide in the history of the country, fractionated New Zealanders based upon their opinions as to either the guilt or innocence of Thomas, but a viewer outside the Antipodes likely will not have detailed knowledge of the case that is obviously an assumption from the storyline. Nevertheless, this is an engrossing film, ably directed, shot, and edited, with handsome production values, and reactions to it and to Yallop's book of the same title have resulted, during the passage of a quarter century, in substantive improvements with juridical procedures in addition to police methods utilized in gathering and presenting evidence in New Zealand criminal cases.


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