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  • The Doorbell Rang: A Nero Wolfe Mystery [VHS]
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The Doorbell Rang: A Nero Wolfe Mystery [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Timothy Hutton, Maury Chaykin
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: A & E Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: August 20, 2001
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005MAM9
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,481 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

When eccentric millionaire Rachel Bruner arrives at the doorstep of detective Nero Wolfe's brownstone, she brings an extraordinary offer, a disturbing story of harassment, and an FBI tail. Only after Wolfe takes the case does the murder come to light. The premiere episode of A&E's original series based on Rex Stout's beloved Nero Wolfe novels, THE DOORBELL RANG sees the epicurean detective (Maury Chaykin) and his dogged assistant Archie Goodwin (Oscar® winner Timothy Hutton, who also directed) taking on J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. As the story unfolds, however, it becomes clear that the Agency is not guilty of murder-in this case, anyway-and their reluctant cooperation is essential to capturing a killer. Sophisticated and suspenseful, THE DOORBELL RANG captures the wit and style that have made Wolfe one of fiction's most famous detectives.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 2003
The Doorbell Rang, starring Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin, and Maury Chaykin as Nero Wolfe, is a suberb adaptation of Rex Stout's 1965 novel. Nero Wolfe takes on "the big fish" J. Edgar Hoover to earn the biggest fee of his career. With the able assistance of Archie Goodwin, his intrepid legman, Wolfe triumphs over the F.B.I., earns his client's admiration (Mrs. Bruner: "Is there anything you can't do?"), and solves a murder for the cops along the way.

This 2001 TV movie is brilliant. Producers Michael Jaffe, Timothy Hutton, and Howard Braunstein did everything right - the cast, the dialogue, the sets, the wardrobe, and the music. Everything that Rex Stout put into the story can be seen in this video. You will feel as if J. Edgar Hoover's minions are watching you, and you'll want to call Archie for an appointment with Nero Wolfe to get them to lay off.

Watch it once and you'll be hooked on Rex Stout and hungry for more - videos (The Golden Spiders VHS is also available at Amazon) and the Rex Stout novels (Bantam Books-The Rex Stout Library are available at Amazon as well as several Audio Editions books on tape).

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By George R Dekle on July 19, 2002
At first blush, Nero Wolfe seems the very reincarnation of Sherlock Holmes' smarter brother. Wolfe's corpulence, indolence, sagacity, and appreciation for the finer things of life can come only from the model of Mycroft Holmes. But Wolfe is more complex than that. On a second look, he might be Dashiel Hammet's Continental Op, finally grown too fat to continue field work. (The Continental Op is the Man With No Name, who served as the model for Bruce Willis' character in "Last Man Standing").
It's easier to recognize the complexity of Archie Goodwin's antecedents. He has the energy of Sherlock Holmes, the loyalty of Dr. Watson, the wit of Philip Marlowe, and the gritty toughness of Sam Spade.
In "The Doorbell Rang" these two do something that was unheard of in 1965 when the story was written--they take on the FBI. Their client is being stalked by agents of the FBI, and they must stop it. Incidentally, they have to solve a murder in which the prime suspects are three FBI agents.
They solve the mystery, cage the FBI's dogs, earn their obscene fee, and nobody but the viewer lives happily ever after.
This video was my second taste of Nero Wolfe, the first being "Cop Killer," an audiobook from Durkin Hayes (available on Amazon.com). It appeared on A&E as a two part serial. I viewed the first episode and missed the second. The mystery so intrigued me, I could not wait for the rerun. I bought the book on Amazon.com and read it in one sitting. You can bet I had my VCR set for the rerun.
Wolfe in print takes a little getting used to. Wolfe on video is loveable from the start. The fine nuances of Wolfe's character, and his admirable qualities, are not as readily discernible from the books as they are from the A&E productions. It takes at least three written Wolfe stories to get the reader hooked, one video will do. Long may the A&E series run.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David J. Koukol on November 18, 2002
In this, the second of A & E's adaptations of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries, the cast and crew settle in and really deliver the goods.
Maury Chaykin is, as he was in the first adaptation, The Golden Spiders, perfect as the title character. He can do wrong on screen (one wonders what Rex Stout would make of this were the author alive today?). Timothy Hutton has really discovered what makes the character of Archie Goodwin tick and the chemistry between the two captures the essence of the relationship as seen in the novels. Wolfe and Archie are classic detective characters. Wolfe has his roots in the English "Drawing Room" mystery and Archie with antecendants in the American "Hard Boiled" school...but these characters, and their multi-layered interactions, grew far beyond that into something truly unique. And it's all up there on screen for us to enjoy time and again.
The telefilm also features one of Stout's most complex and intense plots as Wolfe is hired to tackle J. Edgar Hoover's FBI on behalf of a wealthy client. Can Wolfe's genius prove greater than his hubris?
Watch out for a classic scene between Inspector Lionel T. Cramer (well played by Bill Smitrovich) and Archie!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Abigail Kessler on February 3, 2003
Everything about this episode (as with all the others in the series)--from the music to the cinematography, the set to the costume design, the casting, the directing, and certainly the acting--is absolutely great. The attention to detail is wonderful. Like a fine painting, it bears re-study time and time again. Upon each return, one is likely to discover yet another detail, yet another facet of this rare and precious gem. Timothy Hutton (Archie, director, and co-executive producer), Maury Chaykin (Wolfe), Michael Small (music) and everyone involved should be very proud.
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