(ITC Movie title "Appointment With A Killer")
Original UK transmission: 15th May 1976
Original US transmission: 16th September 1975
WRITTEN BY: Brian Clemens
DIRECTED BY: Don Leaver
PRODUCED BY: Ian Fordyce
MAIN CAST: Joanna Pettet (Jody Baxter), Brian Blessed (Det. Sgt. Briggs), Freddie Jones (Arnold Tully), Norman Rodway (Peter Ingram), Anthony Pedley (Charley Spencer), Tony Anholt (Johnny Baxter), John Ruddock (Williams), Alison Glennie (Annabella Tully), Thom Delaney (Detective)
In a stretch of woodlands, a teenage girl is sitting on a rock admiring a copy of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Smiling, she wraps the book in a clear plastic bag and begins to head purposefully through the forest. Unbeknownst to her, an unseen figure is busy nearby stripping away the remainder of a love message carved in a tree trunk: "Annabella loves -". He stops as he sees her approaching, and retreats into the bushes. She strides up to the tree, then bends down and disappears from sight for a few moments. When she appears again, she notices that the message has been defaced and frowns; she then turns, and screams as a knife plunges towards her. There is an eerie silence, as the camera pans slowly up the length of the tree towards the sky.
Jody Baxter is the bored wife of private detective Johnny Baxter, and when her husband goes abroad and a customer comes calling for "J.Baxter", she decides to take up the case herself. The man, Arnold Tully, mourns the murder of his young niece and ward Annabella five years earlier, and requests Miss Baxter to compile evidence against the man he believes to have committed the crime. Jody proceeds to investigate the man, Peter Ingram, but is reluctantly forced into an acquaintance when he asks her to his cottage. Uncertain as to whether he is actually guilty, Jody uses a woman's eye to sift through the clues afresh, despite the insistence from the police that Ingram is guilty. She soon finds a clue to the identity of the mystery killer in a copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream found in Annabella's room, but by doing so places herself in mortal danger.
This amateur-detective story is given a nice twist by having the killer already pointed out at the start and focusing the story instead around whether somebody may be trying to frame him. Joanna Pettet (see also A Killer In Every Corner ) makes for an agreeable amateur sleuth and plays the part with just the right air of uncertainty. Brian Blessed and Norman Rodway turn in competent performances and Freddie Jones creates an appealing character in the tragic figure of Tully. Not a classic but worth seeing.
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