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Inspector Morse - The Dead Of Jericho [DVD]
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The first ever episode of the popular crime series sees Chief Inspector Morse (John Thaw) investigating the apparent suicide of a woman he was romantically interested in. When it transpires that the woman was pregnant, Morse suspects her former employer.
When Inspector Morse first appeared on television in 1987, nobody could have predicted that it would run into the next century, maintaining throughout a quality of scripts and storylines that raised the genre of the detective series to a new level. Much of its success can be attributed to John Thaw's total immersion in the role. Morse is a prickly character and not obviously easy to like. As a detective in Oxford with unfulfilled academic propensities, he is permanently excluded from a world of which he would dearly love to be a part. He is at odds with that world--and with his colleagues in the police force--most of the time. Passionate about opera and "proper beer", he is a cultural snob for whom vulgarity causes almost physical pain. As a result, he lives from one disillusionment to the next. And he is scarred--more deeply than he would ever admit--by past relationships. But he also has a naïve streak and, deep down, sensitivity, which makes him a fascinating challenge for women.
At the heart of Morse's professional life is his awkward partnership with Detective Sergeant Lewis, the resolutely ordinary, worldly sidekick who manages to keep his boss in an almost permanent state of exasperation while retaining his grudging respect. It's a testament to Kevin Whateley's consistently excellent performance that from such unpromising material Lewis becomes as indispensable to the series as Barrington Pheloung's hypnotic, classic theme music. Morse's investigations do occasionally take him abroad to more exotic locations, but throughout 14 successful years of often gruesome murders, the city of Oxford itself became a central character in these brooding two-hour dramas: creator Colin Dexter stating he finally had to kill Morse off because he was giving Oxford a bad reputation as a dangerous place! -- Piers Ford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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No, my remarks have to do with a bit of market hanky-panky perpetrated by Amazon and passed along to any other merchant attempting to sell this particular item to consumers. A 29,95 price tag is over the top for what turns out to be Episode 7, a single disc from the B Collection of MORSE, titled: Last Bus to Woodstock.
Inquiries were made to Amazon and prospective sellers regarding product details since none were available in the listing. No one had any information. Silly me went ahead and ordered, assuming the high price was an indication of a bundle of episodes, if not the entire series! That theory had possibilities since other sources are selling the entire series for as little as 35 GBP. Love a bargain, don't you?
Now, let's hope Amazon fills in the missing product details. Hmmm...
At first, the pace of the drama was slow and a little bit irritating but I recognised John Thaw from that superb action show, the "Sweeney" and Patrick Troughton as the irrepressible second Doctor Who. It did not take long before I was hooked by the simple device of trying to figure out whodunnit. Usually in these things, especially Columbo, it does not take that long to figure out but in this case it was clear that there were red herrings and little cul-de-sacs aplenty to intrigue the viewer.
The main character was often morose and grumpy, with no time for the trivia of life and did not bear fools gladly. Unlike most other shows, this Morse did not pander to popular culture, utilizing it to sell the show. Instead it was clearly aimed at a more highbrow audience yet through a medium that was often the subject of disdain in those circles.
Pretty soon the two hours of leisurely paced drama was over and that was IT. As I lived near Oxford I sought out the locations on my next visit. It took some time to digest the content of the drama over and above the story itself, the insider's view of the contradictions of the city of Oxford, the juxtaposition of town and gown etc.
But getting back to the story itself. This is more of a movie than a TV show. It is a gripping, compelling piece of police drama set against a backdrop of relative opulence and wealth as well as against a working class city background. It is a story of a dreaming city, of intellectuals and academics, a story of the mundane, of passions and secrets. It is the story of a man of Oxford and at once against the rituals and spectacle that the University has to offer.
At the end of this show, I came quietly. I have had the pleasure to have enjoyed every minute of Morse - being entertained and perplexed until the final moment when the killer is revealed.
This is a great introduction to a marvellous run. One last thought - how measured and appropriate the incidental music and theme are.
Full marks all round!
John Thaw was an actor of high acclaim. He starred as the melancholy and romantic Inspector Morse. And, as we find out, he never used his first name. He found pleasure in ale, classical music and difficult crossword puzzles. In this episode we meet Sergeant Lewis, played by Kevin Whately. Morse uses his intellect and lust for truth to investigate death and murder in the English university town of Oxford. He loved women, and as the series proceeds we meet many of them, however, he was unable to find a permanent relationship.
This first episode, 'The Dead of Jericho' was first seen in January 1987. Morse meets a young woman, Anne Stavely, played by a very young, Gemma Jones, at a classical chorale. Morse is taken with her, and they go out for drinks. He discovers as he sees her home, that she is involved with someone else. Hope makes plans, however, to pick her up for their big day when the chorale sings in public. He goes to pick her up, finds the door open but no one is home. He later learns she has been found dead, hanging. This is not his case, but he hones in. After a bit, the Inspector in charge of the case is promoted to Superintendent, and Morse is put in charge.
Thus begins the famous Morse/Lewis partnership.
Morse suspects foul play and sets out to discover the truth. The esteemed, Anthony Minghella wrote the episode, and it was directed by Alastair Reid. This episode still holds up today. It is fun to see these actors playing in the prime of their lives. You can go home again, in a way.
Recommended. prisrob 04-06-14
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Originally aired in the UK on the 6th January 1987.
Book published in 1981
Colin Dexter Appearance - He walks through the...Read more