Efficient, but bitter and stubborn, barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts returns to his office in London, having recovered from a heart attack. He is subsequently invited to defend Leonard Stephen... See full summary »
Efficient, but bitter and stubborn, barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts returns to his office in London, having recovered from a heart attack. He is subsequently invited to defend Leonard Stephen Vole, who is the prime suspect in a murder case. Leonard is a former soldier that fought in World War II and is married to his beloved German wife Christine Helm Vole. He is unemployed and accused of seducing and murdering the wealthy middle-aged single woman, Emily French, to inherit 80,000 pounds. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This 1982 TV film boasts a grand cast (with a notable exception), good camera-work, sets, and lighting. The 1957 version made in Hollywood cast Hollywood actors-most of them British residents. The exception to that was Tyrone Power, although there was no mention in the original story of Leonard Vole being an American. This remake follows suit by casting Beau Bridges as Vole-a great mistake. Whereas Power gave an excellent performance, Bridges is weak and is easily dominated by the talents of the other actors.
Sir Ralph Richardson gives a fine performance, playing barrister Sir Wilfred Robarts with a charm and whimsicality that was his trademark. Deborah Kerr is also quite good as the nurse-a definite improvement from Elsa Lanchester's annoying performance in the earlier film. For a reason unknown to many people, producers of film adaptations of Agatha Christie stories seem to think comedy elements are necessary when the genius of Christie was creating taut, dramatic, mysterious, and dangerous situations-mostly dealing with murder, and there's nothing funny about that. Some may see it as "entertaining," but these elements are totally unnecessary and mostly out of place (and not believable either).
This version took pains to cast truly great actors in even the smaller parts. The legal profession is represented by such distinguished persons as Donald Pleasence, Michael Gough, David Langton and Richard Vernon, and Peter Copley played the doctor. Even the servant Janet McKenzie is played by none other than Dame Wendy Hiller! Diana (later Dame Diana) Rigg is also quite good as Romaine (they restored the character's original name), although unlike Marlene Dietrich she had to assume the German accent.
Norman Rosemont, who was responsible for making many of the best TV movies during the 1970s and 80s, produced this one.
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