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P.D. James - The Black Tower (2005)

Pauline Collins , Art Malik , Na  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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P.D. James - The Black Tower + P.D. James - Death of an Expert Witness + P.D. James - A Taste for Death
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Product Details

  • Actors: Pauline Collins, Art Malik, Roy Marsden
  • Directors: Na
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Content/Copy-Protected CD, Dolby, NTSC
  • 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: KOCH VISION
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2008
  • Run Time: 287 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0008EN6O0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,153 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

P.D. James's indefatigable Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh is knee deep into a another series of mysterious deaths in this mini-series based on the popular novel. When three seemingly disparate murders and two bizarre suicides plague Toynton Grange, where Dalgliesh has gone on vacation, he won't rest until the mystery has been solved.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best...... April 19, 2003
Format:DVD
P.D. James is unequaled among contemporary mystery writers, an anachronism, a member of an older order that has sadly passed away. Like her counterpart-Dorothy Sayers-James not only provides an entertaining story filled with compelling characters and a well formulated plot, she is a realist who presents the world as it is-filled with moral ambiguity. Fortunately, the BBC dramatization of THE BLACK TOWER is faithful to James' book, and Lance Entertainment has been faithful to the BBC production-all 287 minutes. I have purchased the majority of the BBC-PBS Mystery productions and find the quality of this DVD a 10.
THE BLACK TOWER may have been the first P.D. James mystery filmed (1985?) but it is certainly one of James' better tales. She uses the country house setting-in this case Toyton Grange, a nursing home in East Anglia on the North Sea owned and run by a middle-aged man who may have been cured of MS on a visit to Lourdes. Typical of James, there is little bloodshed-her victims more frequently succumb to poison or smothering, leaving suicide as well as homicide a possible cause of death. By the end of the story, six people are dead and a more than a few have come close to the edge.
BBC television productions from the 1980s are akin to the U.S. staged television productions of the late 1960s and 1970s. The BLACK TOWER is a classic example of the era when stagecraft was more important than "special effects." The actors in this production include the wonderful Pauline Collins who played `Shirley Valentine' in the film and on Broadway where she won a Tony Award, and who was a member of the `Upstairs-Downstairs' cast. Other actors include Art Malik and Rachel Kempson from the "Jewel in the Crown" series. Roy Marsden is his usual quizzical self.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dalgliesh I hardly recognize you here March 2, 2005
Format:DVD
The Black Tower is one of my favorite PD James novels. I love the way that James uses dialogue by supporting characters to make one reflect on what Dalgliesh's inner thoughts and feelings might be. This novel has some particularly cutting commentary about disability and how that affects one's perception of oneself and relationships, and some discomforting reflections on the uncomfortability of the physically able in the presence of the disabled and their (the physically able) need to de-sexualize the disabled and aged. This is one of the novels where we see Dalgliesh at his most introspective. He is questioning himself and his profession and has resolved to leave the force and stop being a detective.

However, the ITV version of Black Tower loses all of this. It is only a detective story. Yes, it's good and entertaining. The supporting cast is generally good, and Pauline Collins is really excellent (I liked her performance here even more than in 'Shirley Valentine' where she was also great). I give it 3.5 stars on the merit of the film and the performances by themselves.

But as an adaptation of the book, it really falls short. No doubt, it was the intention to focus on the detective story part of the book. But this is one PD James book that I wish would be remade with another actor giving a more introspective performance (for example Shaw who starred in the lastest PD James adaptations). Don't get me wrong; I've seen all the PD James adaptations with Marsden and I certainly enjoy watching him, but IMHO he never convincingly conveyed the poet aspect of the character. PD James herself has said as much in some of her interviews. This side of his character is at the core of this particular novel (unlike some of the others), and I barely see a similarity between the Dalgliesh being played in ITV adaptation versus the poet Dalgliesh who we get to see in the novel.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Koch Vision presents "THE BLACK TOWER" (2005) (287 mins/Color) -- the 1995 detective novel is the fifth book in the Commander Adam Dalgliesh series by P. D. James --- Unsettled by a brush with death and disenchanted with his job in the Force, Commander Adam Dalgliesh (Roy Marsden) responds to an invitation to visit an old family friend, the chaplain at a private home for the disabled in Dorset --- On arrival he discovers that his host has died suddenly --- Commander Adam Dalgliesh is knee deep into a another series of mysterious deaths in this miniseries based on the popular novel --- When three seemingly disparate murders and two bizarre suicides plague Toynton Grange, where Dalgliesh has gone on vacation, he won't rest until the mystery has been solved.

Under the production staff of:
Ronald Wilson - Director
William Humble - Screenwriter
P.D. James - Novel
John Rosenberg - Producer
Richard Harvey - Original Score
Kevin Waters - Film Editor

The story line deals with Adam Dalgliesh (Roy Marsden), convalescing after a severe illness, arrives at Toynton Grange (Dorset coast), the rest home for the young disabled, just too late to find out why his old friend Father Baddeley (Maurice Denham) had sent for him --- The monk-robed Wilfred Anstey (Martin Jarvis) and his staff are an odd lot, as are the few patients, all in wheelchairs --- There's already been a suspicious suicide, and Dalgleish is not satisfied that the old priest's death was caused by myocarditis alone --- Handicapped by poor health, he finally manages to unearth the secret of the grange --- Unpleasant people, but good final scenes.

the cast includes:
Roy Marsden ... Commander Adam Dalgliesh
Pauline Collins ... Maggie Hewson
Martin Jarvis ...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Roy Marsden is Daghleish (and I hope I've spelled that correctly!)
I waited what seemed an eternity to find this one on dvd and am so very pleased to finally own it. The stories seemed to get ever more gruesome after this one so I prefer to have... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Beth Rainbow-Moonchild
4.0 out of 5 stars Typical PD James
Roy Marsden at his best and the PD James story is intriguing - a must for any PD James lover. Production is a little dated but the story and acting hold up.
Published 19 months ago by C. Dean
4.0 out of 5 stars The black tower makes a great getaway hot spot
This six part 287 minute presentation is my second introduction to P.D. James. Naturally I had to buy the book. Naturally the book is better. Read more
Published on September 2, 2012 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Review
The DVD arrived on time and was in very good condition.
Terrific story, Roy Marsdon an excellent Daglish.
Fun to figure out the killer. Read more
Published on April 16, 2012 by Helaine J. Scholze
4.0 out of 5 stars PD James - The Black Tower purchased through Amazon
This is a classic PD James. Adam Dalgliesh is an ongoing detective in a number of her books. This DVD has brought her characters to life. Read more
Published on April 5, 2011 by lovethemysteries
2.0 out of 5 stars Better than Ambien . . .
If you have trouble sleeping, this series is guaranteed to put you into a deep slumber--with no harmful side effects! Read more
Published on March 3, 2011 by e. verrillo
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic British Mystery
First of all I really love the theme music from this show; it is beautiful and very compelling to me! Read more
Published on March 3, 2011 by David Bower
5.0 out of 5 stars PBS fan Thank you Amazon
I like the acting and wish I had the rest of the series. Thanks Amazon for being it to my attention.
Published on January 28, 2011 by Stanlena
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting outing for Inspector Dalgleish
As P.D. James advanced through the series her novels became increasingly complex, and, thereby, increasingly removed from the general boundaries of the detective story genre. Read more
Published on December 5, 2010 by drkhimxz
2.0 out of 5 stars Stars for P.D. James, not the film
So here's the deal: a priest friend of Dalgliesh invites him to visit him in his place near the Dorset coast. Read more
Published on November 1, 2009 by Richard B. Schwartz
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