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93 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - a must-have DVD for the collection
What can I say that hasn't already been said?!

The actors are superb, the story is riveting.

It is indeed a real case. Herbert Rowse Armstrong was executed for the murder of his wife and the attempted murder of a business rival in 1922.

Interestingly, he has the honour of being the only solicitor executed for murder in Britain...
Published on 15 May 2008 by My ID's Not Government Property

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For Michael Kitchen fans
I feel like I have been watching quite a different dvd to other reviewers! Being a Michael Kitchen and a Sarah Miles fan was still not quite enough to help me through to the end, and I have never knowingly given up early before. Both Michael Kitchen and Sarah Miles are fantastic, and I found the adaptation painted a wonderfully claustrophobic and utterly tedious...
Published 21 months ago by Avid Reader


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93 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - a must-have DVD for the collection, 15 May 2008
This review is from: Dandelion Dead [DVD] (DVD)
What can I say that hasn't already been said?!

The actors are superb, the story is riveting.

It is indeed a real case. Herbert Rowse Armstrong was executed for the murder of his wife and the attempted murder of a business rival in 1922.

Interestingly, he has the honour of being the only solicitor executed for murder in Britain!

There's not much else I can add, except that if you love murder mysteries and aren't afraid of a bit of real sadness (the effect on the children is heartrending) then you should definitely consider buying the DVD.

You won't be disappointed - I only wish it could be given more than 5 stars!
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80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting from beginning to end!, 16 Mar 2008
This review is from: Dandelion Dead [DVD] (DVD)
Spoiler alert:

This is a two part movie. We watched the first part yesterday and the second part this evening. It was riveting from start to finish. The first part really reels the viewer in with the gorgeous scenery, charming atmosphere, lovely costumes, and English gents saying "Jolly good" and "Cheerio". What fun! However, the plot is quite a bit darker which is why the film is so good. Set against this beautiful backdrop, the charming Herbert Armstrong decides to murder his wife. And, even though I am always one to side with the victims rather than the perpetrator, this is one time I would say the wife had it coming.

Oh, she was horrible! And, he was just wonderful. She was rude, unloving, and seemed to only have her self-interest at heart. When he'd make overtures to her to talk about their issues she'd rebuff him in the nastiest way possible. He wasn't milquetoast, though-- he seemed to have quite a bit of depth under that placid demeanor. She actually had the nerve to interrupt him at a tennis tournament to tell him to get home for dinner and that it was his bath night!

(This movie is based on true events and, from what I've read on other sites (look up Major Herbert Armstrong), the depictions of these characters were very true to life.)

Consequently, we empathize with Armstrong and don't mind when she drinks her arsenic-laced tea and cocoa. It's exciting to see Armstrong come out of his shell and be actually happy (while she's ill) because we've grown to care about HIM and understand how horrible the wife made his life and the children's lives.

In the second part, though, we change our minds completely about Herbert. He's no longer just a charming happy guy freed from living with an evil shrew-- he's now selfish and unscrupulous. Realizing what an easy time he had killing his wife, he now considers murder as an option for dealing with his business rival.

Had he not attempted this other crime, he would have gotten away with his wife's murder.

I don't usually like true crime films. This falls into the genre, I guess, but it's really a wonderful drama. Michael Kitchen (Foyle's War, To Play the King) is very versatile-- much more than I realized. Everyone in this was just excellent, as was the script and direction.

By the end, the viewer really does want Armstrong to get his comeuppance, but the entire chain of events is so very sad. There are no happy endings for anyone.

The disc has few extras-- bios of the main cast and a little silly quiz.

ADDENDUM: I recently read The Hay Poisoner by Martin Beales. Beales believes Armstrong is innocent and presents evidence to attempt to prove his case. If you really liked this movie and are interested in this case, you might want to read that book, as well. It was also published under the title Dead Not Buried. But, both titles are the exact same book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dandelion Dead ( DVD ), 24 Oct 2009
By 
E. Fuge - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dandelion Dead [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent film with the wonderful actor Michael Kitchen.Having seen it on TV
years ago I have always wanted to own it and will watch it over and over again.The content is very serious but Michaels facial expressions give the film a bit of humour.Great stuff
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars cant help but like the killer, 17 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Dandelion Dead [DVD] (DVD)
set in the early 1920s in the town of books hay on wye,this is based on a true poisoning case that of major herbert rowse armstrong a town solicitor played by michael kitchen,its a great character perfomance as he plays the part of the weak willed but affable and gentlemanly major armstrong,as it goes on i cant help but like armstrong as he poisons his wife and local business rival he seems such a splendid chap and his wife seems well not very charming and his business rival a bit dull and strange,there is a book out that points to the fact that armstrong was not guilty i guess we will never know,but for the price this is excellent entertainment bearing in mind of course that it was real case and its very sad that armstrongs children lost mum and dad in horrible circumstances.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For Michael Kitchen fans, 23 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Dandelion Dead [DVD] (DVD)
I feel like I have been watching quite a different dvd to other reviewers! Being a Michael Kitchen and a Sarah Miles fan was still not quite enough to help me through to the end, and I have never knowingly given up early before. Both Michael Kitchen and Sarah Miles are fantastic, and I found the adaptation painted a wonderfully claustrophobic and utterly tedious atmosphere - so much so that I wanted to scream "get me out of here!". So either a very clever or a rather pedestrian affair - you decide!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ripping Yarn, 12 Nov 2009
By 
Grame Fletcher "Grame" (Northeast UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Made for TV film (Sorry I don't speak American) It's reviewed on IMdb. If you like Michael Kitchen or are a fan of Sarah Miles, like Edwardian period Drama, are considering poisoning your spouse, are, want to be, or are frightened of Freemasons, or like a story told with a degree of moral ambiguity and which engages one's sympathy for the bad guy, then this might interest you.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting!, 16 Mar 2008
Spoiler alert:

This is a two part movie. We watched the first part yesterday and the second part this evening. It was riveting from start to finish. The first part really reels the viewer in with the gorgeous scenery, charming atmosphere, lovely costumes, and English gents saying "Jolly good" and "Cheerio". What fun! However, the plot is quite a bit darker which is why the film is so good. Set against this beautiful backdrop, the charming Herbert Armstrong decides to murder his wife. And, even though I am always one to side with the victims rather than the perpetrator, this is one time I would say the wife had it coming.

Oh, she was horrible! And, he was just wonderful. She was rude, unloving, and seemed to only have her self-interest at heart. When he'd make overtures to her to talk about their issues she'd rebuff him in the nastiest way possible. He wasn't milquetoast, though-- he seemed to have quite a bit of depth under that placid demeanor. She actually had the nerve to interrupt him at a tennis tournament to tell him to get home for dinner and that it was his bath night!

(This movie is based on true events and, from what I've read on other sites (look up Major Herbert Armstrong), the depictions of these characters were very true to life.)

Consequently, we empathize with Armstrong and don't mind when she drinks her arsenic-laced tea and cocoa. It's exciting to see Armstrong come out of his shell and be actually happy (while she's ill) because we've grown to care about HIM and understand how horrible the wife made his life and the children's lives.

In the second part, though, we change our minds completely about Herbert. He's no longer just a charming happy guy freed from living with an evil shrew-- he's now selfish and unscrupulous. Realizing what an easy time he had killing his wife, he now considers murder as an option for dealing with his business rival.

Had he not attempted this other crime, he would have gotten away with his wife's murder.

I don't usually like true crime films. This falls into the genre, I guess, but it's really a wonderful drama. Michael Kitchen (Foyle's War, To Play the King) is very versatile-- much more than I realized. Everyone in this was just excellent, as was the script and direction.

By the end, the viewer really does want Armstrong to get his comeuppance, but the entire chain of events is so very sad. There are no happy endings for anyone.

The disc has few extras-- bios of the main cast and a little silly quiz.

ADDENDUM: I recently read The Hay Poisoner by Martin Beales. Beales believes Armstrong is innocent and presents evidence to attempt to prove his case. If you really liked this movie and are interested in this case, you might want to read that book, as well. It was also published under the title Dead Not Buried. But, both titles are the exact same book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent cast; good story, 16 Feb 2008
By 
Bluebell (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Dandelion Dead [DVD] (DVD)
There are many well-known actors, including Michael Kitchen, Sarah Miles, Peter Vaughan and Bernard Hepton, in this classy production that was originally a TV series from the early 90s. It is, I believe, based on a true case of murder by arsenic poisoning that happened early in the last century.
The story is broken into approximately 30 minute parts that tend to end of a bit of a cliff-hanger--a relic of its TV origins. The series comprises two DVDs. The only disadvantage of renting is that you might have to wait to get the second disc. I had to wait about 2 months and had to remember what had happened up to the half-way mark. But the back-story did come back to mind after a few minutes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward murder story, nicely directed and well acted, 17 May 2012
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This review is from: Dandelion Dead [DVD] (DVD)
This is a straightforward murder story with no real surprises - we know that the hapless solicitor has committed a murder, and he is found out in a fairly mundane way. That said, excellent acting from a surprisingly distinguished cast and good direction and cinematography help to maintain an atmosphere of suspense, and one watches the proceedings with real interest. But there are no really unexpected twists in the tale, and for detective story addicts, the final chapters will come as something of an anti-climax. Michael Kitchen captures the deviousness and essential amorality of the murderer brilliantly well; Lesley Sharp shines in one of the supporting roles. Bernard Hepton and Peter Vaughan, as always, are very much worth watching. A good film, in short, but whether one would want to see it again and again is perhaps rather debateable.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine drama, with a weed of doubt in it for me, 16 July 2012
By 
DH Dixon "whitespeck" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dandelion Dead [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of the few great TV productions from the 1990s (along with Longitude and Dance To The Music of Time) with a great cast. Kitchen is engaging and the drama is compelling. Even so I have a criticism, which is that Major Armstrong always insisted on his innocence, and so there is a potential miscarriage of justice in this case. The direction of this account seems biased towards his guilt, leaving me to doubt some of the dialogue in places. Even so, if I hadn't watched this I wouldn't have recognized the possibility that he was innocent.

Major Armstrong's conviction for murder was based on the unlikely notion that an ex-army major from the first world war would send poisonous chocolates to another ex-veteran who had been injured in that war, also that he would send them to him with holes drilled into the bases filled with plugs of arsenic that he had been buying openly for weeding purposes from the chemist who was the father in law of the intended victim - and this after his wife is supposed to have died the same way. The chemist would know how to recognize the symptoms. I am left wanting to know more about the scones incident. This case doesn't look like it was detected properly. I don't think he dunnit.

I just Googled Nux Vomica and found that it contained Strychnine, so I Googled Strychnine and found that the symptoms of that are the same as Mrs Armstrong's illness and death. The symptoms of Arsenic are different. So it looks to me that her Nux Vomica was the cause of her death. She evidently died from cumulative Strychnine poisoning.

This is a powerful and engaging drama, made more so by the apparent injustice in it. For various reasons, highly recommended.
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