Death in Small Doses

Death in Small Doses

Drama | 88 mins | Released: 1995
Director: Sondra Locke
Starring: Richard Thomas, Tess Harper, Shawn Elliott, Glynnis O'Connor, Gary Frank, Matthew Posey, Ann Hearn
Our Rating: 6

In Death in Small Doses, when a wife mysteriously falls ill and dies, it is revealed that she died by arsenic poisoning. As the police investigation heats up, the woman’s husband becomes the prime suspect. A terrible family secret eventually breaks the case and reveals the true killer.

Directed by Sondra Locke, Death in Small Doses stars Richard Thomas, Tess Harper, Shawn Elliott, Glynnis O’Connor, Gary Frank, Matthew Posey and Ann Hearn.

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Movie Notes:

Death in Small Doses is based on a true story involving the case of a Texas wife who was killed by her own husband.

Texas state court records indicate that in 1991, Richard Lyons poisoned wife Nancy Lyon. The case inspired many magazine and newspaper articles, including the Texas Monthly article “The Killer Next Door.”

Richard Lyons was found guilty in 1992 and sentenced to life in prison.

Death in Small Doses was filmed in 1993 but not broadcast until 1995.

Disappointing – a total non-event !
Author: Nicholas Rhodes from Ile-de-France / Paris Region, France – 28 August 2005
“I was expecting much better than this! This one just plods along with minimal interest for the spectator and the end is a total wash-out. There’s not enough spice in this plot to make even a mild curry, it’s supposed to be based on a true story, I have no idea as to whether this is true, but whatever the case, there is nothing in the plot to grip the spectator’s attention. The guilty party could have been one of several people, nothing enables one to opt for one or other possibility. The final decision is an arbitrary and emotionless one! When you get to the end of this film, your only comment is ” so THAT’S how it ends! So what?”

Author: lyons226 from United Kingdom – 11 November 2006
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
“I found this TV movie disappointing, I did have high hopes for it at the start but found the end dismal at best. There were several other people who could have had sound motive to kill Nancy, yet these possibilities were readily dismissed by the police and the DA. With being so determined to convict the husband. Perhaps the intention was to leave issues unresolved that there was never any answer to what happened, with no real proof that Richard killed Nancy. With this movie being based on an actual trial, however, it does seem to portray how some people are convicted with no real conclusive evidence. Having said this, I did think Richard was the killer as he seemed so detached from Nancy’s death and the concern he displayed for her life policy did seem a little fishy. Still the movie seemed all over the place to me and there wasn’t really a resolution to the story as the viewer is left wondering if justice was done or if, in fact, her killer got away, or if Nancy did, in fact, kill herself.”

Pain in Large Doses
Author: satyre – 29 January 2001
“Although supposedly based on actual incidents, this film “depicts an authentic case” in the same way that “Police Squad” depicts authentic investigative techniques. If this film at all accurately conveys the trial of Richard Lyons, then everyone involved should be disbarred.
It’s hard to shine an accusatory spotlight on any one member of this cast, but Tess Harper, as Assistant D.A. Jerri Sims, looks particularly lost during the entire film. Not that she’s given much to work with, mind you.

Sondra Locke’s direction lacks focus. She hits every plot point with such heavy-handedness, that the viewer literally hears a “bum – bum – BAH” in their head as each one is revealed. This, coupled with the fact that she can’t seem to decide just what this story is about, suggests she should apprentice a bit more at her craft.”

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