Singing Detective Import
The late Dennis Potter was a master at mining the popular songs of the 1930s and '40s for dramatic effect, but he never did it better than in this mini-series starring the inestimable Michael Gambon. Gambon plays a mystery writer named Philip E. Marlow, who is suffering a torturous bout of psoriatic arthritis in hospital, where he is a victim of both his disease and the national health service.
If you can pull the 2003 film version of The Singing Detective out from under the long shadow cast by the acclaimed 1986 miniseries, Keith Gordon's 109-minute film version achieves its own distinction. It was a daring (and some might say foolhardy) assignment to film Dennis Potter's screenplay, written out of Potter's desire to see his semi-autobiographical drama in feature-length form, but Gordon rose to the occasion with a superlative cast led by Robert Downey Jr, intense as ever as Potter's on-screen alter ego.
'While hospitalized with an extreme case of psoriasis, novelist Dan Dark reworks his first book in his head. Feverish, paranoid and prone to musical outbreaks, he confuses himself with his protagonist, a detective investigating the murder of a prostitute in 1950s Los Angeles.'