6.9/10
334
16 user 3 critic

Pack of Lies (1987)

TV-PG | | Drama | TV Movie 26 April 1987
London in the early 1960s. The life of a couple is upset by the coming of a British Secret Service Agent who moves in across the street.

Director:

Anthony Page

Writers:

Hugh Whitemore (teleplay by) (as Ralph Gallup), Hugh Whitemore (based on the play by)
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Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ellen Burstyn ... Barbara Jackson
Teri Garr ... Helen Schaefer
Sammi Davis ... Julie Jackson
Ronald Hines ... Bob Jackson
Clive Swift ... Ellis
Daniel Benzali ... Peter Schaefer
Alan Bates ... Stewart
Peter Schofield Peter Schofield ... Powell
David Corti David Corti ... Malcolm
Margot Leicester Margot Leicester ... Thelma
Jackie Downey Jackie Downey ... Sally
Peter Hughes Peter Hughes ... Club Manager
Bruce Morrison Bruce Morrison ... Club Waiter
Tim Barker Tim Barker ... Telephone Man
Alan Renwick Alan Renwick ... Vegetable Truck Man
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Storyline

London in the early 1960s. The life of a couple is upset by the coming of a British Secret Service Agent who moves in across the street.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "Pack of Lies" opened at the Royale Theater in New York City on February 11, 1985, and ran for one hundred twenty performances. Rosemary Harris was nominated for the 1985 Tony Award for Actress in a Drama for "A Pack of Lies". Hugh Whitemore wrote the stage play and the teleplay. See more »

Quotes

Barbara Jackson: [after overhearing that Julie rode on the back of a motorcycle] Julie, how could you?
Julie Jackson: He was only giving me a ride home.
Barbara Jackson: How many time have we told you?
Julie Jackson: Yes, I know!
Barbara Jackson: How many times?
Julie Jackson: Yes, I'm sorry.
Barbara Jackson: You promised! You gave me your word!
Julie Jackson: I'm not a child anymore!
Barbara Jackson: What do you mean by that?
Julie Jackson: Well, I'm old enough to take care of myself.
[...]
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Connections

Edited into Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951) See more »

User Reviews

 
You have to trust somebody
27 December 2006 | by manuel-pestalozziSee all my reviews

The story of this movie is classical Hitchcock stuff. It tells about fear, suspicion, innocence, betrayed trust and delivers a considerable amount of suspense. It is based on real events and is basically a movie about the invasion of privacy and its devastating effects – thanks to the excellent performances of all the actors a rewarding experience, but one that left me feeling sad and uncomfortable.

The question of loyalty looms large over the whole situation. So, your neighbors who happen to be your best friends, are suspected of being spies. But those who want you to believe that are very secretive about it, giving away only shreds of information, leaving you more or less in the dark. Is the neighbors' friendship a total fake, merely a tactical gimmick? Are they ignorant about all that is going on and maybe just victims? You can't talk about it with your friends - which basically is what friends are for - you must lie to them, faking the "usual ignorance". No wonder that the concerned family get to the brink of insanity, especially because - as if this were not enough - they have to deal with permanent house-guests who more or less take over the dwelling, spying on the neighborhood for some not really clear reason – creating an all around surreal situation. Remains the question: Whom can you trust? You have to trust somebody.

It does this movie great credit that it distributes the pack of lies evenly, not demonizing anybody. There is nothing „bad" about the neighbors who are revealed in the end as hardboiled spies and did what they did because of their political convictions. They are perfectly civil and likable, up to their arrest which comes through as a general defeat for everybody concerned in the immediate surroundings. The effects on the family are truly devastating, and that is hard to take – even if in all probability there wouldn't have been more sensible ways to deal with the situation successfully. So probably they belong to the anonymous victims of the Cold War to whom, as far as I know, nobody ever erected a monument.

The only thing I regret about Pack of Lies is the stylistic approach, which is flat and undramatic and makes it almost a documentary in appearance. In my opinion, the surrealistic elements of the story and the moral turmoils the family has to go through would have justified a slightly more "cinematic" approach to the issue. After all, the whole situation is really far from normal. Or so I hope.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 April 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: Pack of Lies (#36.3) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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