6.9/10
67
4 user 1 critic

Missing Persons (1990)

| Drama | TV Movie
Hetty is approached by Frank Cross, husband of her old friend Edith, to locate his son from his first marriage, whom he hasn't seen in fifty years.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Robert Wainthropp
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Frank Cross
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Bernard Shawcross
Gary Halliday ...
Geoffrey Shawcross (as Garry Halliday)
Ram John Holder ...
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Phillida Meadowhite
Janet Allen ...
Mrs. Lilium
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Photographer
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Jan
Julie Foy ...
Madge
Cathy Underwood ...
Beryl Lilium
Matthew Vaughan ...
Hairdresser
Nigel Collins ...
Betting Shop Manager
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Storyline

In this unsold pilot for what would ultimately become "Hetty Waintropp Investigates" six years later, Hetty is approached by Frank Cross, husband of her oldest and dearest friend Edith, to locate his son Bernard from his first marriage, an only child whom he hasn't seen in fifty years. However, by the time Hetty finds him, Frank has changed his mind and no longer wants to meet his son. Ironically, Bernard's sixteen year-old son Geoffrey has run away from home and Hetty finds herself on another missing persons case. Written by duke1029@aol.com

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Drama

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(flashbacks)|

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the pilot episode for the TV series "Hetty Wainthropp Investigates" with Patricia Routledge. The main differences from the series is that her husband and assistant are played by different actors and that she has blonde/white hair. See more »

Quotes

Edith Cross: [to Hetty] Frank always starts talkin' about his son when one of us is sick. Well, you're bound - you're bound to think of posterity at our age. Doesn't mean you're gonna shake it by the hand.
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Connections

Followed by Hetty Wainthropp Investigates (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Bolero
(uncredited)
Composed by Maurice Ravel
[Hummed by the two constables when the take Geoffrey into custody.]
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User Reviews

 
Among my favorite dark comedies
16 April 2016 | by See all my reviews

For the type of movie it is near perfect. I haven't seen the series or read the book. I expect since this screenwriter wrote the original novel it is true to his vision perhaps more than the series. He did not apparently write for the series which I gather is a lot less edgy.

This is a very dark, insightful comedy relentlessly portraying both the human character without the white-wash job we usually see in fictional characters and the human condition without any imaginary sugar frosting. Outside of Hetty you might find the characters unlikable because they don't have imaginary positive characteristics rarely found in nature. But what's the point of only caring about people that meet our fantasy standards? Why don't we care about people portrayed realistically, people like our neighbors and relatives and work-mates? The film focuses on the lower middle class, not people you would call successful or failures, which is a good choice for the film. These people are not suffering for material needs but they also cannot conceal themselves in luxury.

While the movie for the most part portrays common life events it is so funny and dark that at times I found myself simultaneously horrified and laughing and horrified that I was laughing. The writer proved by the end of the film that he was not laughing heartlessly at these people but ruthlessly drawing our attention to their foibles and limitations. The humor and pathos blended seamlessly like the warp and woof of a carpet.

The film was genuinely and cleverly humorous with more than the usual load of funny lines. All the performances were terrific managing to capture the pathos of the characters while keeping it a comedy.

The direction / editing kept up the pace and knew when to slow down and when to skip over. Each of the many characters had their own space in the film.

Often times a good film for me falls down in the ending. Not so in this case. For me it was exceptionally successful. The strong ending was where the film was headed all along and summed up and completed it.

The main unrealistic element is Hatty's adventures. Her detective forays form the backbone of the plot and, as in many detective films, provide a way to dig through a coal seam of characters and life situations. Because it's a comedy we don't mind so much some of the unrealistic events commonly used as plot devices.

Hatty is a remarkable yet believable woman worth getting to know. The film serves up brilliantly fun humor, striking character portrayals, and strong human feelings. Thanks to masterful work by all the film makers.


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