Hercule Poirot is called in by his crime writer friend, Ariadne Oliver and discovers that she is troubled. She has been asked to create a "Murder Hunt" game for a fair at Nass House and she is puzzled with all the help she is getting. Poirot and his assistant, Captain Hastings arrive at the fair to see what is going on. They find a couple on the brink of divorce, a rich Lord and a dizzy Lady, an old lady, trapped in the horrors of the past and a womanizing architect. Things take a turn for the worse when during the "Murder Hunt" the girl playing the "dead" body is murdered for real, an old man's body is pulled from the local lake and the Lady of the manor goes missing when a face from her past shows up. It is clear to Poirot that someone is playing the game for real and he sets out to discover who it is... Written by
Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>
The title of Ariadne Oliver's latest novel, "Hatchets Blood and a Parakeet", is - dependent on how you read it - incorrect in either grammar or punctuation, something which would be picked up at the proof-reading editorial stage by her publishers. See more »
Yet another one of Peter Ustinov's made-for-TV Hercule Poirot mysteries. These movies are a far cry from his theatrically released "Death on the Nile" and "Evil Under the Sun" in almost every way (cast, production values, scripting, etc.), but taken on their own they have their moments. "Dead Man's Folly" doesn't have too many of those moments, though. As the music score (which would be more appropriate for a slapstick comedy) quickly signals, this movie is played too broadly. Ustinov takes the comedic aspects of Poirot just a step too far in this one - he does a lot of mugging and even some double-takes. Hastings is not as idiotic here as he was in "Murder in Three Acts", but Hugh Fraser is much better in the David Suchet series. Jean Stapleton is OK as Mrs. Oliver, but again, Zoë Wanamaker was better in Suchet's "Cards on the Table". The cast on the whole is not bad, and there are a couple of real stunners in it (Nicolette Sheridan, Caroline Langrishe). But the direction is bland, and the result is a murder mystery more trivial than thrilling. (**)
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