Cause Célèbre (1987) from Tuna

Cause Célèbre (1987 TV movie) is a BBC production of a real murder trial that took place in 1935. An older woman (played by Helen Mirren) and a much younger man are on trial for the brutal murder of her husband. The press sensationalized the case long before it came to trial, creating a huge public outcry against the wife. Men were afraid a younger man would seduce their wives, and women were jealous.  At first, Mirren's character confessed, trying to save her young lover, then changed her mind because of her children.


Mirren did show her breasts, and most of her bum, in the film's one sex scene.

Take a dry courtroom mystery, take away the mystery early on, then place it in a British courtroom, and you have a sure cure for insomnia. Mirren gave the kind of strong performance you can usually expect from her, and the rest of the cast did fine, but this was more like a docudrama than entertainment. The true story was sensational in its time, it is too bad the film wasn't more so.

Scoop's note: the play was written by Terrence Rattigan (Separate Tables).

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDB readers rate it an astronomical 8.1/10, but based on only 7 votes.


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-.

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