"Fox Mystery Theater" Paint Me a Murder (TV Episode 1984) Poster

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Desolate double-crossing
Paul English9 October 2003
First viewing: October 1984 / Second viewing: October 2003

For the last nineteen years my only memory that I had of `Paint Me A Murder' was one of cliffs and aggressive paintings. After watching it again this afternoon, these two things still stand out - but there's more depth to this one than I previously gave it credit for. A reasonably engaging `Hammer House Of Mystery And Suspense' tale which follows a rather stilted path between a trio of gallery owner, artist and wife. Faked death, murder attempts and a Shakespearean climax is what we get. And lest I forget, two more things: Alan Lake plays yet another loser in the last acting role of his life while Mark Heath as the Inspector gives the finest acting performance I have ever seen anyone give in my whole life. 6/10
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Could you just paint us a plot line??
FeydRautha6 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Things I've learned from this episode:

1. British art dealers are invariably smarmy gits with public school accents. 2. Indian chemists will sell you prescription sedatives and deadly poison in the same visit without asking too many questions. 3. Painting pictures while standing at the edge of a very high cliff isn't as safe as it looks. 4. Michelle Phillips can't act.

I have a vague memory of catching this episode when it first aired. Seeing it again after so many years brought back how much the early 1980's TV viewing audience would forgive a show; the soundtrack was jarring, the camera work dodgy in places, and the script....well, check out this gem, when Luke (Laurenson) describes his passion and drive for his artistic gift as "fire in the belly", his wife (Phillips) calmly tells him to "take a Pepto, darling."

The plot itself is nothing new - artist, at the behest of his money-hungry wife, fakes his own death so the value of his work will increase, while still creating pieces that his "widow" unleashes on the art world in small, regular doses. Meanwhile, blond moustached Old Etonian art dealer has designs on the former Mama. This has all been done before, and much better, by the likes of "Tales of the Unexpected". The story has a few holes, the kind that make you think the editing job was rushed to meet an airdate deadline. (What was the deal with Luke suddenly deciding to paint a selfie on the Battersea Power Station?) The biggest zinger, however, has to be the wife's decision to off her husband. I mean, come on! She's basically got what amounts to a license to print money hiding in her attic, pumping out artwork that ever rises in value. Ka-ching, lady!

The good points: Most of the acting performances are worth sitting all the way through the ep. James Laurenson is his usual excellent self. He manages to shine despite the uphill battle that script and storyline must have been - I swear there were one or two times I thought he was going to look directly at the camera and mouth the words "I'm sorry". David Robb is suitably slimy as the determined art dealer, Michelle Phillips stood on her mark and delivered her lines where she was pointed. Special mention must go to W. Morgan Sheppard and Alan Lake as Luke's compadres; I'll watch Sheppard in anything, and it was touching to see Lake in this swan song before his tragic death.

Well worth a look if you fancy traipsing down Hammer Memory Lane.
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