The Ice House (1997)

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Released 6-Sep-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 173:35 (Case: 172)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (84:58) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Tim Fywell

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Daniel Craig
Corin Redgrave
Kitty Aldridge
Frances Barber
Penny Downie
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.49:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.49:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Minette Walters is one of the most popular modern psychological thriller writers in the world and since 1992 she has had 12 books published. So far 5 of them have been made into telemovies for the BBC. All five of the telemovies have been released here locally as part of a Minette Walters box set by Roadshow. I decided to watch and review them in the order they were made rather than the order the books were published. This book was published in 1992 (her debut novel) and the movie was first shown in 1997.

    This story is set in and around a large old house called Streech Grange which is inhabited by its owner, Mrs Phoebe Maybury (Pennie Downie) and two female friends, Mrs Diana Goode (Frances Barber), a designer and Miss Anne Cattrell (Kitty Aldridge), a journalist. They are thoroughly disliked and mistrusted by the local community who are convinced that Mrs Maybury killed her husband who disappeared 10 years earlier. The local community also believes that they are a commune of lesbians. At the time of her husband's disappearance, Maybury was suspected by the local police but they could not prove her innocence or guilt. The leader of that investigation, DCI Walsh (Corin Redgrave) is convinced she did it and yearns to prove it. When a dead body turns up in a disused Ice House on the estate he is convinced that he has found her husband and can finally prove her guilt. He starts to investigate, assisted by DS McLouglin (Daniel Craig) who finds himself attracted to Anne Cattrell. His wife has just left him and he is attempting to drown his sorrows in alcohol. Obviously, all is not as it seems on the surface and many twists and turns follow...

    This is a strong television mystery with quality acting and a very good story. The sexual tension is very strong in this story as is quite common with Minette Walters. To my mind this second movie in the box set is not quite as compelling as the first one, although is still a very good production. The show is presented here in two parts as it was originally shown on television.


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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is decent but certainly no better.

    The feature is presented in a 1.47:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which I would guess is the original aspect ratio. The case incorrectly lists the aspect ratio as 16x9.

    The picture was soft, not helped by the long running time on one disc, I am sure. It is somewhat variable but never better than average. There is light grain to begin with which gets worse in some scenes. Shadow detail is pretty ordinary. I did not notice any low level noise. There was also some mild macro-blocking to be seen.

    The colour was somewhat washed out and seemed a little overbright to me generally. There was some minor colour bleeding from light colours and faces seemed pale.

    Other than those mentioned above, artefacts were not a major issue.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read but included some changes from the spoken word.

    The layer change occurs at 84:58 at the end of the first part. It was not noticeable.

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


    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

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

    The score of this film by David Ferguson is tense and dramatic, well suited to the show.

    The surround speakers were not used.

     The subwoofer was not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu included music, and the ability to select parts, scenes and subtitles.

R4 vs R1

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

     This disc is available in the same box set format in Region 2 and is not available in Region 1. The local product wins.


    A very good psychological thriller based on the book by Minette Walters. Disc 2 of a 5 disc set based on her novels.

    The video quality is decent.

    The audio quality is good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, November 10, 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
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
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