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The Life and Crimes of William Palmer (1998)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Dr. William Palmer
Dan Armour ...
George Bates
Jayne Ashbourne ...
Annie Palmer
...
Mary Thornton
John Bleasdale ...
Henry Bladon
Nicola Bolton ...
Mary
...
Samuel Cheshire
Christian Burgess ...
...
Mrs. Palmer
...
John Parsons Cook
Stacy Davies ...
George Myatt
Matthew Devitt ...
Walter Palmer
Glyn Dilley ...
Mr. Atkinson
...
Leonard Bladon
Henry Easterby ...
Saunders
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Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

12 November 1998 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Hard to Watch
26 April 2015 | by (Victoria, BC. Canada) – See all my reviews

Dr. William Palmer poisons various members of his family and his friends in various schemes to get money. He is a gambler and spendthrift, always deeply in debt.

I started our rooting for Dr. Palmer, much as I rooted for Dexter, but I quickly came to hate him and his oily ways and willingness to betray the innocent. The show became harder and harder to watch. I had to take breaks. He was like a snake stalking victim after victim.

He destroys many sympathetic people whom you have got to know, something that does not happen in a traditional murder drama. This is based on a ghastly true story.

People had intuition he was out to kill them, but they were too polite to act on it. They allowed him to kill them.

Palmer is revolting. He pushes giant forkful after forkful of food into his face. He delicately dabs the corner of his mouth with a napkin. He has no conscience of any kind. He can always come up with a new plausible lie any time he is cornered. Like Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes he has a way of expressing disdain and contempt with his every utterance.

People, especially children, die so often in 1850, it is fairly easy for a poisoner to murder without coming to the attention of the authorities.

The film ends with a detailed autopsy, trial and hanging, so you feel properly revenged. Fittingly, he was betrayed with false testimony.

Technically, the image is fuzzy and dull. The image is square not letterbox.

The film does not put that gloss the way most period pictures do. The characters are not physically appealing. Their clothes are drab and hideous.

The many sets are so well done, you do not notice them.


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