The show was heavily publicized, with a press release by a "Dr. Roland Kapferer PhD" claiming amongst other things that "Christie's use of such a device reflects the notions of Embedded Commands and Phonological Ambiguity used in Neuro-Linguistic Programming" and "the combinatorial structure of a Christie novel creates physiochemical responses in the reader". This was widely reported-upon in the press. An investigation by The Guardian's "Bad Science" columnist, Ben Goldacre, revealed that Roland Kapferer PhD, a philosopher working in anthropology and art theory, was the writer and associate producer of the show. Responding to queries from Goldacre, he describes the research as "guesswork" and claims that the program's content was intended to be a "tongue-in-cheek" joke to poke fun at the scientific establishment and that it was "obvious" that none of it was to be taken seriously. None of the scientific studies the show refers to were actually performed. See more »
Herself - Narrator:
This is St. Mary's church, Chelsea, Oxfordshire. It is the hiding place of an extraordinary secret, the secret of success. Our mission is to find it. Buried here in a quiet unassuming corner of this hallowed ground is a writer who in her lifetime, achieved almost unimaginable fame. She has sold a staggering 2.3 billion books. Second only to Shakespeare, she is the world's most widely published author of all time. Her name is Agatha Mary Clarissa Mallowan, better known to us as ...
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Poor film that puts more effort into creating a ridiculous air of tension and mystery than it does being a good documentary
Shown recently as part of an ITV3 season of films to do with Agatha Christie I really shouldn't be surprised by the quality of this documentary because this is the same channel that has given us the mostly terrible Marple series of films. The title is the first clue that this is a desperately populist film that is more about trying to liven it up than it is do a good job as a documentary. Thus we have three experts made to sit in a darkened room pretending to work on computers while a woman brings them files. It is a silly effect and it does feel rather pointless.
There is some value in the computer analysis of Christie's writing style but dressing it all up like this just devalues it because it is all a bit, well, "w*nky"! The contributors do mostly talk about the subject in knowledgeable and interesting but the film never lets it get away from being presented as something all very mysterious and special that requires people in dark rooms working with computers to get to the bottom of it. This leaves the film exposed because the material isn't there to support this approach and I must admit that it all ended up feeling a bit silly. It would have been much better to have presented a straight documentary on Christie's style and leave out all the nonsense in the presentation and delivery.
It doesn't help that Lumley narrates as if she was doing a documentary on the most shadowy, sinister and important period of history she is a big part of the film leaning this way. A poor documentary then that puts more effort into creating a ridiculous air of tension and mystery rather than just delivering an interesting discussion of the style and popularity of Christie's writing.
5 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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