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  • Life & Crimes of William Palmer [DVD] [1998] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Life & Crimes of William Palmer [DVD] [1998] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A2IP96
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,044 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By K. A. Newton TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 July 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought an inexpensive multi region dvd player especially so I could watch this series again.

For some reason I have never seen the series offered in Region 2 dvds.

It was well worth the expense. edit = I only paid £23-99 - check out other sellers.

I was a little afraid of ordering from the US but everything worked out ok and the film was very fast arriving.

Unlike so many actors I find that when I watch Keith Allen I forget that it is him and become engrossed in his character in the story.

I thought at first the first disc was defective as the skin colours and red shades were not good. I then found out the scart plug was not quite fully pushed into my TV. When it was pushed back in properly the picture was perfect.

I have watched it twice since the film arrived and it is so good.

So don't be afraid to order things from US sellers through Amazon. It is very easy.
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Format: DVD
This is a great series, I watched it on t.v. and looked forward to the DVD...still waiting! It is bad enough having to buy U.S. dramas (like The Closer)on region 1, but it is criminal (no pun intended) to only have this option for a British drama
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By Mrs L Hosell on 19 May 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
No antimony on my toast, please! 4 April 2006
By Tracy Hodson - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There's something mesmerizing about the personality of the poisoner, especially when he's a scientist/doctor. The clinical detachment all scientists need becomes sociopathic when the experimental question becomes: "What will happen when I put THIS much poison in my wife's jam, and how will the same dose affect my infant daughter? Will she lick my fingers, or will the taste make her spit it out?"

Dr. William Palmer, a young and skilled doctor who was at first an asset to the small town of Rugely, proved to be worse than incompetent. Extraordinarily arrogant and daring, he murdered nearly everyone who inconvenienced him, as well as others who he saw simply as handy subjects for experimentation with various toxins, mostly antimony, a heavy metal which was then used medicinally, in small-dosed mixtures . His murders were sometimes a solution to his ever-increasing gambling debts, but it seems that mostly he was, like all poisoners, merely fascinated and addicted to the power of life and death he held over all who came within reach. Poisoners, especially serial ones, seem to have a severe "god-complex" often toying with a victim's life for weeks or months, watching and documenting the effects of their work, and sometimes even deciding to let the victim live to further reinforce their own sense of omnipotence.

William Palmer was charming, a competent doctor, had won for himself a wife of character, was a successfull seducer of young women, and had dear friends, all of whom he eventually killed off, yet was not caught for many, many years. In the 19th century illness resulted in death as often as not, so it was the ideal time for a poisoner to do his work. Many famous poisoning cases date from this period, as little was understood about the mechanincs of death, babies died frequently of childhood diseases (hence the need to have as many kids as possible to increase the odds of one or two surviving to adulthood), and treatment of adults consisted of dosing them with odd mixtures of handmade compounds, leeching, cupping, bleeding, and other esoteric "remedies" that had low success results.

What made Palmer's case so astonishing was that he'd been carrying out his diabolical experiments pretty much in plain sight, relying on his reputation to keep him safe. In this film, we see him watching with cool interest the effects of his actions, and Keith Allen gives him a handsome charisma that turns to chilly detachment once the experiment is underway. Jayne Ashbourne is excellent as his loving and increasingly anguished wife, mourning her lost babies and blaming herself (though she starts to connect a few dots, but not in time).

The claustrophobia of small-town Victorian life is well-captured in this well-made BBC/Masterpiece Theatre production. We even see that with everyone butting into everyone else's business (as is usual in small towns), suspicion was growing, but no one had dared to speak--no one could really be sure, so they kept silent. Richard Coyle (the looney Geoffrey from "Coupling") is very good as Palmer's closest friend, Cook, whose demise brought about Palmer's ruin. After all his crimes, only this one could be pinned on him, as he'd panicked, used Strychnine (a much more dramatically symptomed toxin than the low-key antimony), and had had clear and obvious motives for the killing.

All of the performances are good, the story is well-told with Allen completely believable as Dr. Palmer (you may recognize him from his small, but equally charismatic and criminal roles in "Shallow Grave" and "Trainspotting"); Keith Allen certainly makes an impression, and that quality is used to good advantage in "The Life and Crimes of William Palmer." He was certainly an enigmatic man; in this film we mostly get to know him through watching him as the "pure scientist" who doesn't see his victims as people, merely as subjects whose responses to the various poisons are a matter of curiousity. Allen's performance is so successful that goose bumps, watching him in action, are guaranteed.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By JamesJames - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Keith Allen is a decidedly gifted actor, and perfectly cast in the unnerving lead, here. Well-supported by an equally strong cast. Solid directing. Beautiful, haunting score. The only complaint is that the story ended. But after murdering all those nice loved ones, I guess it was only a matter of time. This is rich, merciless stuff, indeed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Beguiling Doctor: Poisoned Jam and Poisoned Betrayal 4 Nov. 2011
By Meredith L. Burton - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"The Life and Crimes of William Palmer" was a truly gripping film. Truth is definitely more bizarre than fiction.

England, 1850's. Doctor William Palmer has returned to his childhood home in the village of Rugeley with his wife, Ann. He is a greatly respected medical practitioner and suave gentleman who gains the trust of all his patients. However, Palmer's obsession with gambling lures him into traps from which he cannot escape. The seemingly kind doctor will use his medical knowledge to calculatingly and systematically remove any obstacle that may stand in his way. Will Palmer's dastardly deeds catch up with him? If so, how many lives will be taken before justice prevails?

This movie was utterly enthralling because it is truly frightening to consider how many people respected Palmer and came to him for medical consultation. Perhaps the most heartbreaking aspect of this film was the realization that five of Palmer's infant children lost their lives. What is most rage-inducing about this fact is that the doctor can quietly say, without anyone being able to prove otherwise, "It was God's will". The sheer audacity! The scenes with Palmer and his children are truly chilling. We watch in horrified fascination as he coddles them, allowing them to lick poisoned jam from his fingers.
I was also touched by the fact that Palmer's wife, Ann, truly loved her husband despite his many flaws. Unlike most of these movies, where a henpecked husband does away with his wife, this film was refreshing in its portrayal of a loving but tortured woman. In Ann's last moment's of life, she still whispered to her husband, "I always loved you".

The acting in this film was exceptional. Keith Allen is chilling as the charismatic Palmer; bringing a congenial yet psychopathic ruthlessness to his role. His voice is gentle, and he will lure the viewer into a honeyed trap. The other performers were equally excellent. Please give this riveting true story a chance. God bless you all.
Five Stars 6 Sept. 2014
By MysticKat74 - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Great transaction! Fast shipping, quality, great experience all round! Buy with confidence! Thanks so much!
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