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  • Robert Louis Stevenson's The Game of Death [VHS]
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Robert Louis Stevenson's The Game of Death [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jonathan Pryce, David Morrissey, Paul Bettany, Catherine Siggins, Neil Stuke
  • Directors: Rachel Samuels
  • Writers: Lev L. Spiro, Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Producers: Rachel Samuels, John Brady, Roger Corman
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: New Concorde
  • VHS Release Date: May 28, 2002
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000055ZHA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,606 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The first rule of suicide club is that you don't talk about suicide club. Based on a Robert Louis Stevenson story called (appropriately enough) "Suicide Club," The Game of Death is set in England in 1899, a time when taking one's own life was considered beneath cowardice. Made for Roger Corman's New Concorde company, the movie has a quality look and feel not normally associated with Corman's history of low-budget productions, thanks in part to the accomplished photography of Chris Manley and a cast that includes notable actor Jonathan Pryce. David Morrissey stars as Captain Henry Joyce, a man who lost his appetite for life when his true love died six months prior. When an old friend convinces him to hit the town one night, they meet a man who's gambled away not only his family's fortune, but his family's good name as well. This gambler recognizes Henry as a fellow "ruined man," and invites him to join a suicide club where members buy into the opportunity to die without the social stigma of suicide. Pryce runs the club, which randomly assigns victims and "anonymous" killers thanks to a random draw of cards. Henry soon falls for the only female member (Catherine Siggins), who reminds him of his dead wife. This complicates his commitment to the club and to dying. If the movie doesn't quite live up to its promising set-up, well, it's still an excellent example of how good a straight-to-video movie can be. --Andy Spletzer

From the Back Cover

Devastated by the loss of his beloved wife, Captain Henry Joyce Joins a highly secretive club, a place where one can be ushered into eternity quietly, and without scandal. By night, the members play a deadly game of chance^Eone card determines who will die, while another card determines who will carry out the killing. Membership in the club is an irrevocable contract with only one exit clause^Eyour death. However, Joyce begins to regret his decision after he meets the beautiful Sara Wolverton, the club's only female member.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Melomet on February 25, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The Game of Death is the latest film version of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Suicide Club. The Game of Death is well directed by Rachel Samuels and features an impressive cast: Jonathan Pryce, David Morrissey and Catherine Siggins. Beautifully photographed by Chris Manley on location in Ireland(substituting for 1899 London), it tells the story of Captain Henry Joyce(Morrissey)who joins the secret Suicide Club run by the mysterious Mr. Bourne(Pryce). The members of the club join for one purpose: to be murdered by another member of the club. Morrissey begins to regret his decision once he becomes involved with the sole female member of the club, Sara Wolverton(Siggins). This is an excellent choice for fans of Masterpiece Theater and the historical mysteries on Mystery. But be warned, this is a dark tale and features some graphic violence.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Charles S. Tashiro on May 31, 2001
Format: DVD
I purchased "The Game of Death" more or less on a whim. It looked like an interesting, small film that might bear comparison with British television, or low-budget productions like those from Hammer Studios. With its minimal asking price, my only concern was whether or not the film was presented in a widescreen format. (It is, though letterboxed, not 16:9 enhanced.)
The first pleasant surprise was seeing that "Game" was produced by Roger Corman, which is not incidental. In many ways a throwback to Corman's early '60s formula of inexpensive, visually sumptuous literary adaptations, "Game"'s chief virtues are technical and similar to Corman's Poe films. The film is gorgeously lit, the sound is crisp to the point of painful, the costume and production design just rich enough to suggest much more than they show. Corman proves again that you do not have to spend a lot of money to make a decent film.
There is nonetheless a difference between "Game" and Corman's early 60s work. It is part of the charm of those films that you can sense the backlot prop shop beneath the lively surfaces. You don't care much about the rough edges, because you know the films were produced for next to nothing. Here, the uneven performances, the edgy, rushed pace, the repetitive music, in short, all the subtle symptoms of a production that didn't have quite enough time to get things perfect, are out of synch with an environment dressed to the nines.
It is a perverse testament to the film's success in conveying class on the cheap that one is a touch too aware when it doesn't measure up. Jonathan Pryce, for example, is good, but has been better.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kendra on April 21, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm having a hard time accepting that anyone could really like this one at all.

The Game of Death is very very loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson's short story, The Suicide Club and Other Stories (which actually has three parts-- the first being The Story of the Young Man with the Cream Tarts, on which this film is based).

If you haven't read the book, you may want to-- I liked it years ago, but it's definitely not RLS's best work. However, if you haven't seen the film, please do yourself a favor and skip it.

The premise is fascinating-- those who wish to end their lives for whatever reason may do so here. Rather than killing themselves if they are too reluctant to do so, they pay for their "murder", thereby not bringing shame upon their families (and getting a "proper" burial, too). The catch is, of course, that their 'turns' are decided by the draw of cards. And, it may be their turn to murder several times before drawing the card that permits them to get killed by another member. To me, this sounds like a twist on "Strangers on a Train (Two-Disc Special Edition)". However, it was nothing at all like that classic.

Jonathan Pryce plays the leader of this club ruling with high society iron! Once you sign the club's contract, there's no getting out of the club... alive! Obviously, for those who join this is the desired result. However, for those who change their minds and want to live well they're just out of luck (i.e., dead)!

The acting here is very good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lee Armstrong HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 8, 2005
Format: DVD
Rachel Samuels in her first directing project does a good job of conducting this well written script. Robert Louis Stevenson's tale is dark. Set in the late 1800s, it is a period piece that conforms to social conventions of the day where suicide was considered socially taboo. If we updated it to the 21st century, people would be joining the Suicide Club so they could cash in on life insurance. But in this story, all assets of the deceased revert to the club. The club is run by a man named Bourne, played by Jonathan Pryce. Probably Pryce's highest profile role was as the James Bond nemesis in "Tomorrow Never Dies," but he has also been in "Ronin" with Robert DeNiro, "De-Lovely" with Kevin Kline, and will soon be in "Brothers Grimm" with Heath Ledger & Matt Damon. Here, he plays the spooky master of the club who assures a painful lingering death for any who break the rules. David Morrissey who played in "Capt. Corelli's Mandolin" and "Hilary & Jackie" is cast as Henry Joyce who longs to end his life out of grief for his late wife. He is joined by the somewhat bumbling friend Capt. May played by Neil Stuke. They run into Paul Bettany's character Shaw at a tavern who tells them about the Suicide Club. Bettany is a rising star with the recent romantic comedy "Wimbledon," playing a defrocked priest in "The Reckoning" and as a bloodthirsty gangster in "Gangster No. 1." In this film, he does a great job of playing the inebriated ruined man whose fortune he squandered and who now wishes to end it all. As the gentlemen join the others at the club, Joyce is particularly drawn to the only female member of the club, Sara Wolverton, whose husband she allowed to be killed when her military father had him shipped off to certain death in war.Read more ›
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