Clouds of Witness (TV Mini Series 1972) Poster

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9/10
A superior series.
Sleepin_Dragon3 June 2021
Lord Peter must prove the innocence of his brother, The Duke of Denver, who is accused of killing The Fiancé of his sister Mary, Cathcart.

It's a terrific series, if you enjoy intrigue, suspense and mystery, then you will love this series, over forty years old it still offers so much. I compare this to modern day dramas, and it is superior in almost every way, plot, acting, sets, costumes, and the fact that the story has a clear start, middle and conclusion.

Wimsey is described as being similar to Sherlock Holmes, and he is, he's just a bit more upper class, a bit more refined, but equally as sharp witted.

Some great scenes, including a dear death experience in a bog, but best of all is the final episode, which sees a court room showdown, it is pretty spectacular.

I love that we get to see Lord Peter's family, they really are a bunch of characters, wonderfully upper class, but all different, all characters. Absolutely love Helen, she's hilarious.

It is excellent from start to finish, 9/10.
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6/10
Cozy old-fashioned BBC mystery fare
gridoon20223 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
If you're a fan of old-fashioned, British-to-the-bone, period-set, BBC-produced murder mysteries, you'll probably find "Clouds of Witness" a cozy, comfortable delight. If you're not, you'll probably find it stuffy, stodgy and stagey. Me, I'm somewhere in the middle; I found it both engaging and plodding. It is divided into five chapters, each of which is basically designed to focus on and then eliminate a red herring, until we get to a rather disappointing resolution which is hardly worth nearly 4 hours of waiting for. But Ian Carmichael is lively and amiable as Lord Peter Wimsey, and he offsets some of the stodginess of the production, backed up by a fine British cast. **1/2 out of 4.
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Wonderful to see it again
lucy-664 October 2000
Why can't we (the British) make period mystery and drama like this any more? Everyone is superb, especially the Duke and his freeze-dried Duchess, who despite her stiff upper lip is attractive and sympathetic. Only Lady Mary lets the side down with some atrocious acting. She calms down for the trial scene, though. The costumes and interiors are perfect, but the actresses and make-up department just couldn't bring themselves to use the authentic bright red lipstick. I never noticed the Conan Doyle references before: Lord Peter says he's been chased by a 'hound of the Baskervilles', and falls not into the Great Grympen Mire but into Grider's Hole. And that's not all that's pinched from the 'Hound'.

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8/10
Good but not the best
Cantoris-27 February 2005
Of the three I have seen, "The Nine Tailors" gets a 10, no doubt about it. I'd have to give "The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club" a 9 just because it isn't The Nine Tailors and I don't give 10s willy-nilly. So that leaves an 8 for this episode due to a few minor objections. It's been so long since reading the book that I don't recall whether it is responsible, or the production. But in any case...

In short, "Clouds of Witness" is a bit over-the-top. First, it gives us several quite histrionic scenes among members of Wimsey's family. Second, Wimsey heedlessly gets himself thrice into really life-threatening situations, from which he emerges as improbably as a James Bond or an Indiana Jones. Thirdly, a few critics call Wimsey "obnoxious" or "insufferable." While I don't at all agree in general, thinking he makes an exemplary case for the leisure class and would be a wonderful friend to have, in a few scenes here he deserves that criticism. I didn't admire his jaunty casualness in the House of Lords, after his derring-do has made national headlines, in conspicuous contrast to the solemn punctilium of all his peers. The impression is that he doesn't belong there. Wouldn't a real English gentleman and Lord go along with protocol as far as possible for courtesy's sake, even if he were to have a good laugh about it later?

It's great entertainment and recommended, even if a few false notes leave it slightly below its companions.
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10/10
Superior acting, plotting, decor, dialogue--you name it!
behrens-231 December 1999
There are several ways for a writer to startle the reader at the end of a mystery. The most overused is "the least likely suspect" solution, a variant being found in an early Ellery Queen novel when a character already proven to be innocent turned out to be the guilty party. Agatha Christie broke all the rules when she made the first-person narrator the killer and again when she made all the suspects the collaborating killers and most outrageously of all when she made the Master Detective the killer. (Contact me if you want the titles of these books.) With Dorothy Sayers we have far better written novels--though not necessarily better mysteries than those solved by Poirot and Marple--with characters far more human and therefore interesting. So when the BBC decided back in 1972 to film several of her Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, mostly at the urging of comedian Ian Carmichael, that actor was not even on the short list of candidates for the part since he was too closely associated with Bertie Wooster, whom he had shortly before that played on British telly. But he got the part and the rest is history. Five of the Wimsey mysteries were filmed and shown a year later on "Masterpiece Theatre": Clouds of Witness, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Five Red Herrings, Murder Must Advertise and The Nine Tailors. They were a smash with audiences on both sides of the Atlantic and showed up later with a new series title, "Murder Most British," which included only three of them. The Lord Peter Wimsey website was filled with inquiries from fans panting to get copies of any or all of the fabulous five, but the BBC retained a stony silence. The good news is, as you might have guessed by now, that Acorn Media is releasing four of them and <Clouds of Witness> is now available as a boxed set of five tapes and it is a stunner. My only quibble is that more than one of the 45 minute episodes could easily have been accommodated on a tape; but I am so delighted to have it at all that any such monetary objections must fall by the wayside. Without revealing the ending, let me say it is of a type not already mentioned in my opening! Lord Peter's brother Gerald is accused of murdering a man he had just argued with that evening and steadfastly refuses to say where he was at the time of the killing, although he was found bending over the body and his own gun was the means of death. So with too many clues to help him and a certain major character making up lies all the way, Lord Peter is chased by a vicious dog, nearly drowns in a bog, barely makes a stormy trans-Atlantic flight to save his brother, and unlike the more cerebral Poirot, bumbles now and then in his conclusions in a very human way. In fact, all the characters are quite human. When the well-read Wimsey tosses a reference to "Manon Lescaut" to his Scotland Yard companion and brother-in-law-to-be (played beautifully by Mark Eden), the impatient detective retorts, "I never read Manon Lescaut," and drawing an apology from the somewhat abashed Lord. Even the Duchess avoids stereotype with her upperclass-cool remarks concerning the proceedings, suggesting in a deep contralto a "nice cup of tea" at a crisis during her son's trial. As with the BBC Poirot series, the 1920s décor is impeccable and adds greatly to the amusement. Indeed it is for the acting and the art design that I will return many times to view this and the other tapes. I can only hope that The Nine Tailors will find its way into the series once the other four are out for sale. Acorn Media, who has already given us "Mapp and Lucia," "Disraeli," and the Canadian Gilbert and Sullivans already reviewed on these pages, is to be thanked for making this new series available to seekers of the finer style of mystery recreation.
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