The Singing Detective (tv)

Nashville Scene

DIRECTED BY: Jon Amiel

REVIEWED: 12-08-97

This legendary 1986 British TV miniseries is finally available stateside in a six-tape, seven-hour package. Michael Gambon stars as Philip E. Marlow, a pulp novelist who spends the film laid up in hospital with a severe, body-covering skin rash. To cope with the pain, he tries to remember the details of one of his long-out-of-print detective stories, but his mind wanders, and soon the plot of his novel is converging with memories of childhood and hallucinations of doctors and patients who break into song. Directed by Jon Amiel, from a screenplay by the late Dennis Potter, The Singing Detective has become a touchpoint in British popular culture, influencing everybody from comic-book writer Alan Moore to horror novelist Clive Barker. Credit Potter's clever wordplay, his facility with stream-of-consciousness structure, and his bleak strand of sentimentalism, which implies that our failings are inherent in everything we have wrought.

--Rob Nelson

Other Films by Jon Amiel
The Man Who Knew Too Little

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