2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The third series of Tales of the Unexpected shows a slight dip in standards after the first two with more average than good stories comprising the nine episodes. Generally excellent performances though that do compensate.
The Flypaper - I'd avoid reading the lead review which mentions this in its title as it completely gives the story away. It is one of the few stories that has genuine shock value and is an unsettling view. A young girl who went missing has been discovered dead; subsequently another young girl is the object of sinister attention from a 'dirty old man' Very much reflective of its time whilst still being relevant now which is a sign of great drama. Unsavoury of course but to maintain the view that this should not have been made/aired is preposterous. Roald Dahl in his introduction states that he wished he had wrote it and who can blame him.
A Picture of a Place - In contrast this is a safe and humdrum tale variations of which have sprung up everywhere. A dishonest dealer thinks he has discovered an unknown Constable painting in an old ladies home. Doesnt get much more interesting than that.
Proof of Guilt - Average story of a murder in a locked office containing only two people the victim and one other. But where is the murder weapon? Quite poorly done in a lot of ways as regards basic police procedure. It would have occurred to me that the guy had simply dropped the weapon out of the window to an associate below who whisked it off (this wasn't actually what happened) but this obvious theory wasn't even considered.
Vengeance is Mine Inc - I couldn't stand the two young males in this with their over exuberance regarding setting up a revenge business for the wealthy against gossip columnists who besmirch their characters. There was one nice touch in it but it otherwise defied credibility with their '£150 for a black eye' business that was going to make them a fortune. Dreary and dull.
A Girl Can't Always Have Everything - It was ok. Joan Collins is always very watchable. Jealousy and skullduggery abound with a rich old geezer in the middle between Pauline and Joan Collins.
Parson's Pleasure - This one was very enjoyable, totally telegraphed but a good watch. John Gielgud displays his formidable acting talents as a con man/vicar with an interest in antiques.
The Stinker - Another really good performance by the cast especially Denholm Elliot. A man haunted by the taunting he recieved at school accepts a new position from one of his former tormentors. Will it all end in tears? Good episode.
I'll Be Seeing You - All a bit flat to me. I've never much liked Anthony Valentine as an actor, he's one of those faces you see often without actually knowing his name. Another understated performance in a story that should have been better than it turned out to be. An unhappily married man has an affair with a younger woman who's going blind and needs money for experimental surgery. His cruel wife knows but refuses to divorce him. How to resolve this pickle?
The Party - They should have named this one 'The Stinker' really boring tale about a bloke who has worked for a firm for 40 years who is miffed about the arrangements for the office Christmas party.
More average than there are good episodes but the good episodes are strong. For half or more of the episodes Roald Dahl doesn't introduce the tales which is a real loss. Not sure whether this is the start of the rot or not but not bad overall.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2006
Slowly the Tales are being released onto DVD. This set features twelve stories from the famous series. One of them is the notorious performance from Bill Maynard who believes he is dishonestly obtaining a priceless painting from an eccentric old lady. A similar tale involves John Gielgud this time trying to obtain an item of Chippendale furniture. Both of these performances are simply brilliant.
I'm pleased to say that my favourite, A girl can't have everything, story is on this set. It involves two theatrical actresses Pauline and Joan Collins. A admirer advanced in years shows interest in them and jealousy bubbles under the surface. Great performances here by capable actresses at the start of their careers.
This set will be certain to please everyone and with twelve episodes on this set and further to follow, you are sure to want to have this in your collection.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2009
Like many people, this takes me back to the 80s when I used to settle down on a Sunday night to a Wagon Wheel and a bottle of strawberry Crusha and watch these enjoyable and surprisingly taut mini-thrillers. Some of the best actors of the day graced these storylines and I often wondered how Anglia tv could afford to pay their presumably inflated fees while spending so little on the wobbly sets and ropey lighting! I don't suppose I ever will know now...
And of course, there was always that fascinating 'lovely-lady' in silhouette who writhed so seductively to the theme music during the opening credits at the start of each programme!
Various of these episodes have left my consciousness altogther; however some of the better-written ones gradually heave up their trace memories as you watch - which can be a disconcerting yet generally pleasant experience.
Many of the episodes are wonderfully cheesy - serving up the final denouement with unabashed disregard for plausibility. None-the-less, the famous sting-in-the-tail revealed in the final seconds no doubt appeals to all those with a penchant for 'natural justice.' (!)
I imagine that some of the episodes could never be made today as they would be deemed 'politically incorrect', however, it could be argued that this is part of the secret pleasure of re-watching these old war-horses: there is a paradoxical innocence mixed with a rather unsalubrious, probably unconscious reflecting of that period's attitudes towards issues like race, gender and sexuality.
I always like how there is often a ridiculously over the top depiction of the "high life"; the way rich people are automatically meant to live, with an excruciating array of Rolls Royces, "swanky" apartments and expensive suits - that juxtaposed rather obviously and crassly with the way poor people were presumed to live (and speak - cue an array of cod working-class accents where necessary!) It was very class conscious and English when you look back on it. All very impressive to a schoolboy of 13 as I was at the time!
One episode that I do not recall, and never want to see again is the episode called The Flypaper, originally transmitted in August 1980, starring Stephanie Cole and Alfred Burke. It concerns the successful entrapment of a lonely schoolgirl by a late middle-aged married couple who pose as strangers but are actually working together. At the beginning of the story another young girl's body is found on the outskirts of this isolated town, and the final "twist" leaves us in no dobut that this will be the fate of this girl as well. Considering this episode was transmitted to an audience still distressingly familiar with the likes of The Moors Murderers, I am stunned this this depiction of a male/famale abduction team ever saw the light of day. How was it possible that at no point in the filming and planning of this programme, no one voiced their concerns that the content was deeply disturbing and sickeningly reminscient of real life crime that should never be reprocessed as enjoyable entertainment. I doubt if you could even transmit this episode today and perhaps that is why I have never seen it on the various tv re-runs this series has enjoyed.
The other episodes are sterling stuff, including a superb appearance by Joan Collins which returned Tales of the Unexpected to what it does best:delightful morality plays in which greedy or generally nasty people always get their comeuppance....
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2008
This 3rd series is the second one I have bought from this collection. Having previously purchased the first series I was keen to collect more of these cleverly written tales. Having watched all episodes now from this series I was unexpectedly surprised at how gripping the stories were. I thoroughly enjoyed 7 of the 9 tales. The one tale which I thought was extremely boring was "Proof of Guilt". It's basically a who dunnit tale with a stupid ending in my opinion. However, I would definately recommend this series.
There is one story which comes across as very creepy indeed. I found "The Flypaper" quite sickening to be honest. Basically its about a stranger who starts following a school girl and without giving too much away manages to capture her. The best ones are "Parsons Pleasure", which is about a crooked antiques dealer who gets his just deserts, and "I'll be seeing you" where a man's love for another woman comes back to haunt him.
Having got series 1 and 3 now I can say that theses dvds are very generously packaged, in that there is very good artwork on the cases, with plenty of detail about each episode inside the case, as well as on the reverse. Well worth the money as most dvds these days are simply bare inside. I will definately be buying more of these series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2012
the flypaper alone makes this worth buying,very cold,chilling and unusual piece of tv.great acting,camera angles and errie music-sound effects.
the rest fail to live up to this but still some good quality tv,the landylady from series 1 is also another i would put up there with the flypaper.
quick review but felt the flypaper deserved a mention.
on 7 September 2012
This series is the first that Roald Dahl is not a featured writer. He does contribute to a few great story's but other writers contribute to the bulk of the storys. Luckily the quality is maintained throughout . My favorite is the greedy antiques dealer who tries to con old people but gets what he deserves.
The twists, scary stories, thrillers, comedy, and of course unexpected endings that no-one would predict.
Series 3 keeps the high standards, great acting, directing and enjoyable stories.