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14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

As seen on PBS’s Mystery!

Four stories from the haunting British series

How do ordinary people react when confronted by extraordinary circumstances--when their mundane worlds are turned upside down by unforeseen events? How do they respond to danger, to evil, to loss? With standout performances from British acting greats like Ian McKellen (X-Men, The Lord of the Rings), John Shrapnel (Gladiator), and James Bolam (New Tricks, The Beiderbecke Affair), each eerie episode probes these haunting questions while you watch from the safe distance of your own armchair.

Dying Day: A lonely man’s quest to save his life may cost him his sanity. Seen on Mystery!
The Limbo Connection: A wife vanishes without a trace, leaving her despairing husband to put together the pieces. Seen on Mystery!
Rachel in Danger: An innocent girl sets off to meet the father she never knew but falls into the hands of a terrorist.
The Victim: A wealthy industrialist embarks on a determined hunt for his kidnapped daughter.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ian McKellen, John Shrapnel
  • Directors: Robert Tronson, Waris Hussein, Gareth Davies
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: ACORN MEDIA
  • DVD Release Date: July 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 487 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001V7YZHK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,508 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on July 18, 2009
Format: DVD
"ARMCHAIR THRILLER SET 1" is a set of four separate stories, each as long as full-length theater movies or more, and full of bewildering suspense. One might call them "doctor drama" as they have to do with crime and mystery while dealing with suspects with less than a normal psychological temperament. But then, in a British mystery setting, what is normal.

The series is dated to 1978 simply because that is the date when it was originally aired. It is not intended to be a period mystery set, but it is rather fun in seeing avocado green dial telephones, 70's furnishings and wallpaper, and technology such as reel-to-reel tape recordings, and a 33rpm record music center.

Other than the occasional hair style, each suspense/mystery is as contemporary enjoyable as any 21st century production. Acorn Media deserves a pat on the back for making this set available to a new generation and continent.

Episode details:
...1...DYING DAY...100 minutes. A loner named Skipling ends up with a cassette tape left by another train commuter. He listens and hears a plan by someone to kill himself on Feb. 28. Skipling fails to get anyone, including the police, to believe him. Everyone feels he needs a psychologist, not a bodyguard. Is he a crank? Is he deranged? Is he in danger? February 28th answers all questions.
...2...THE LIMBO CONNECTION...152 minutes. Hard-drinking husband, Mark, wakes up to find out his wife, Clare, has had an accident, food poisoning, and treatment at a private clinic. She disappears. Police suspect Mark. Mark must find her and clear himself.
...3...RACHEL IN DANGER...93 minutes. Innocent 10-year-old Rachel, who talks like an educated 25-year-old, and who has not seen her dad for 8 years, is met at the rail station by an impostor.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By The Saint on August 10, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
These are very well written mysteries. They are guaranteed to keep you watching. Each story is broken down in 24 minute parts and each time I told myself I would only watch 1 part, I found myself unable to wait for the next part. Very well acted and fast paced enough to keep you interested. Highly recommended.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 16, 2009
Format: DVD
It's no secret that British television produces some of the finest mystery/suspense entertainment in the world. Case in point -- "Armchair Thriller", originally aired in the United States as part of the PBS 'Mystery!' television series. Showcasing four mystery stories ('Dying Day'; 'The Limbo Connection'; 'Rachel in Danger'; and 'The Victim'), "Armchair Thriller" offers truly flawless productions and has a total running time of 487 minutes. Replete with memorable characters, set designs, and BBC's usual high standards of performances, "Armchair Thriller" truly lives up to its title and is enthusiastically recommended to the attention of mystery buffs, and will make very welcome and popular addition to community library DVD collections.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie De Pue VINE VOICE on August 8, 2009
Format: DVD
"Armchair Thriller," a classic British mystery series dating from 1978, comes to us in a four volume boxed set, consisting of four multi-part episodes, each episode's being approximately 24 minutes, for a total of approximately 487 minutes. The television series achieved high ratings in its British run, on Independent Television (ITV). Two of the stories have been seen here in 1982-3 on the "Mystery" series of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). The material is, of course, generations back in TV time: the sound and picture are not what we've grown accustomed to - and it could sure use subtitles.

But the mysteries enjoy the luxury of time that was then available, to the fullest. They are absolutely definitely positively filmed in the 1970's - believe me, you haven't seen so many all-brown interiors or outfits in decades. They are definitely not set in the fantasy 1970's of the current TV series Life on Mars: The Complete Series. These entertainments are well-constructed, well-made, well-performed: they bear the British TV hallmarks of lavish sets, good production values, a lot of scenic variety (though it does feel as though the bulk of the work is in the studio). They differ from the common run of British mysteries in that they are centered not on detectives, but on "ordinary" though rather hysterical people, in extraordinary circumstances. And, despite the bullet holes on the box, they are neither particularly violent nor bloodthirsty: most murders happen off camera. They feature strong performances from their leads: the great Ian Mckellen (
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Dobey on January 1, 2011
Format: DVD
This series was very different than alot of shows on tv, it's very much a thinking mans mystery show and not a
whodoneit type of mystery that I love so well. It features strong performances from it's casts and very well written teleplays as they used to call them. I did enjoy seeing the seventies again too and hair styles and the like were alot different back then for sure but today we have a army of people with no style of any kind (baggy pants and even worse so now looks even worse in some regards; but not in color schemes for rooms etc for sure). Anyways this isn't a fast paced action show in any regard you get strong characterizations and basically four movies here. On tv they were shown as three or four half an hour episodes; but here one disc holds each story. The stories do feature murders and the like; but with twists like having a supersmart polite little girl outsmart evil terrorists played as monstrously as the real ones truly are. Or a man driven to paranoia to the extreme with terrible consequences. This is a slower paced show but it remains interesting throughout each story. They used the standard brit type of filming back then too; video tape for the interior scenes, and film for the exterior shots. But it's rather smooth here in transition. Luckily the prints have held up pretty well with the minimum of damage to them. Back in the seventies ITv and the BBC destroyed many shows so you are lucky these are around at all and looking this good. There are very few scratches or dirt specks. Some shows from this era look really bad and need restoration badly. These only have a few defects occasionally. This series is superior in writing but some people who only like fast moving type of crime shows may not have the patience for this series.
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