Malice Aforethought (2005)

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Released 7-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 138:00
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (69:06) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Blair

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Ronnie Masterson
Phyllis Ryan
Fiona O'Shaughnessy
Barbara Flynn
Ben Miller
Megan Dodds
Peter Vaughan
Lucy Brown
Kate O'Toole
Gemma Reeves
Joe Beattie
Orla O'Rourke
Richard Armitage
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $29.95 Music Stephen McKeon

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    This is an English Granada television production made in 2005, based upon a novel by Francis Iles which is actually a pseudonym for Anthony Berkeley Cox, a journalist who wrote for Punch magazine in the early 20th century. The novel was written in 1931 and set in the early 1930s. Cox wrote many novels under a variety of names. This series was shown recently on the ABC here in Australia, and is made up of two episodes each of just over an hour.

    The story is a murder thriller set in a small English village called Wyvern's Cross. It could probably be vaguely lumped in with recent Agatha Christie productions such as the Miss Marple or Poirot series, however, this production is a bit different with a much higher bonking quotient. The main protagonists are Julia Bickleigh (Barbara Flynn), an older woman, who is from a well-to-do family but has married a younger man, Dr Edmond Bickleigh (Ben Miller), the village doctor. The marriage is not a happy one as Julia is a bit of a b**** and Edmond is sleeping around. His current squeeze is Ivy Ridgeway (Lucy Brown) who believes she is in love with him and that he will leave Julia and marry her. Into this mix comes Madeline Cranmere (Megan Dodds) a mysterious woman who has moved into 'The Hall', the country house in the village. She is unmarried and keen to get involved socially in the village life. Edmond is immediately attracted to her and with her encouragement they start to see more of each other. When Julia discovers what has been going on she threatens to throw Edmond out if he does not stop seeing Madeline. He decides to fix her for good. The series then follows the intrigues, gossip and revelations through to an interesting and different conclusion.

    This is an excellent production with great costumes, fine acting from an ensemble cast, pretty locations (actually in Ireland) and some excellent cinematography and lighting. If you enjoy English costume murder mysteries this is one of the better ones I have seen. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is very good but does have some issues.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. The bitrate was uniformly high. Shadow detail was fine but not spectacular with some dark scenes being a little murky.

    The colour was very good throughout with no major issues to report.

    Artefacts included some rather obvious but irregular edge enhancement such as at 20:35 and 59:39 in episode 1, some mild aliasing such as at 18:38, 43:37 on a car grille and 54:34 in episode 1 and 19:27 in episode 2 on a waistcoat. There was also some very minor macro-blocking in some backgrounds which may annoy those with projectors but would probably not be noticeable to other viewers.

    There are no subtitles.

    The layer change occurs at 69:06 in episode 1 and was not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 256 Kb/s. The higher bit rate of this track makes for excellent sound considering it is only a 2.0 track 

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Stephen McKeon is excellent , really fitting the piece well and significantly adding to the feel of the show. The music sounds very good on this DVD transfer.

    The surround speakers added atmosphere, especially to the music when played with Dolby ProLogicII. The result was surprisingly immersive.

    The subwoofer was nicely integrated and added bass, especially to the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu is very simple allowing you to play the episodes separately or together.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This series is available in Region 1 in a very similar format. The differences are quite minor and are as follows:

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis you may as well call it a draw as US closed captions are fairly useless here without a special decoder.


    An excellent production of an interesting English murder thriller set in the 1930s.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, January 09, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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