BBC2 Playhouse (1973–1983)
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Mrs. Reinhardt 

An Englishwoman seeking to escape her marriage arrives at French hotel.


Piers Haggard


Edna O'Brien (adaptation)


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Episode complete credited cast:
Helen Mirren ... Mrs. Reinhardt
Ralph Bates ... Mr. Reinhardt
Brad Davis ... The American
Jean Rougerie ... Hotel Owner
Nancy Nevinson ... Hotel Owner's Wife
Madelon Violla Madelon Violla ... Dark Waitress
Kate Ingram Kate Ingram ... Blond Waitress
Lucy Aston Lucy Aston ... Girl in Red
Lex van Delden Lex van Delden ... Dutch Painter
Olivier Pierre Olivier Pierre ... Angry Frenchman


An Englishwoman seeking to escape her marriage arrives at French hotel.

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Release Date:

30 October 1981 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

Buckinghamshire, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Mirren shines in unpredictable saga
26 December 2017 | by lor_See all my reviews

Just when you think Edna O'Brien's tale "Mrs. Reinhardt" is logically falling into place and predictable, the great writer pulls a fast one or two, and it's time to reconsider. This vehicle on the BBC is required viewing for Helen Mirren fans.

With many a flashback and jump back & forth in time, Helen sets out in her car for a road movie format, fleeing her cheating husband Ralph Bates to start on a new, unplanned life. Bates' full beard (that disappears) and Helen's changing hair styles make the different time frames easy to juggle.

Instead of being bound in some British studio, the action unfolds on striking locations in both the French and UK countryside, with Helen's title character holing up in a luxury hotel run by the charming and idiosyncratic Jean Rougerie. She's brought with her a priceless necklace (an heirloom from Bates' family which he strenously opposed her making off with) and Edna's script from her short story places so much emphasis on it that the viewer (myself obviously included) can be forgiven being misled by its importance to the plot.

Brad Davis, fresh off his vast (if fleeting) international success starring in Alan Parker's "Midnight Express" pops up as a layabout Helen encounters on the Brittany shore, and the audience is way ahead of her in smoking out his bad intentions. Mrs. Reinhardt has to learn the hard way not to fall for the first good-looking, agressive gigolo who comes along, but the result of their ill-fated affair is not exactly what we expect.

Fine acting by all the principals make for an engrossing perhaps cautionary tale that for me ranks up there with O'Brien's far more famous classics of modern British cinema. Genre veteran Piers Haggard directs very well, and this movie for television makes for an intriguing contrast with his campy horror anti-classic "Venom" (with its dream cast) made the same year with Piers a last-minute substitute for director Tobe Hooper, who could not cope with such feisty actors as Klaus Kinski.

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