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The Sally Lockhart Mysteries - Shadow in the North


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Product Details

  • Actors: Billie Piper
  • Directors: John Alexander
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • 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: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: November 4, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001EJZNDU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,523 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

The year is 1878, and Sally Lockhart (Billie Piper, Mansfield Park) has started her own financial consulting business. When her client, Miss Walsh, loses a fortune from the unexpected collapse of the Anglo-Baltic shipping line, Sally is determined to find out why so many of their ships have mysteriously vanished without trace. Hoping to recover her client s money, she turns for help to her friends, Frederick (JJ Feild, Northanger Abbey) and Jim, who have started up their own detective agency.

While pursuing their enquiries into the disappearance of the steamship Ingrid Linde, the three sleuths find themselves investigating stage magician Alistair MacKinnon who is being threatened by mysterious thugs, and a psychic medium who seems to be tapping into shady business secrets all of which draws them unwittingly into a dark and sinister plot fuelled by the dealings of the cruel and heartless industrialist Axel Bellmann, whose business is built on a horrifying secret.

Customer Reviews

Not up to the usual PBS standards.
mcc
It retained the elements of economic intrigue, feminism, and mystery in the Victorian era.
SD-SU
I love period pieces that are well done.
dld

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 30, 2008
"The Shadow in the North" is adapted from the 2nd book in Philip Pulman's "Sally Lockhart Mysteries" series, which cast an intrepid young woman as an unlikely detective in Victorian England. It takes place in 1878, 6 years after "The Ruby in the Smoke". Sally Lockhart (Billie Piper) is now in her early 20s and has gone into business for herself as a financial consultant. Fred Garland (J.J. Feild), meanwhile, is officially in the detective business with Jim Taylor (Matt Smith). An elderly client of Sally's suspects fraud when she loses her savings on a seemingly solid investment, so Sally sets out to determine if there is something sinister behind the Swedish businessman Axel Bellman (Jared Lewis) who walked away from the bankruptcy. A conjurer named Alistair MacKinnon (Julian Rhind-Tutt) insists to Fred and Jim that he is being pursued by a murderer he saw in a vision, who is none other than Mr. Bellman.

This BBC production of "The Shadow in the North" allows for much more intricacy of plot and character development than its predecessor The Ruby in the Smoke, which had to devote most of its time to introducing characters. Sally is reluctant to give up her hard-earned independence so shuns any thought of marriage to Fred Garland, who is obviously in love with her. Glimpses of the popular spiritualist movement and Bram Stoker at the Lyceum Theatre are fun historical references. The "steam gun" at the center of the mysteries was apparently inspired by the real Nordenfelt Gun, a multi-barrel machine gun produced in the 1870s by Thorsten Nordenfelt, whose name resembles the fictional inventor of the steam gun, Arne Nordenfels. Sally is more worldly, confident, and perhaps more stubborn than she was at 16, and overall this mystery is less rushed, more satisfying, and the mix of characters from all walks of life creates a nice balance.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By D.S.Thurlow TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 28, 2008
"The Shadow in the North" is the second Masterpiece Theater installment of the Sally Lockhart Mysteries, based on the novels by Philip Pullman. Sally Lockhart (Billie Piper from "Mansfield Park") is a very independent, and very unusual, self-employed female living in Victorian England. Sally bills herself as a financial consultant, but she and her photographer boyfriend Fred (JJ Feild from "Northanger Abbey") and their would-be playwright friend Jim are really a private detective agency.

The case begins with two separate threads, a old woman seeking restitution for the bankruptcy of a shipping firm, and a Scottish magician seeking protection from a mysterious man whom he saw commit a murder in a vision. Sally and Fred pursue their respective investigations, only to find them intertwining in the person of an exceedingly ruthless businessman named Axel Bellman. Bellman does not take kindly to being investigated, and will threaten Sally's reputation, her friends, and her life, before making her a shocking offer. The ending of this complicated and hard-boiled mystery features more than one plot twist.

The story is richly populated with a variety of Victorian-era characters, including a wealthy heiress, a woman who conducts surprisingly insightful seances, a seamtress who hides from the light, a mystified patent clerk, and a few dangerous thugs. The narrative is melodramatic and sometimes awkwardly modern, with an ending that would seem contrived were it not for the studious attention paid to the occult aspects of the story.

"The Shadow in the North" is highly recommended as an entertaining and different installment of Masterpiece Mystery.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By C. Holm on October 8, 2008
I am sure that this is great but having seen the BBC version versus the PBS version, let me just say that the very critical scene of Fred proposing and her accepting is not in the PBS version. It isn't like you saw anything bad. But you did get to see Fred and Sally having a romantic moment, when she confesses that she didn't realize she is more with him than without. I refuse to buy this version.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Claudia N. Davidsen on July 24, 2009
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We saw this on Masterpiece Theatre--or was it Mystery Theatre--whatever. What a nice job they did on bringing the books to television. We bought the books immediately. The family devoured them. As soon as the videos came out, we grabbed them. If you have kids, be sure that you have these in the house. I hope BBC will do all the Sally Lockhart books.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 2, 2009
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I have read all the Phillip Pullman novels and this second of a trilogy of TV movie versions is true to the book. I especially like Billie Piper in her role and I was not disappointed.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Byron Kolln HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 24, 2012
THE SHADOW IN THE NORTH is the BBC's second (and sadly the last) of their "Sally Lockhart Mysteries" series, based on the novels of Philip Pullman. The story picks up several years after the events of "Ruby in the Smoke", and much has changed in the lives of Sally and her friends.

Setting herself up in her own accountancy business, Sally (Billie Piper) has little time for crime-solving... instead handing over that mantle to Frederick Garland (JJ Feild), who now dabbles in amateur detectives along with Jim (Matt Smith). Rosa (Hayley Atwell) has married Reverend Bedwell (David Harewood), so naturally Fred wishes to know when Sally wants to set their own wedding date. Even if Sally wanted to, the events that are about to unravel will delay their plans...

Fred and Jim are asked to help protect a magician, Alistair MacKinnon (Julian Rhind-Tutt), who believes he is being stalked by a person he has seen committing a murder in a vision, which is also experienced by clairvoyant Nellie Budd (Dona Kroll); whilst Sally's latest client has lost thousands of pounds in a bankrupt shipping firm. Could the two incidents be linked?

SHADOW IN THE NORTH is a deliciously darker, densely-packed story which in many ways is more satisfying than the earlier "Ruby in the Smoke". Populating SHADOW... are some fascinating characters, and there is a moodier edge to the events in this film.

I'm not sure why the BBC decided to cut short their series of "Sally Lockhart Mysteries". One suspects it was mainly a budgeting problem (design-wise it seems that nothing was spared on the screen in either "Ruby..." or "Shadow..."). The way things are left at the climax of SHADOW..., however, there is a satisfying closure. Despite this, author Philip Pullman beautifully continued Sally's story for two additional books, filling in the fate of vanished orphan Adelaide in the fourth instalment, "The Tin Princess".
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