The third TV-Movie in the highly successful "Murder, She Wrote" involved Jessica Fletcher Jessica discovers a shocking old family secret that leads her on a journey to the deep South to ... See full summary »
The third TV-Movie in the highly successful "Murder, She Wrote" involved Jessica Fletcher Jessica discovers a shocking old family secret that leads her on a journey to the deep South to bring to light the mysterious details surrounding the death of a slave owned by one of her long dead ancestors in the mid-1800s. Written by
While doing a bit of studying for a course during the day, this TV movie popped on the tele. I was about to begin the channel hopping process to find something more suitable for background watching when the title flashed up 'Murder, She Wrote'. Now I'm no massive fan of the show, but I'll admit that I do enjoy repeats when I see them; no exceptions here.
The opening attracts the viewer right away. It's the classic 'whodunit' model as we see an African-American fellow running from an angry mob of Southerners. This is great scene-setting, as almost everyone can gather from these establishing shots and the props that we're way back during the times of black slavery. The final shot before we flash-forward to the modern day is literally a shot (from a gun). We don't see who shoots the man looking to escape, but we want to know who.
To find out who fired the gun and reach the dramatic climax, we need some present-day detective work from none other than Jessica Fletcher and her great Southern Aunt, Sarah McCullough (an initially laughable technique to put Jessica Fletcher in the past, but ultimately very effective).
The man that we saw running and, presumably, shot is Sam; a black slave owned by Sarah. Sam is accused of murdering a white man and from there on in it's classic Murder, She Wrote.
The acting is really something special. The stand-out for me is Michael Jace as Sam. What a wonderful performance, delivered with such skill and integrity - considering the subject matter. Angela Lansbury (who was around about 75 when this was filmed) is as strong as ever in arguably her most famous role.
My only problem was with some of the props and the haircuts/facial hair. For some reason, they took me out of the immersion that the telemovie had so far provided; a few of the extras looked as if they were modern day people dressed in costume, bah! Nonetheless, this is a good telemovie and yet another great outing from Jessica Fletcher. 8/10 Oh, and happy birthday Angela Lansbury. Just turned 84 and I hear she's on Broadway again, brilliant!
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