Dandelion Dead (1994)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 146 users  
Reviews: 6 user

This is a dramatisation of the true story of Major Herbert Rowse Armstrong, a solicitor and magistrate's clerk who lived in the small Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye. In 1921 he was arrested and ... See full summary »

0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available starting today. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 10 titles
created 05 Oct 2010
 
a list of 15 titles
created 05 Apr 2011
 
a list of 216 titles
created 19 Dec 2011
 
a list of 107 titles
created 14 Jul 2012
 
a list of 475 titles
created 02 Apr 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "Dandelion Dead" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Dandelion Dead (1994– )

Dandelion Dead (1994– ) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Dandelion Dead.
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

The story begins when three aliens get a bit hacked off at their 'friend' Bernard, who keeps making a prat of himself playing space ball. It is while he is playing space ball that the ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones, Joanne Pearce
Pulp (1972)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A seedy writer of sleazy pulp novels is recruited by a quirky, reclusive ex-actor to help him write his biography at his house in Malta.

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Michael Caine, Mickey Rooney, Lionel Stander
Falling (TV Movie 2005)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Henry Kent meets writer Daisy Langrish and offers to take care of her overgrown garden. The relationship develops but Mr. Kent is fooling no one but Daisy!

Director: Tristram Powell
Stars: Michael Kitchen, Penelope Wilton, Micaiah Dring
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Will Graham is a gangster who has left the life of crime and is living in the countryside. He comes out of hiding to investigate the death of his brother when he learns that he committed ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Clive Owen, Malcolm McDowell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Martin Fallon is an IRA bomber who tries to blow up a troop truck but instead kills a bus load of school children. He loses heart and quits the movement and goes to London trying to leave ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Bob Hoskins, Alan Bates
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Young police officer Roger is on the trail of the international master assassin, while the assassin follows his plan to murder Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme.

Director: Kjell Sundvall
Stars: Mikael Persbrandt, Michael Kitchen, Pernilla August
Reckless (TV Mini-Series 1997)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Young doctor Owen Springer returns to Manchester to care for his ailing father and proceeds to fall in love with an older woman, who just happens to be married to his boss.

Stars: Francesca Annis, Michael Kitchen, Robson Green
The Brief (TV Series 2004)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Henry Farmer is a clever criminal law barrister whose every day is a juggling act between surviving his messy personal life and pleading cases only he can win.

Stars: Alan Davies, Steven Alvey, Linda Bassett
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Directors: Mike Hodges, Paul Carlin
Stars: Mark Seltzer, Gary Indiana, Brian Cox
Florida Straits (TV Movie 1987)
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A man who spent 20 years in Cuban prison after the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion and a boat captain and his crew go covertly to Cuba to find a cache of gold buried during the invasion. But can they trust each other?

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Raul Julia, Fred Ward, Daniel Jenkins
Always and Everyone (1999–2002)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The hectic everyday lives of the doctors and nurses running the Accident and Emergency department of the large, busy city hospital, St. Victors.

Stars: Esther Hall, Jane Slavin, David Partridge
Missing Pieces (TV Movie 1983)
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Elizabeth Montgomery, Ron Karabatsos, John Reilly
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
 Catherine Armstrong
...
...
 Constance 'Connie' Martin, née Davies
...
 Dr. Hinks
...
 Marion Glassford-Gale
Bernard Hepton ...
 Mr. Davies
Don Henderson ...
 Chief Inspector Crutchett
...
 Henry Vaughan
...
 Eleanor Armstrong
Alexandra Milman ...
 Margaret Armstrong
Joseph Steel ...
 Pearson Armstrong
Lucy Jenkins ...
 Inez
...
 Phillips (as Roger Lloyd-Pack)
...
 Griffiths
Edit

Storyline

This is a dramatisation of the true story of Major Herbert Rowse Armstrong, a solicitor and magistrate's clerk who lived in the small Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye. In 1921 he was arrested and charged with poisoning his domineering wife, Catherine, and later attempting to poison a business rival, Oswald Martin, by administering arsenic to them. At his trial, Armstrong claimed that he had bought the arsenic simply to kill the dandelions on his lawn. However he was convicted of murder and executed in 1922. Written by Martin Underwood <imdb@martinunderwood.f9.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 October 1994 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(4 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A major criminal?
7 December 2006 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

The revival of interest in Mike Hodges prompts another look at this 1994 mini-series, directed while he was in the feature-film wilderness. Like nearly all he touches, it is about desperate violence. However this is no 'Get Carter' but a well-mannered, low-key account of the sort of cause celebre Orwell lamented in 'Decline of the English Murder' as a casualty of the Second World War. Major Armstrong's murder trial gripped Britain. The Attorney General himself conducted the prosecution, and the famous 'Daily Express' editor RD Blumenfeld narrowly escaped imprisonment for contempt when he published a photograph of the defendant's eyes.

Herbert Rowse Armstrong ('Major' was a temporary Great War rank, snobbishly retained) was a pillar of the remote community of Hay-on-Wye, a market town on the England-Wales border. He was a churchwarden, master of the local Freemasons lodge, a Cambridge law graduate, the district's leading solicitor and clerk to three magistrates' courts. In April 1922 he was convicted of poisoning his wife and hung: the only British solicitor ever to suffer such ignominy.

During war service Armstrong-- a doting but henpecked husband of a neurasthenic wife and a father of three-- had met a charming widow, named in the film but not when she was a witness. Armstrong had also contracted syphilis in France, though not from her. Returning to Hay, he had developed a strong resentment of Oswald Martin, a younger rival in the law who had set up literally opposite Armstrong's somewhat rundown premises over a shop. The prosecution alleged that Armstrong poisoned both his wife, for her money, and Martin for harassing him over the payment of monies owed to a client.

The film does not adjudicate on Armstrong's motives or his guilt; it allows Michael Kitchen, in a bravura display of restraint, to plead his cause or incriminate himself as the viewer judges. Kitchen had always been a little too intense for any given role, but here he achieves the consummate screen actor's gift of conveying much with very little: a raised eyebrow, a twitch, pursed lips, the slight contortion of a frail frame. (Armstrong weighed only seven stone and was 5 feet 5 tall.) His buttoned-up demeanour is matched by a voice which protests mildly or pleads gently: a sinister mockery when asking after a victim's health, or merely the politesse of a gentleman attorney?

Hay is a fading backwater, admirably designed by Voytek in shades of brown and black, lightened by Armstrong's escape to the hills with his lady love or interludes of uncertain happiness at home with his three children. In the narrow streets neighbours peer, gossip and nurse growing suspicions. The pace is relaxed, the expected moment when Armstrong is either caught in the act or proved innocent never arrives, and the four hours' traffic ends on a note of irresolution which may leave some feeling cheated.

It is pleasant to record that one detail the audience might suspect was a bit of scriptwriter's trimming was true: Armstrong really was arrested on New Year's Eve, and had to see 1922 in from a cell.

Other, more material facts are also largely respected. Emphasis in Michael Chaplin's screenplay is on the events, not on the trial at Hereford Assizes. As Curtis Bennett (Denys Hawthorne), the defending counsel, argued, Armstrong's motives for the alleged crimes were thin indeed. He was said to have murdered his wife for her money and to be free to remarry; yet he was solvent, her legacy to him lay untouched for a year till he had to draw on it for his lawyers' bills, and he never proposed to his inamorata. And would he have fed Martin a poisoned scone ("excuse fingers") just because of a business dispute?

Against that, why did the Major divide the arsenic he claimed he bought to kill weeds (hence the film's title) into small packets, and why was he still carrying one around when he was arrested, instead of leaving it safely locked up at home? The high point of the trial came when Sir Charles Darling (Ralph Nossek), one of the most famous judges of the day, effectively took over the prosecution and grilled Armstrong, who briefly lost his iron composure.

The jury took three minutes to decide that he was a wife murderer. The Major protested his innocence to the end. The Martin charge lay on the file; Martin died only two years later, depressed and showing signs of continuing damage from poison. But in 1988 a solicitor who lived in Armstrong's old home wrote a book exonerating him and seeking to show how Mrs Armstrong might have committed suicide.

Connoisseurs of 'Inspector Morse' will have no trouble identifying the composer whose long chords and piano plinks punctuate 'Dandelion Dead'. Among supporting performances, Chloe Tucker is outstanding as the Major's owlishly bespectacled and gawky eldest daughter Eleanor, oscillating between love and suspicion. But it is Kitchen's film. He found the right register for the first time, enabling him to rise from the showiness and petulance of his young-man performances towards the calm authority of 'Foyle's War'. He may be the next Jason or Thaw.


17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
not dead, but deadpan sjs213
Discuss Dandelion Dead (1994) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?