A Murder of Quality (1991)

TV Movie  |   |  Mystery  |  13 October 1991 (USA)
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Taken from the book by John le Carre, George Smiley rallies to the aid of his former intelligence colleague, Ailsa Brimley, to investigate a mysterious letter from a junion master's wife at... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Terence Fielding
Ailsa Brimley
Mad Janie
Stanley Rode
Felix D'Arcy
Matthew Scurfield ...
Insp. Rigby
Tim Perkins
Diane Fletcher ...
Shane Hecht
Fiona Walker ...
Dorothy D'Arcy
Nick Reding ...
Sgt. Mellor
Charles Hecht
Charles Pemberton ...
Sgt. Ted Mundy
William Armstrong ...
Rev. Fergus
Moray Watson ...
Maj. Harriman


Taken from the book by John le Carre, George Smiley rallies to the aid of his former intelligence colleague, Ailsa Brimley, to investigate a mysterious letter from a junion master's wife at Carne School - a boy's school. When Smiley goes to Carne to investigate, he finds the junior master's wife brutually murdered with her husband as one of the suspects. Smiley begins to scratch at the surface of the closed knit society of Carne and soon begins to find that things are not as they seem. Secret societies, sexual abuse, and a mysterious boy, Timothy Perkins, who is either another suspect, witness, or victim. Written by <73204.3701@compuserve.com>

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Release Date:

13 October 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Asesinato de calidad  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Writer John le Carré partially based his famous George Smiley character on a friend, the Lincoln College tutor and Oxford University don, the Reverend Vivian Green. Smiley was also based on le Carré's boss at Mi5, Lord Clanmorris, who wrote crime novels under the pseudonym of John Bingham. See more »

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User Reviews

Good British mystery by John le Carre
25 October 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This 1991 British production (Thames TV) for the A&E channel is based on mystery writer John le Carre's second novel. Le Carre wrote the screenplay for "A Murder of Quality," so the necessary changes for filming were made by the book's author himself. It's interesting that this is the only story with le Carre's character, George Smiley, that is set outside the field of espionage.

A number of British actors have played George Smiley in movies made on le Carre's books. They all are very good. Denholm Elliott has the role in this film. He plays a more reserved, humble character than usual. Glenda Jackson is excellent as his friend from espionage days, Alisa Brimley. Joss Ackland is very good as Terence Fielding, a school headmaster. And, Matthew Scurfield is very good as Inspector Rigby. The rest of the supporting cast all are quite good.

While this story has the usual red herring or two, it wasn't difficult for me to guess early on who the culprit was. The film even seemed to make it easy with one scene in particular. While I haven't read many mystery novels of the past few decades, I do enjoy the movies based on works by mystery writers. Besides le Carre, John Grisham and others are still writing today. But no one, in my estimation, will ever top Agatha Christie as a crime and mystery writer. Her super sleuth, Hercule Poirot, remains the most beguiling of all crime solvers, in my book. Since the early 1960s, I have read and/or watched the films on all of Christie's works that have been printed or put on film. Only once was I able to guess correctly early on who the culprit was.

Still, one can't have caviar, clams casino, lobster, and crepes Suzette all the time. Those are all the more enjoyable on special occasions, after many more meals of good but wholesome everyday meals. So, a movie based on a le Carre novel is enjoyable and satisfying at any time. Most movie buffs should enjoy "A Murder of Quality."

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