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She Fell Among Thieves (2009)

Richard O'Callaghan , Frederick Treves , Clive Donner  |  NR |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard O'Callaghan, Frederick Treves, John Shrapnel, Joyce Redman, Bernard Hill
  • Directors: Clive Donner
  • Writers: Dornford Yates, Tom Sharpe
  • Producers: Mark Shivas
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: April 14, 2009
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001O4C6MG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,211 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "She Fell Among Thieves" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The BBC drama that launched Mystery! on PBS

While on a Pyrenees vacation in 1922, upright English gentleman Richard Chandos (Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orange, Heroes) encounters the villainous Vanity Fair (Eileen Atkins, Cold Mountain). Mistress of the turreted Chateau Jezreel and leader of a motley band of criminals, she will inherit millions if she can force her stepdaughter to marry. Pitting his wits against this formidable adversary, Chandos determines to rescue the beautiful young woman. But Vanity Fair keeps one step ahead of him, a trick forever up her sleeve and murder in her heart.

Based on the novel by Dornford Yates and adapted by Tom Sharpe (Wilt, Porterhouse Blue), the story unfolds in a series of twists and turns as sharp as the hairpin bends around which the protagonists hurl their luxury cars. Emmy®-winner Atkins and Golden Globe®-nominee McDowell play perfect foils in this highly entertaining thriller.


A riveting and fun little mystery. -- Blogcritics Magazine

An enthralling drama, highly recommended to mystery lovers. -- Midwest Book Review

Her [Atkins] unabashed ridiculousness is irresistible. -- Hartford Courant

It is clever, fun, and doesn't take itself seriously. -- Capture Crime blog

It's an absolute blast -- Boston Event Guide

Pure entertainment from start to finish. -- Keene Sentinel

She [Atkins] is so fabulously fiendish it makes this crackling yarn supremely satisfying as it is suspenseful. -- PaperMag

What a lovely, murderous romp. -- San Francisco Chronicle

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Production That Launched Mystery! April 18, 2009
Back in early 1979 PBS launched a new drama series called Mystery! The very first selection was She Fell Among Thieves, a BBC production that aimed to include every characteristic of a successful detective/mystery story that could be dreamed up: the mysterious house, the large and highly suspicious list of possible victims and perpetrators, the heroic detective, and the menacing main character, in this case a woman of unparalleled charm and menace. The production was meant to be over the top and a bit farcical, and it certainly succeeded. I remember laughing hysterically part of the time and using all my wits to comprehend the latest plot twist at others.

After thirty years She Fell Among Thieves is once again available. Snap it up at once. If you remember its first showing you'll find it has aged remarkably well. If this is your first time to see it, you're in for an incredible treat.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It has been a long wait.... June 22, 2009
I don't understand the Amazon credits listing of Judy Dench etc., since these are not the actors in this wonderful film.... the very first episode of PBS' MYSTERY! How many years did I listen to the audio tape I made of this program? Campy dialogue, wonderful music, remarkable acting and actors.... and remembering Vincent Price saying the screen writer took the original novel, its concept, and threw the rest away... the results were a wonderfully atmospheric period piece with tongue-in-cheek humor that is mostly supplied by the viewer. And Eileen Atkins steals the film as the most succulent villian... accompanied by the proper eerie moments or organ music in the score. One hell of an ending, too!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing November 5, 2009
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I love period drama but this movie was more tongue in cheek than real drama. It sounded great but found it to be "overdone" in the acting and the presentation. I would recommend only for those who would enjoy a very unrealistic acting job. Not the worst by any means but not that fantastic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I looked forward to viewing this film since it was part of the BBC PBS series and PBS usually, but not always, produces very enjoyable films. I especially like the character actors in the British films and the way the stories develop, which is different than American mysteries. However, after about fifteen minutes, I began to feel that there was something strange about this film and considered turning it off.

The story is about a woman, Vanity Fair, who heads a small band of thieves and who controls them with her strong personality. She has a step daughter, who seems to be quite naďve and who is not a thief. The step daughter will inherit millions of dollars if she will marry, and the step mother, Vanity, can then take her money from her. This plot sounds good, but it is presented in a very campy manner. Camp is fun, but somehow I felt that while it was ok to watch it, it was not as funny as camp should be, the development of the plot was generally unreasonable and sometimes bordered on the ridiculous, and the company of thieves, all of whom were camp characters, including Vanity, were somewhat silly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars She Fell Among Thieves June 1, 2011
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This was just a bit too campy for me. The two stars I gave it were for the sets and wonderful scenes. The actors were about as hammy as possible and the dialogue and story line really quite ridiculous . I cannot remember a really good chuckle. It came off more like a freak show than a farce. I purchased this dvd because one of my favorites, Judi Dench, was supposed to be in it and I did not see hide nor hair of her. WHAT HAPPENED.

I usually love British period pieces. Just felt this one was trying too hard or not enough, I have not decided.

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The BBC drama that launched "Mystery!" on PBS, She Fell Among Thieves is a DVD presentation in full color, featuring silver screen stars Malcolm McDowell (known for his performances in "A Clockwork Orange" and "Heroes") and Eileen Atkins (known for her performance in "Cold Mountain"). While visiting the Pyrenees on holiday in 1922, English gentleman Richard Chandos crosses paths with Vanity Fair, the nefarious Mistress of the turreted Chateau Jezreel and leader of criminals, hell-bent on pressuring her beautiful stepdaughter to marry so that she may inherit millions. Chandos must put his brains and brawn to the test to rescue the damsel in distress, but his opponent has ice water for blood and murder in her soul. An enthralling drama, highly recommended to mystery lovers as well as public library DVD collections. 78 minutes, 4:3 full screen, SDH subtitles.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The stuff the cult movies are made of August 25, 2009
By Galina
The first episode ever of BBC Mystery! She Fell Among Thieves is an amusing and entertaining mystery/crime/period piece. It was adapted from the novel by Dornfold Yates and it tells the story where a nice proper English gentleman Richard Chandos (Malcolm McDowell in his charmingly naive Mick "Lucky Man" Travis mode) on vacation in the southern France finds the body of a man known as an associate of a mysterious powerful crime boss named Vanity Fair (yes, that's right). Eileen Atkins plays the murderous leader of the gang/evil step-mother who would stop to nothing to press her angelic beautiful stepdaughter to get married before she gets of age, so Vanity Fair will inherit the fortune of her late husband and will stay the mistress of a spectacular turreted Chateau Jezreel. Atkins obviously took the part with the big doze of humor and plays with such gusto that instead of being terrified of Vanity Fair, I could not help grinning every time she would enter the screen wearing makeup so heavy and screaming that she reminded me of Donald Sutherland as Casanova in the Fellini's film or Bette Davis in the Death on the Nile, one of Agatha Christie's adaptations which She Fell Among Thieves reminds with the beautiful scenery, gorgeous costumes, attentions to all period details, and ironically with the final scene. I think the makeup that Atkins had to apply and her exaggerated gesticulations, piercing glares, hissing and barking the orders to her not always efficient henchmen go well together and give the viewers a good idea that this picture is not about subtlety or twists and turns of the plot but about good old campy fun. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars It's just part of the fun!
Welcome to the world of Dornford Yates! You don't have to be English to enjoy this DVD, but it probably helps. We are used to such excess. Read more
Published 12 months ago by fiz
5.0 out of 5 stars A Don't Miss Thriller!!!
If you like Period Mystery Thrillers. You will love "She Fell Among Thieves". I picked this DVD up over a year ago and then put it aside after viewing about 30 seconds of it... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Marguerite Southard
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, ruthless, unexpected...
Now this is definitely a movie that would not appeal to everyone! We didn't know what to expect, but love Judi Dench and love BBC films/series. Read more
Published 21 months ago by P. Lee
4.0 out of 5 stars Judi Dench is not in the cast of "She Fell Among Thieves"
Amazon's description of the cast of "She Fell Among Thieves" is inaccurate. The film features Dame Eileen Atkins, Malcolm McDowell and Karen Dotrice (of Mary Poppins fame. Read more
Published on July 19, 2012 by Music Lover
3.0 out of 5 stars A little "dated."
Rather slow and a lot of chasing around the countryside, (up and down mountains); too much drama. Fun to watch, (for a short while), but not really something that quite matches... Read more
Published on December 9, 2011 by Jane Austen
5.0 out of 5 stars More Yates please
She fell among thieves. DVD BBC production
This is a very good movie. Only thing is there is no Judi Dench in the cast. Read more
Published on August 11, 2011 by Wondering
4.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what to expect
When I bought this I wasn't sure what to expect but was pleased with the content. I play dvd's when I work and mostly listen to them but this I couldn't help but watch.
Published on September 12, 2009 by Jean M.
1.0 out of 5 stars Save Your Money
I recommend this only if you can view it as a new-age attempt to remake silent pictures - all we were lacking was the organ playing dramatic interludes. Read more
Published on May 14, 2009 by L. Decker
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Topic From this Discussion
Judi Dench in cast?
I have just watched this DVD rented from our local library. Judi Dench does not appear in this film nor is she listed on the cover. That is definitely a mistake.
Sep 29, 2011 by Katie |  See all 3 posts
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