A schoolgirl who has been missing for weeks returns home covered in bruises. She says two women kidnapped her, held her captive in an isolated house and beat her. Taken by the police to the... See full summary »
Drawing on her love of theatre and art, New Zealand novelist Ngaio Marsh created elegant crime-puzzlers full of quirky characters with hidden agendas, all brought meticulously to life in this BBC series.
A schoolgirl who has been missing for weeks returns home covered in bruises. She says two women kidnapped her, held her captive in an isolated house and beat her. Taken by the police to the house she described, she identifies it and the mother and daughter who live there. They call in a lawyer, who has only days to find evidence that will break the girl's story. Written by
This is a TV remake of the 1951 movie bearing the same name. It's hard not to make comparisons between the two versions. Both story lines are faithfully identical but this version is an hour longer than the original so things dawdle along in some places, but never long enough to lose interest in the goings on.
The story revolves around a school girl claiming to have been kidnapped, beaten and forced to be a servant to two women in an old mansion 'The Franchise'. She is able to escape their clutches and her family reports the events to the authorities, resulting in a criminal trial of these women, mother and daughter.
While the movie is absorbing, the two and a half hours pass by well enough, it suffers from being a made for TV item. The direction meanders and some of the photography looks as though it was done by an apprentice. The acting is quite good but not all the characters are fleshed out, the background sounds and music is very poor. One of the best parts of the viewing was (for me) the wonderful old British motor vehicles of the period which were there in abundance. It often appeared that it was a stage play that was being seen.
All in all, well worth the viewing. While not as intriguing as the 1951 version it does stand on its own merits, one of the very few re-makes that has been successfully done. One can't help thinking of the absolute travesty of 'The Ladykillers' when regarding re-makes.
If you can find one, or both these versions, do so - you'll not be disappointed with either.
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