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Reviews & Ratings for
"Screen Two" Memento Mori (1992)

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Anything but deadly

Author: banshee-liam from New York, NY
26 April 2005

I have had the pleasure of reading many of Muriel Spark's novels and stories, the first being "The Abbess of Crewe," whose deadpan satire of Watergate made me laugh so hard that I thought my face might freeze into a mask of idiot's delight. "Nasty Habits," its unfortunate film version, was a disappointment. I therefore feared an even sadder fate would befall any screen treatment of "Memento Mori," which has long since become my favorite of Ms. Spark's works, having, I think, the most impressive balance of satire and warmth in her entire oeuvre.

I was delighted, then, when I saw the film broadcast on PBS. To this day I can't decide whether the lion's share of the credit for its brilliance belongs to Maggie Smith and her fellow actors or to the director or the screenwriters. It doesn't matter; it's not my place to judge.

However, I have always been at a loss to understand why this effectively lost masterpiece has not been available to the public after all this time. Surely PBS or BBC America could at least air it again, so that we happy few who were blessed to have caught it might at least record it off the TV.

In the meantime, we will have to subsist on our fond memories.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A Little Gem

Author: taita from Wellington New Zealand
23 August 2000

Remember You Must Die.....Hardly the sort of thing you expect to hear when you answer the telephone, but this is just what an elderly and somewhat eccentric circle of friends do hear from their mysterious caller. Only one of the circle is seriously upset by the constant calls, the rest deal with it in their own inimitable ways.

A retired inspector takes on the task of finding the source of the calls with extremely interesting results.

The cast of this little gem reads like a who's who of English theatre. Each actor plays their role to perfection, engendering delight and ire accordingly. There is much to entertain in this story, a little harmless sexual titillation from one old gent, tales of long past infidelities, blackmail, a dissolute son, a secret marriage and of course death itself.

This took no effort at all to watch.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

An absolute treasure...

Author: fraserpatty from Indianapolis, Indiana
27 June 2003

I wish I thought there were the slightest chance this little movie would come to DVD. Unfortunately, as one of the minor players on Masterpiece Theatre it never even got to vhs. Truly a pity. A study of the lives of a handful of upperclass, middle-aged/elderly folks made vunerable and fearful by the persistant calling of an anonymous caller reminding them to "remember, you must die," this movie has some of the most eccentric, loveable British actors/actresses--mostly, with the exception of Maggie Smith, unknown to Americans. Nevertheless, the Georges de la Rue music is wonderful, the acting is superb, and the story is at once quirky and poigant--anyone with elderly parents will be especially affected, I think. Get hold of it, if you are fortunate enough to find someone who had the common sense to tape it when it aired.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Review of "Memento Mori"

Author: mj-ek from Canada
23 November 2006

I recently viewed a video of the BBC/Masterpiece Theatre version of Muriel Spark's marvellous novel. If anyone knows where I can get a copy of this excellent production, please let me know.

The plot concerns mysterious telephone calls which are received by a number of elderly persons. The caller simply states "Remember, you must die" and then hangs up. Naturally this frightens the old people, but it is important to note that this is not a depressing novel (or film). On the contrary, Muriel Spark uses her considerable skills to write a delightful satire about the fears and idiosyncrasies of old people.

The film starred many excellent British actors and adhered closely to the novel. Among the cast were Michael Hordern, Maggie Smith, Zoe Wannamaker, Thora Hird and John Wood. This film was the last work of the famed British director, Jack Clayton. I have been told that Maggie Smith won a British award for her performance and the music score has been highly praised.

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