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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Life Imitates Art...
First thing to do is to ignore the "Part 1" above in the item title; you're getting the full-length (100 mins, approx.) episode of "Masonic Mysteries." In terms of the world of Inspector Morse, this is probably the Inspector Morse episode even people who wouldn't otherwise care for the series can enjoy (immensely, in most cases), as it's considerably...
Published on October 13, 2001 by Wilson Smith

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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intricate. Involved. Unbelievable. Unusual.
"The Masonic Mysteries" begins with our lovable curmudgeon, Morse, and his new love interest, Beryl, on their way to a rehearsal of Mozart's Magic Flute. Unknown to Morse, this opera will become a blueprint for a plot against him over the next several weeks. Beryl rebukes Morse for driving like a lunatic and dumps him.

Minutes later, during rehearsal, Beryl is...
Published on August 14, 2005 by Jeffrey E Ellis


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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Life Imitates Art..., October 13, 2001
First thing to do is to ignore the "Part 1" above in the item title; you're getting the full-length (100 mins, approx.) episode of "Masonic Mysteries." In terms of the world of Inspector Morse, this is probably the Inspector Morse episode even people who wouldn't otherwise care for the series can enjoy (immensely, in most cases), as it's considerably different to any of the other 32 films in the series. Morse is "the hunted, instead of the hunter" for once, as he is being constantly framed (literally & figuratively) by someone whom he put away years ago and is trying to get his own back. The trials Morse is put through parallel the trials by fire & water in the Mozart opera, "The Magic Flute," which he is in rehearsals for at the beginning with his lady friend (played by Kevin Whately's real-life wife), who is subsequently found dead, before a dumbfounded Morse, knife-in-hand and covered in her blood. It's not based on a Colin Dexter novel and was written by Julian Mitchell, who has written/adapted more Morse screenplays than any other. Morse's close relationship with Lewis is manifested in this episode more than possibly any other. A great deal of humor is to be found in "Masonic Mysteries" (at the Masons' expense), especially from the brief exchanges between Chief Inspector Bottomley, who, working with Lewis, is put in charge of the case. Morse is uncharacteristically upbeat throughout most of the duration of the film, particularly especially given the circumstances he is put in. John Thaw regards this as among his three favorite Morse films (and cites its differing from the others as a factor in that), along with "The Dead of Jericho" ("for sentimental reasons") and "Promised Land". This is the first of two Morse films to be directed by Danny Boyle, the director of such cult hits as "Trainspotting" and "Shallow Grave". The incomparable Ian McDiarmid (who played "The Emperor" in the Star Wars films) stars as the evil-genius nemesis. The Inspector Morse series is widely regarded as the peak in televisual entertainment, and this is a prime example.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best and most unusual of the Morse series., August 23, 2004
By 
Russell Fanelli (Longmeadow, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Inspector Morse - Masonic Mysteries (DVD)
Masonic Mysteries is one of the best Inspector Morse DVDs and this is high praise indeed. Also, it is unique in that Morse is the prime murder suspect. The tables are turned as Morse finds himself the target of an ingenious adversary who has studied Morse's habits and who has access to Morse's home and the police data base in Oxford.

The story begins at a rehearsal for Mozart's opera, The Magic Flute. Morse discovers that a lady friend has been stabbed to death in a cloak room at the opera house. As the police arrive they see Morse holding the dead woman with what appears to be the murder weapon in his hand. Morse is immediately relieved of his duties by the Chief Constable. Morse is replaced by Chief Inspector Bottomley, a man who dislikes Morse and his methods and would like nothing better than to see Morse charged with murder.

Fortunately for Morse, his faithful assistant Sgt. Lewis believes in Morse's innocence and begins to collect the evidence that will eventually clear his boss. From beginning to end Lewis shines in this installment of the Inspector Morse series. He is almost as capable as Morse himself and Morse recognizes the value of his aid. Also, for the first time in this series, Morse himself is less curmudgeonly than ususal. Julian Mitchell, the writer of this installment in a lengthy series of mysteries, portrays Morse as vulnerable and confused, which is perfectly appropriate given the fact that Morse is imprisoned for a short time and seemingly helpless.

The reason for Morse's predicament is his adversary, Hugo de Vries. In all the Morse mysteries, de Vries is, perhaps, the most sinister and resourceful criminal Morse has faced. He reminds us of Sherlock Holmes' arch enemy, Professor Moriarty. De Vries is a killer, a con man, a computer hacker, and a thief, even though he looks like an Oxford don. All of Morse's skill and ingenuity are needed to defend himself from de Vries. The ending of the story is one more twist in a plot that is full of twists and turns.

Everything about Masonic Mysteries is first-rate. The cast includes John Thaw as Inspector Morse. Thaw is a fine actor and he is at his best as Inspector Morse. Kevin Whately is equally good as Morse's patient and long suffering Sergeant Lewis. Of special note is Ian McDiarmid as the evil Hugo de Vries. McDiarmid exudes cunning and deviltry. He is more than a match for Morse. The rest of the cast supports the leads perfectly.

The music in Masonic Mysteries is not just window dressing. Mozart's opera The Magic Flute can be heard throughout the program and Morse uses the libretto for The Magic Flute to try and help him understand the various clues in the case. In one chilling scene de Vries has placed an incendiary device in a special music tape that lulls Morse to sleep on his couch and almost kills him with a fire that destroys a portion of his home.

From first to last Masonic Mysteries is filled with murder and mayhem, twists and turns, hope and despair, and in the end a climax fitting to all the elements which have come before it. Those Morse fans who have not seen this installment are almost sure to love it. Those viewers new to the Inspector Morse series are in for a treat.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morse in misery, June 29, 2004
By 
Pamela Williams (Saginaw, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Inspector Morse - Masonic Mysteries (DVD)
This is certainly a highly unusual entry in the series, given the fact that Morse is the chief suspect in a murder investigation. Morse is subjected to all sorts of trials and tribulations--- some of which are designed to create a trail of evidence framing Morse for more than one crime. One of the more amusing aspects of the mystery involves Morse's helplessness when confronted with computer technology and its bearing on the case. However, Sgt. Lewis, who never doubts Morse's innocence, comes to the rescue by utilizing his computer skills to help rescue Morse from his predicament. The role of Inspector Bottomley, who is assigned to investigate Morse, offers some amusement value as well. Bottomley, who belongs to a Masonic lodge, ends up looking rather foolish; moreover, he also seems to have been genuinely chagrined when Morse's innocence is finally established. In any event, this mystery represents an interesting and entertaining role reversal for Morse.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magic Flute, December 2, 2006
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The music and story of The Magic Flute are used liberally in this excellent episode. Just as Tamino and Papageno must endure their trials in the opera, Morse must also face an extensive number of trials before moving on to the resolution of this episode. Morse has two romantic interests in this entry; the first is Beryl Newsome who is appearing in the chorus of The Magic Flute along with Morse. But alas Beryl is murdered very early in our story. The second is Marion Brooke with whom Morse sets a tentative lunch date - which never occurs. Her role over the balance of the story is certainly not what Morse had envisioned. James Grout, as Chief Superintendent Strange, has a larger part then usual, while Lewis' computer expertise foreshadows an important line of inquiry.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Life...that's what leaves the mess, Lewis. Mad people everywhere.", September 26, 2007
This review is from: Inspector Morse - Masonic Mysteries (DVD)
Always somewhat cynical regarding human nature, Inspector Morse (the brilliant John Thaw) has more reason than usual to be cynical in this episode. His most recent lady friend, who is participating with him in a local production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, is called from a rehearsal and murdered. When the police arrive, Morse is bent over her, a knife in his hand. Subsequent investigation incriminates Morse further, and he is arrested for the murder. The obnoxious, by-the-book Chief Inspector Bottomley (Richard Kane) is in charge of the investigation, and, to add insult to injury, Sgt. Lewis (Kevin Whately), Morse's trusty sidekick, is assigned to assist Bottomley.

A fascinating mystery for its links to Morse's past cases, this is also a particularly unusual one. Mozart was a Freemason, and his opera, The Magic Flute, is filled with the symbolism of Freemasonry. The action of this episode, with its references to Zoroaster (Sarastro) and trials representing earth, air, fire, and water continue the symbolism within this episode, providing modern parallels, some of which are not fully explained to the viewer. Bottomley is a Mason, as are some of the other characters, and Morse, who is not a Mason, begins to wonder if this is a setup involving the secret Masonic Order.

While it is certainly a setup, Morse and the police may be looking in the wrong place. The body of a clergyman who runs a homeless shelter, which is found inside Morse's house, adds to the case against Morse, as does a check of his bank accounts. Morse's involvement in a fire provides the turning point in the investigation. Not as unified or clear for the viewer as some of the other Morse mysteries, this episode is still fun to watch, and the emphasis on the music, and Morse's position as a victim here, make this one of the most unusual of the Morse episodes.

Sgt. Lewis's expertise with the "new" computer and its languages and operations dates the story (which was filmed in 1990) but shows the contrast between the old and new methods of police detection. The final confrontation between Morse and the murderer emphasizes the vulnerability of British police, who do not carry guns, while the involvement of an unsuspected accomplice adds to the excitement of the episode. Well acted, as always, beautifully photographed, and consistent with the characterizations that lovers of this series have come to expect, the Masonic Mysteries is an appealing episode which may carry more significance for Freemasons than for the rest of us. n Mary Whipple
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5.0 out of 5 stars All Morse Fans and people who love mysteries, March 22, 2013
By 
carol gorske (ROYAL OAK, MI, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Inspector Morse - Masonic Mysteries (DVD)
this was so excellent since from the get go the story took such a weird
twist--and you kept wondering OMG what will happen to Morse next
this one kept me on the edge of the couch till the very end and thats
the mystery---did it really end there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best "Inspector Morse" mysteries!, November 30, 2012
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This review is from: Inspector Morse - Masonic Mysteries (DVD)
This is another excellent story with Oxford atmospherestarring the incomparable John Thaw. I watch this series innumerable times through the years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Poor Morse is the hunted in this unique Morse episode, November 26, 2011
This review is from: Inspector Morse - Masonic Mysteries (DVD)
"Masonic Mysteries" is an unusual episode in the Inspector Morse series as Morse (brilliantly portrayed by John Thaw) is the one that is the hunted and persecuted. While rehearsing for an amateur theatrical production of The Magic Flute, Chief Inspector Morse's lady friend Beryl Newsome (played by Kevin Whately's aka DS Lewis' real-life wife, Madelaine Newton) is found stabbed to death. Her body is found by Morse himself, and soon Morse becomes the chief suspect in the case.

DS Lewis who is now assigned to assist another Chief Inspector, finds himself struggling to help Morse even as evidence points to Morse as the killer. Soon enough though, it becomes apparent that Morse is being set up by a criminal Morse helped put away years ago, a criminal so attuned to Morse's every move, familiar with Morse's favorite haunts, passions, etc. that Morse finds his life a living hell, exactly what the criminal wants.

There are parts of the show that tend to get overly dramatic and a tad exaggerated, especially in the scenes where the loony criminal is featured. Yet John Thaw and his incredible performance as Morse makes it all worthwhile. This is also one of the episodes that best captures the close bond and unwavering loyalty and respect that Lewis has for his Inspector, and where Morse grudgingly acknowledges Lewis' competence!
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5.0 out of 5 stars at the top, January 11, 2015
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This review is from: Inspector Morse - Masonic Mysteries (DVD)
Morse is still at the top of British Chief Inspectors along with Helen Miren.
This series is old but still carries the same impact.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intricate. Involved. Unbelievable. Unusual., August 14, 2005
By 
Jeffrey E Ellis (Naperville, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Inspector Morse - Masonic Mysteries (DVD)
"The Masonic Mysteries" begins with our lovable curmudgeon, Morse, and his new love interest, Beryl, on their way to a rehearsal of Mozart's Magic Flute. Unknown to Morse, this opera will become a blueprint for a plot against him over the next several weeks. Beryl rebukes Morse for driving like a lunatic and dumps him.

Minutes later, during rehearsal, Beryl is killed and, to the shock of the onlookers, her body is discovered....in Morse's arms, an accusing knife firmly in his grip. Ridiculously, the witless Inspector Bottomly and equally hapless Chief Inspector accuse Morse of the dastardly deed and lock him up.

The true assailant, wonderfully played by the Emperor of Star Wars fame, proceeds to roll out his elaborate frame-up of Morse causing no end of angst for our defenseless hero.

Of the Morse series, this is not one of the best. Even a child could discern that Morse could not commit the crime and the two hours become a tedious exploration of buffoonery by the worm-like Bottomly.

I would skip this episode and go on to the next.
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Inspector Morse - Masonic Mysteries
Inspector Morse - Masonic Mysteries by John Thaw (DVD - 2003)
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