Waris Hussein was the director of the very first DOCTOR WHO episode . Unfortunately he has done nothing in film and television that has made him be remembered for anything else sadly . He did have a very prolific career after working for the BBC but mostly it was in forgettable American TVMs . Add DEATH PENALTY to a mediocre and under achieving resume
Hussein would go on to make MURDER BETWEEN FRIENDS another court room drama based upon a true story . It's obvious watching that and this earlier TVM that the director is poorly suited to the material . A court room drama should be compelling because lives and freedom are at stake . We the audience should empathize with what is going on but here the camera work is painfully static with shot lengths that suggest it was directed by Bela Tarr . This means little or no tension in something that is dialogue and actor driven which is rendered even worse when you consider a teenager's life is at stake . It's film that was made for television thirty years ago so perhaps we should be more forgiving for the cinematography which to be honest is very poor but that might be down to the fact that it's been left lying around television vaults for years
The audience deserve better but so does Warris Hussein . His Who work was outstanding and he was able to weave televisual magic on a budget of sixpence on a very tight schedule . Other great directors - and I don't use that phrase lightly - from DOCTOR WHO like Hussein and Douglas Camfield never got the real opportunity to show their talents with cinema and ended up with with the tag of being " Mere directors of television " which is a slight injustice that continues today with directors like Joe Ahearne being sidelined
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