Tuesday 23 October 2018

The Circe Complex - DVD review

The Circe Complex was a six-part serial in the ITV Armchair Thriller series way back in 1980. The screenplay was written by David Hopkins and based on a novel by Desmond Cory, an interesting and accomplished author whom I've talked about before. I've not read the book, but I'd like to, and frankly I suspect it may have more to offer than the TV version, which is now available as a DVD. It's interesting, but in some respects unsatisfactory.

The story begins with Tom Foreman leaving his extremely attractive wife Val at home one day, only to kill a policeman for no obvious reason. He ends up in prison, and it emerges that he's stolen some very valuable jewels, and hidden them somewhere. But where are they? Val teams up with an oddball psychiatrist (Alan David, who gives a suitably melodramatic performance) to find out.

The pair organise a jailbreak, but events take a curious turn as Val becomes involved first with the villain who helps to spring Tom, and then with one of the cops who is investigating the case. It becomes clear that Val is indeed a Circe-like character. Beth Morris, a Welsh actress I've never come across elsewhere, is suitably seductive and sinister; she handles a difficult role well, and I'm rather surprised that (although she evidently enjoyed a fairly successful career) she didn't become a bigger star.

Overall, though, I felt this was a rather eccentric mystery, and somewhat frustrating, because there was a sense from start to finish of compelling ingredients inadequately blended together. Whose fault that was, I'm not sure. Yet despite my reservations, I don't regret having watched the show. Cory was full of interesting ideas and insights into human behaviour - his strange book Bennett is an excellent example of this - and The Circe Complex, for all its failings, is an intriguing mystery.

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