Stevenson’s original idea was delightfully twisted and this adaptation captures that perverse quality extremely well. A bored Bohemian prince, Prince Florizel (Alan Dobie) wanders London at night in disguise, looking for the sorts of adventures that will appeal to his jaded tastes. Accompanied by his faithful Master of the Horse (Colonel Geraldyne, played by Eric Woofe) he finds an adventure that is too rich even for his blood.
The Suicide Club is a club for those who have grown weary of life and who lack even the energy to end their lives themselves. Each Friday night the cards are dealt at the club. Whoever draws the ace of spades is destined to be that week’s victim while the man who draws the ace of clubs will be his executioner. It’s the sort of Russian roulette that appeals to those who wish to end their existences in the most dissipated and decadent manner possible.
In order to gain admittance to the club Prince Florizel had to sign the articles of membership. As a man of honour he will have to settle matters on his own account without any assistance from the police. The prince is a man of courage and of intelligence and he will be a formidable adversary, but the President of the club is also a very dangerous man.
The period detail is done well, as you expect from British television of this era. The club rooms of the Suicide Club are the right mixture of decadence and gothic excess.
This is a fine adaptation of one of the perverse classics of gothic literature.
Unfortunately only a handful of episodes of this very fine series have survived. Those that have survived have been released by Network DVD in Region 2. Picture quality is good by the standards of British television of that age.