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Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries: Harriet Vane Collection (Strong Poison / Have His Carcase / Gaudy Night) (2002)

Edward Petherbridge , Harriet Walter , Christopher Hodson , Michael Simpson  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)

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Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries: Harriet Vane Collection (Strong Poison / Have His Carcase / Gaudy Night) + THE LORD PETER WIMSEY MYSTERIES: COMPLETE COLLECTION + Maigret: Complete Collection
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Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Petherbridge, Harriet Walter, Richard Morant
  • Directors: Christopher Hodson, Michael Simpson
  • Writers: Dorothy L. Sayers, Philip Broadley, Rosemary Anne Sisson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 14, 2002
  • Run Time: 513 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000062XDX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,488 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries: Harriet Vane Collection (Strong Poison / Have His Carcase / Gaudy Night)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Three Dorothy L. Sayers mysteries involving amateur sleuth extraordinaire Lord Peter Wimsey and the lovely Harriet Vane are realized to perfection in these 1987 BBC adaptations. In Strong Poison, Harriet (Harriet Walter) is on trial for murder. Lord Peter (Edward Petherbridge) becomes enchanted by her and decides she cannot possibly be guilty. What follows are the twin stories of Lord Peter's search to find the real killer and his romantic pursuit of Harriet. Both are charming. As always, Sayers has plotted her story brilliantly, with a satisfying mystery and a sly comic touch (a gentle poke at the spiritualist movement is particularly fun). The period atmosphere is pulled off naturally and with close attention to detail, and the adaptation has a careful reverence for Sayers's novel. The performances are all remarkably strong. Petherbridge is perfect as Wimsey, revealing his brilliance and allowing him to be hopelessly in love without ever damaging his dignity. Walter plays Harriet with rich nuance, saying as much with her silences as she does with her lines, and Richard Morant is quietly fantastic as the remarkable Bunting.

Harriet, fresh from the trial, tries to get away from it all and ends up stumbling over a recently killed body in Have His Carcass. Unable to resist a crime (or, for that matter, Harriet), Lord Peter is soon on the case. In Gaudy Night, Lord Peter is still proposing at frequent intervals, and Harriet, though unable to say yes, is also unable to send Lord Peter entirely away. But enough with the romance. As Wimsey heads off for some foreign service work, Harriet visits her Oxford alma mater and lands smack in the middle of a poison-pen scandal. Harriet's status as a mystery writer, naturally, means she's the one who should investigate. Sayers clearly had fun writing this one, using Harriet to gently tweak her own profession, at the same time both parodying and defending the cloistered life at a women's college. --Ali Davis

Product Description

Three Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, told from a different point of view. The plot and action are seen through the eyes of Harriet Vane, a mystery writer-and Wimsey's one true love. Set includes all three miniseries based on the best-selling novels and produced by the BBC: Gaudy Night, Strong Poison, and Have His Carcass. Starring Harriet Walter (Sense and Sensibility) as Harriet Vane and Edward Petherbridge as a very Ian Carmichael-like Wimsey, each is full of twists, turns, and the delicious added touch of romantic intrigue. 1987; 8-1/4 hours on 3 DVDs.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
275 of 284 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOO HOO!! March 5, 2002
I am unbelievably excited that this is finally to be released in DVD, or any format for that matter. This has been and probably always will be my favorite PBS series - my family has worn out two VHS taped-from-TV copies (It will be wonderful to have the picture match the sound again!)
The first two stories are reasonably faithful to the books, and although the "Gaudy Night" episodes are sort of a Dorothy Sayers Lite, they do make a good introduction for someone who is not familiar with the books. These episodes introduced me to Dorothy L. Sayers (my favorite author along with Jane Austen) and in that way, have greatly influenced my life.
The casting and the acting of these is perfection (thank you Edward Petherbridge, Harriet Walter, and Richard Morant!)- there is no cheekiness that bothers me about the Ian Carmichael versions of some of the other novels.
My only complaint is that they couldn't do "Busman's Honeymoon" for this series (someone in Hollywood wouldn't release the copyright - but have they done anything with it??? NO.)
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104 of 108 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three To Ponder July 13, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is the boxed set of three of the four mystery novels Dorothy Sayers wrote about her sleuth, Lord Peter Whimsey, and Harriet Vane, the mystery writer who eventually became his wife. These are the DVD's of the BBC productions of "Strong Poison," "Have His Carcase," and "Gaudy Night," starring Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walter. Unfortunately, the BBC was unable to obtain permission to produce the final novel, "Busman's Honeymoon," much to our loss.
I have already written reviews of the individual performances separately, and will focus here on matters that affect the entire set. For reference, these performances cover the period from Wimsey's successful efforts to free Harriet from suspicions of murdering her lover to Peter's proposal to her at Oxford several years later.
Both of the stars of this series do remarkable work. Petherbridge is almost too perfect for the role, and has managed completely to supplant my own imagined version of Lord Peter completely. My only quibble is that he seems more a man in his fifties rather than the forties I thought was Wimsey's age. Since I am in my fifties myself, I found this quite easy to forgive. As for Walter's depiction of Harriet Vane, she really is exactly as she should be. Richard Morant's approach to Bunter, Lord Peter's man, is more problematic, being well acted, but not quite in character. As far as the lesser characters, the casting is, for the most part, impeccable. The few exceptions to this rule are still more than acceptable.
What makes the novels unique for their time is that Sayers wrote them are not simply as mystery stories with a romantic aspect.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Ian Carmichael but... February 3, 2006
By CrzGzr
I like both Lord Peter actors, Ian Carmichael puts the "whimsy" in Lord Peter Wimsey but Edward Petherbridge puts the 'Lord Peter' into his portrayal. Petherbridge reminds the reader that the character is fragile and was seriously shell-shocked during WWI and still suffers delayed stress syndrome -his meeting with Harriet Vane is painful and he is desperate to save her while keeping his arm's distance like a gentleman -at her request. Watching the tortured role played, one can't help thinking that his gentlemanly distance is kept more at his insecurity about his emotional stability. He is strong but is the strength his title and wealth? I think anyone who has read and loved her books will enjoy the intellectual challenge Petherbridge delivers. On another note, Dorothy L. Sayers married Arthur Fleming in 1926, contrary to another reviewer's claim that she never married. For a more complete bio: [...]
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Cheers for This 3-Disk Set! March 3, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
How wonderful that BBC has released this delightful trio on DVD. As a longtime Sayers fan -- and particularly of the Peter/Harriet books -- I dropped everything to absorb this series' first airing in 1987. Edward Petherbridge is so nearly a perfect Peter (just a bit too old; if only they'd shot these 10 years before with him instead of Ian Carmichael, Sayers enthusiasts all over the globe would have rejoiced). Harriet Walter's Harriet Vane is a bit less satisfying -- she gets Harriet's intelligence and wit quite well, but lacks some of the gravitas and intensity that comes across in the book -- as well as the lovely, deep voice that I keep wanting to hear (Emma Thompson comes to mind).
But physical quibbles aside, these films do get the developing relationship between Harriet and Peter -- the cautious probing of emotions hampered by nervous reserve on his part and defensiveness on hers.
Another strong plus is the casting of the supporting characters in each story. Each is wonderfully realized by the BBC "stable" of fine actors. The settings and period details are also dead on.
My only real disappointment in the set is the truncating of "Gaudy Night". Admittedly, this is the most complex of all Sayers' books. The numerous subplots, while perhaps seeming irrelevant to the casual reader, are actually an intricate counterpoint of encounters and relationships, each of which provides a vital piece to one of the two puzzles to be solved in this novel: how Harriet and Peter will resolve their personal dilemma or (much less important) who is sending obscene poison pen letters to the Shrewsbury College community. Unfortunately, the screenplay for this film version of "Gaudy Night" leaves out many of the subplots not relating to the mystery.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Love this Lord Peter. The best!
Published 9 days ago by Karen Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars This a DVD that I have previously owned and lost ...
This a DVD that I have previously owned and lost in a house fire. I have watched them over and over many times and am trying to collect them again a little at a time. Tom
Published 9 days ago by Tom Franklin
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this series but would love to see it redone ...
I am a big fan of Dorothy Sayers and have read all her novels several times. I enjoyed this series but would love to see it redone with a big budget. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Mrs. Enid L. Breese
5.0 out of 5 stars Love them both for different reasons
I have now seen both Edward Petherbridge and Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter. Love them both for different reasons. I do think Petherbridge made a better Peter for Harriet Vane. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Susan Rosalie
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Set of Sayers Mysteries
Excellent set of DVDs of these wonderful Dorothy L Sayers stories - well characterised and lovely production.
Published 1 month ago by sarah bushnell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good production, but I wish there were subtitles for the hard of hearing.
Published 1 month ago by Beresford
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed these - a contrast to the first episodes with ...
I really enjoyed these - a contrast to the first episodes with Ian Carmichael (which I also loved) but a good choice of actors for a group of 3 stories with a linked romantic... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ruth Gregor
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
I so enjoy this series and was not disappointed in the quality of the DVD or the time it took to receive.
Published 2 months ago by Claire
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The perfect 'Lord Peter'! Wish they had included "Busman's Honeymoon".
Published 2 months ago by Therese E. Peck
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the books and these actors do the best job ...
Love the books and these actors do the best job of following the books. I have seen other movies made from these books but I really love this variation.
Published 2 months ago by slock
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According to the back of the box picture, the set has CC.
Mar 30, 2012 by B. Bennyhoff |  See all 2 posts
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