Great Train Robbery of 1963 Dramatized

A-Great Train RobberyGREAT TRAIN ROBBERY  

No, the   Acorn Media 2-DVD release titled “The Great Train Robbery” is not the pioneering silent film of 1903 or the amusing Sean Connery film of 1979. Televised in 2013, this is the story of a once-famous 1963 train robbery in England. The train was carrying excess old bank notes from several banks along the way and stopped by a large band of men who took nearly all of the bank bags. The total, much to the surprise of even the thieves, came to over 2,000,000 pounds!

Part 1 is titled “A Robber’s Tale” and tells the story of how holdup man Bruce Reynolds (Luke Evans) organized and carried out the crime. Part 2 is titled “A Copper’s Tale” and tells the story of how Scotland Yard’s DCS Tommy Butler (Jim Broadbent) organized and carried out the capture of the gang. How much dramatic liberty was taken with the actual events is of no importance. This drama is pretty much predictable but so well acted and detailed that it makes superior viewing.

Anything more I might say would be a “spoiler” and so I will cut this short by giving the show a high recommendation. The 2 parts run about 90 minutes each, there are subtitles, and there are bonus interviews with members of both casts.

 

Chasing Shadows

A-Chasing ShadowsNew Police Series Has Interesting Leads

   Here is an original police series! We have an officer with all the tact of a Doc Martin and the sensitivities of a Monk, DS Sean Stone, played with an utterly straight face by Reece Shearsmith. At a press conference designed to praise the police for catching a criminal, Stone criticizes them for not catching him sooner. Result: he is demoted to Missing Persons.

There he meets Ruth Hattersley (Alex Kingston), a woman who knows her job but cannot connect with the self-isolating Stone. He won’t even share his car with her, because he does his thinking best when alone. DI Prior (Noel Clarke) is given the unwelcome task of seeing that Stone sticks to professional standards; but much of the fun in this series comes from Stone’s being his own man.

This is the basic situation that serves as background to the two stories that make up “Chasing Shadows,” now available on an Acorn DVD.

This is not a comedy. The first two-part tale concerns a suicide website for teens; the second is about a serial killer whose victims are all mentally challenged. The humor of the Stone-Hattersley relationship is gently integrated into the plots. Giving Hattersley a slightly problematic son is part of the clichéd family relationships that have been introduced into so many police shows in past decades. However, not much time is spent on it at the expense of the mystery at hand.

Kingston is absolutely marvelous as the utterly believable Missing Persons investigator and is the perfect foil to Shearsmith’s unbending characterization of Stone. I can easily recommend this series. And thanks, Acorn, for the subtitles.