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John Llewellyn Moxey
Arlen Dean Snyder
"Diagnosis: Murder" constantly feels like an extended episode of "Midsomer Murders", or any other random Krimi/crime investigation TV-show, but nonetheless a very good episode and more importantly one starring the almighty Christopher Lee in another terrifically sinister role. Although I can't find any info or articles to confirm, the film often gives the impression of actually being the pilot of a TV-series that eventually never aired. Some of the sub plots, notably the one revolving on Inspector Lomax' relationship with a married woman, indicate there was a lot of extra subject matter to embroider with the same lead characters, but alas, the TV-show never came. "Diagnosis: Murder" is an engaging little murder-mystery, opening with truly frightening of a woman under the attack of an unidentifiable man with a shotgun. The woman turns out the wife of eminent psychiatrist Dr. Hayward, and he reports her missing immediately after the assault. Hayward promptly becomes the prime suspect in the case, especially because Insp. Lomax receives anonymous letters accusing appointing the pompous doctor as the culprit. The investigation initially leads nowhere, but Insp. Lomax is somehow convinced Dr. Hayward knows more about the disappearance of his own wife. The first and most major revelation of the plot comes quite early in the film (so early even that the synopsis on IMDb spoils it so don't read!) but luckily the screenplay provides more than enough extra twists and hidden sub plots to keep the wholesome compelling until the very end. Moreover, the movie even ends somewhat mysterious and open for new material, which once again raises the impression the film is a forerunner of a series. "Diagnosis: Murder" obviously isn't gory, but it's an involving story-driven thriller with an uncanny atmosphere throughout. The rural British filming locations are adequately chosen (especially the secluded lake) and director Sidney Hayers could rely on a terrific ensemble cast. Christopher Lee is impeccable as always, but here he receives excellent support from John Finch, Tony Beckley and Judy Geeson. "Diagnosis: Murder" is extremely obscure and almost impossible to track down for some reason, but well worth tracking down if you're into typically British thrillers.
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