Who Killed Dr. Bogle & Mrs. Chandler? (2006)

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Released 5-Oct-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Featurette-The Investigation, Bizarre theories, What Happened To?
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 55:30 (Case: 83)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Peter Butt
Rhys Muldoon
Hugo Weaving
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.75:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

   The documentary Who Killed Dr Bogle & Mrs Chandler was broadcast on ABC TV recently. It achieved the remarkable. Watched by almost 1.8 million Australians, it was not only the highest rated ABC program of the year (almost toppling the mighty Border Security from the weekly ratings) but it was also the highest rating program ever for producer Film Australia. The reason for this success is probably that the deaths of Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler are (were?) one of the last great Australian unsolved mysteries. On New Year's day in 1963, the bodies of Dr Gilbert Boyle and Margaret Chandler were found on the banks of the Lane Cove River in Sydney. To say that their deaths created public interest is a gross understatement, for Dr Bogle was a noted scientist and former Rhodes scholar employed by the CSIRO, and Mrs Chandler was the wife of another CSIRO scientist. They were found in a strange state. Dr Bogle appeared to have been "re dressed" by persons unknown and the semi-naked body of Mrs Chandler was covered with pieces of cardboard.

    The real mystery was that there was no discernable cause of death. It seemed obvious to the authorities that some form of poison was involved but the forensic investigation did not reveal any trace of a known poison. The interest the case engendered around Australia was comparable to the fuss later created by the Azaria Chamberlain mystery. In the tabloids and around water coolers everywhere theories as to the cause of their deaths multiplied.

    Geoffrey Chandler was initially a suspect. Played in the film by actor Nicholas Hope, he is confronted by a disbelieving police force when he explains that he and his wife had an open marriage and that he sanctioned his wife's affair with Dr Bogle. The fact that Bogle was carrying out research with some relevance to the Cold War was not only a source of interest but a source of rumours that he may have been assassinated for his involvement. The addition of sex to the mix of death and poison proved irresistible for the media and public alike. Ultimately, the coroner returned an open finding.

    As the years passed the mystery grew and the newspapers published regular "startling revelations" about the case which took the mystery no further. It is only recently that film maker Peter Butt, having reviewed all the files, carried out a further investigation into a new source of the poison. You will have to buy the DVD to find out what that solution is but it certainly provides a cogent explanation for the deaths. The documentary, which lasts for approximately 56 minutes, is a fascinating account of both the background to the case and the investigation process. It is narrated by Hugo Weaving in a clear and compelling manner. The documentary consists both of footage from the time of the investigation and well acted recreations of the key events in the case. Finally, there are a series of talking heads interviews with people involved in the mystery including Geoffrey Chandler, the forensic pathologist who worked on the case and one of the investigating police officers. With the proliferation of CSI type shows on television showing the ease with which complex murders can be solved it is interesting to see a program showing precisely how difficult death can sometimes be to explain.

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Transfer Quality


    Who Killed Dr Bogle & Mrs Chandler is presented on DVD at a 1.75:1 aspect ratio which is consistent with its original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced. This is a beautifully shot documentary which features clear crisp images of interviews with the people involved in the case as well as some footage treated to give it a 1960s look. Production values are high and Film Australia should be justly proud of the overall quality of the film.

    Being a recently produced program it is understandable that there are no defects with the transfer. There is no aliasing to be seen and no artefacts. There are no problems with the compression of the transfer.

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


    Who Killed Dr Bogle & Mrs Chandler comes to DVD with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s) sound mix. It is perfectly adequate for this documentary.

    The dialogue is clear and always easy to understand.

    The music by Guy Gross is a worthy addition to the programme, conveying a sense of underlying menace and mystery. The subtitles for the hearing impaired are also clear and consistent with the dialogue.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     The DVD for Who Killed Dr Bogle & Mrs Chandler contains 3 interesting extras.

Featurette The Investigation 15.30

    This feature is narrated by the filmmaker, Peter Butt. In it he describes how he stumbled upon a possible explanation for the deaths. Not wanting the spoil the surprise I can say that he backs up his theory with the evidence of a US expert on poisoning as well as some research into the river at the time. Butt is an interesting talker and I suspect that it was market forces which dictated that Hugo Weaving do the narration on the main documentary rather than Butt himself.

Featurette Bizarre Theories 6.03

    This feature looks at the many theories which emerged over the years as to how the couple met their deaths. Aside from the assassination theory some other wild ideas emerged, including that the two had been dispatched by use of the toxin from the barb of a cone fish. We meet a researcher and friend of Chandler who was questioned by police as to whether she gave him some of the toxin.

Featurette What Happened to... 5.35

    This is a somewhat sad short feature showing what happened to some of the key players in the mystery. Dealing with a fruitless and lengthy investigation proved too much for the forensic toxicologist working on the case and he never worked again in the field. Ken and Ruth Nash, who hosted the party where the couple got together before their deaths, also suffered ill-fortune not long after the case came to an end.

R4 vs R1

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

    This DVD has only a Region 4 release.


    Who Killed Dr Bogle & Mrs Chandler is an interesting look at one of Australia's most enduring mysteries.

    It is a beautifully shot and produced film which comes over nicely to DVD.

    The extras are short but useful.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Monday, November 06, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP300, using Component output
DisplayNEC PlasmaSync 42" MP4 1024 x 768. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJBL Simply Cinema SCS178 5.1

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