Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime – Tommy & Tuppence, Set 1 [VHS]

February 5, 2015 - Comment

Agatha Christie creations Tommy and Tuppence Beresford gave rise to other guy-and-gal crime-solving couples. Think Nick and Nora Charles of “The Thin Man”, for example, and “Hart to Hart”. But the Beresfords had it right the first time, flitting about 1920s England, trading tart repartee and discovering “who dun it.” Christie introduced readers to these

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Agatha Christie creations Tommy and Tuppence Beresford gave rise to other guy-and-gal crime-solving couples. Think Nick and Nora Charles of “The Thin Man”, for example, and “Hart to Hart”. But the Beresfords had it right the first time, flitting about 1920s England, trading tart repartee and discovering “who dun it.” Christie introduced readers to these upper-class sleuths more than 75 years ago; decades later, their panache and prickly wit, nicely captured by Francesca Annis and James Warwick, delighted viewers of “Mystery”! With Set 1 you’ll see why; 5 hours on 3 cassettes.Tommy and Tuppence Beresford show up rarely in Agatha Christie’s books, but when they do, one thing’s for certain: both they and the readers will have a good time. The same is true, for the most part, in this set introducing the adventure-seeking couple who take over a London detective agency. Oddly, Tommy and Tuppence made their television debut before Christie’s better-known crime solvers, Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. The video quality of the second two tapes (whose four episodes take place chronologically after the first tape, but were produced earlier) betrays a low budget, and the acting occasionally verges on farce–especially when it comes to Tuppence’s obsession with hats. But then, the couple were always a lighthearted counterpoint to the more serious sleuthing of Poirot and Miss Marple. The lovely Francesca Annis (seen more recently in Wives and Daughters) is disarming as Tuppence, masking her shrewd eye with dippy charm; she may get the bellboy’s name wrong every time, but she can spot the criminal faster than her straight-man husband. As Tommy, James Warwick expertly melds dinner-party suavity with bumbling boy-next-door charm. The pair are at their best in the two-hour feature “The Secret Adversary,” which comprises the first tape. This tale of kidnapping and political intrigue reunites the childhood friends, thus beginning their life as Partners in Crime. –Larisa Lomacky Moore

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