The mysterious death of an enigmatic young man newly arrived in the suburb of Wetherby releases the long-repressed, dark passions of some of its residents.




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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marjorie Yates ...
Brenda Hall ...
Marjorie Sudell ...
Patrick Blackwell ...
Robert Hines ...
Katy Behean ...
Bert King ...
Paula Tilbrook ...


The mysterious death of an enigmatic young man newly arrived in the suburb of Wetherby releases the long-repressed, dark passions of some of its residents.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 July 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Il mistero di Wetherby  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film's "Wetherby" title refers to a town and parish in the City of Leeds borough of West Yorkshire in England. Show-business trade paper 'Variety' in its review reported that "the title refers to a small town in the northeastern county of Yorkshire". See more »


Jean Travers: [to her class] Do we behave the way we look, or do we look the way we really are?
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Crazy Credits

The cast credits are divided up into groups under the following headings: The Wetherby Characters; In the Past; The School; Miss Travers' Class; The Police; and From the University of Essex. See more »


References The Third Man (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

An inquisitive film about the important and uncontrolling life events which modifies us for better or worse
18 March 2013 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

"Wetherby" is an intriguing wake up call to each one of us to pay more attention to life and the events surrounding it, before it gets too late and we're forced to face the facts, to see the importance people have in our lives in its quietest and small moments even though we think they're not important or they can't affect us. Because they can and life has its ways of showing how. What David Hare is saying here is that the things that matter and will change you will happen when you're distracted or least expecting it. With luck, you'll know how to react.

In the suburb of Wetherby a casual dinner took place having as participants some upper class members, an enjoyable evening in the house of teacher Jean Travers (Vanessa Redgrave). The following day one of the guests, the mysterious John Morgan (Tim McInnerny) returns there, exposes that he wasn't known of any of the attendees - to Jean's surprise who thinks this was impossible - and then he kills himself in front of her. Such fact triggers down alternate ways: a police detective (Stuart Wilson) becomes obsessed with this strange case and decides to get some clues on why Morgan acted this way; Karen, a colleague of Morgan (Suzanne Hamilton) visits Jean informing her about the very few she knew about the young man, but she's just mysterious as he was, doesn't reveal much about herself; a minor impact on the lives of Mrs. Travers friends (Ian Holm, Judi Dench and Tom Wilkinson); and Jean remembrances of her past with her involvement with a soldier, a life changing experience. The latter, although it doesn't seem and strangely played out to confuse audiences, is related with the suicide despite decades apart. But this in a psychological way and this movie is perfect when it comes to those terms.

The good points: pay attention to the details and you'll love how most of it was carefully constructed but be warned, there's no easy answers and sometimes there's no answers at all, we're left to take our own conclusions about the character's actions. Redgrave and Wilson were excellent, very insightful and very believable when it comes to present a genuine state of shock, his trying to find reasonable explanations and her after seeing the tragedy (although the movie downplayed and hid her reaction after the fact, awkwardly cutting to her past without further notice). The veteran actors in the supporting roles are outstanding, creating memorable moments. The young McInnerny was an on/off kind of acting. I believed him in almost everything he did, he sure causes an impression on you with this intelligent, disturbed, apparently peaceful guy but in some scenes he was too weird, almost in a laughable way. It's a puzzling and provocative study on the human perceptions and why they're more important to some (John Morgan) than to others (almost all the other characters).

The bad points: this was close in being a great work but so close that is a little saddening to present the following upsetting remarks. I can't complain about the story and the deep connections between different characters, times and space we have to form to understand the whole, however I felt Hare shouldn't be the one to direct this or at least he should tone down a little easier on the technical aspects. A more technical director would benefit substantially from a script like this. The fore-mentioned transition between events is an example on how to not present a story. The time leap between the two events was really odd to see, it looked like seeing another film strangely cut to later get back where it stopped, and even experienced viewers will find this problematic. Of course, not as much as the loud and melodramatic soundtrack which is completely misplaced and creates feelings and sensations that aren't there. For both cases, it was all a matter of editing problem, the way things are put together doesn't work for too long. The girl who played Karen was awful, shouting and overreacting at all times. The screenplay doesn't make of her a sympathetic character, often making her an enigma that doesn't add much to the mystery to be solved.

Those with patience, time and eyes to see will enjoy it to the maximum and even forgive its problems. This isn't hollow, this isn't pretentious, it's just hides its points very deep like a treasure to be sought. The reward will come for those who work and think a little harder. 9/10

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