A corkingly good romp through 1920’s action adventure-dom, She Fell Among Thieves, based on the novel by Dornford Yates and with a script from the irrepressible Tom Sharpe, channels into the whole Lady Vanishes, John Buchan vibe with it’s tale of derring do in between the war Pyrenees.
It’s the early 1920’s and Richard Chandos (played by Malcolm McDowell) is on holiday in the Pyrenees where he tangles with the none too nice Vanity Fair (the brilliant Eileen Atkins who quite frankly hasn’t done enough non stage acting over the years) who is using her step-daughter in order to inherit a fortune. Chandos, in finest English gentleman abroad style, is determined to stop her at all costs of course which sets the scene nicely for action and excitement.
The suppporting cast is high calibre too and and includes the likes of Michael Jayston, Sarah Badel, Freda Jackson and the always likeable Richard Pearson.
She Fell Among Thieves was actually the very first production seen on PBS’s now legendary Mystery strand way back in 1980 (the movie itself was made as a Play of the Week for the BBC in 1978). Filmed on location and big of budget its all great fun and naturally with a script by Tom Sharpe there is more than a funny moment or too!
UK / BBC Two / 1×80 minute episodes / Broadcast 1 March 1978
Writer: Tom Sharpe / Novel: Dornford Yates / Script Editor: Richard Broke / Music: John Cameron / Producer: Mark Shivas / Director: Clive Donner
Malcolm McDowell as Richard Chandos
Eileen Atkins as Vanity Fair
Michael Jayston as Mansel
Sarah Badel as Virginia
Karen Dotrice as Jenny
Freda Jackson as Lafone
Philip Locke as Acorn
Richard Pearson as Father Below
Ralph Arliss as Bell
Bernard Hill as Carson
Simon Cadell as Candle
Jonathan Lynn as Gaston
Pat Gorman as Jean
Derek Deadman as Luis
Antony Scott as Marc