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Appointment with Death
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Appointment with Death More at IMDbPro »

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28 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Lots of humor, terrific performances, and exotic locales.

Author: SanDiego from The Beach
27 September 2000

Peter Ustinov's Hercule Poirot returns to it's big screen roots with lavish travelogue scenery and a roster of legendary stars. Long time film star Piper Laurie steals the film as Emily Boynton, a Cruela deVile style evil stepmother, and former prison wardress. Every moment she is on screen is pure delight as she marches around and belts out orders. She has had a great second career in her elder years("Carrie," "Wrestling Ernest Hemingway"). The film begins when her lawyer, Jefferson Cope (David Soul), tells her that her recently deceased rich husband made up a second will that split her inheritance with her grown children, a rather spoiled and naive group of sniveling brats. She knows the lawyer to have a few skeletons in his closet and forces him to burn the will, then announces she is taking her brood on a vacation to the Holy Land. While on holiday she meets up with Lady Westholme (Lauren Bacall.) Bacall is quite good as the American-turned-British member of Parliment. If anyone could stand toe-to-toe with Piper Laurie's over-the-top performance it would be Lauren Bacall, but we see very little interaction between the two grand ladies of cinema. An opportunity missed and for the most part just two women who happen to be on the same tour. To fill out the cast we have Hayley Mills as Lauren Bacall's assistant, John Gielgud underused as the governing legal agent, Colonel Carbury, and a host of capable actors as the usual assembly of suspects in the usual assembly of sub-plots, mostly red-hearings. Ustinov perhaps does a little less sleuthing here than usual and is really not much more than an excuse for the film to be made. In the first hour, the detective overhears just about everything the audience hears merely by the coincidence of having his chair in the right place at the right time. "A gift" he tells one of the suspects. When such a fault in the script is so obvious that the director feels he must give an explanation (a shoddy one at that) to the audience, I suppose the movie moves more into the realm of spoof than mystery. This film does have a lot more humor and entertainment than the other films in the series. Whereas most of the Ustinov-Poirot films tend to be a bit dry and long, "Appointment with Death" is quite breezy and whisps us along a plot that has by now become way too familiar. Without the humor and eccentric performances there would have been little here to warrant a film. Like the 100th episode of "Murder She Wrote" it is no longer important who did it, or who got killed. It's just a lot of fun watching old pros ham it up.

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32 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Underrated Christie Adaption

Author: MFH from USA
12 August 1999

This is the most under-appreciated Agatha Christie film in my opinion. The movie has a top grade cast (for the most part) including Peter Ustinov, Lauren Bacall, Piper Laurie & Hayley Mills. Mills and Bacall give the best supporting performances as an Archeologist and Member of Parliment respectively. The solution to the murder of evil mother Laurie isn't an easy one, but it all makes sense in the end. The plot moves along at a good pace, and features beautiful locations. If you want a good mystery, go and rent Appointment with Death!

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24 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

An enjoyable whodunnit with an all star cast

Author: aussiebrisguy from Australia
5 August 2006

Appointment with Death is a wonderful film for pure escapism. Piper Laurie is really fantastic as Emily Boynton. Of course Peter Ustinov is always a treat as Hercule Poirot. Sir John Gielgud is a treasure to watch and Lauren Bacall is incredibly good as Lady Westholme. This is a glamorous film with additional supporting cast such as Jenny Seagrove, the handsome John Terlesky, the beautiful Hayley Mills and Carrie Fisher. David Soul is passable as the Boynton family lawyer. The scenery is wonderful, the costumes beautiful and the story intriguing. It is hard to know who has done the deed. The much underrated Michael Craig also puts in an appearance. I wish there could be more appointments with such a talented cast.

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22 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A Death In Palestine

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
12 December 2006

Appointment with Death was the last theatrical release of that series of Hercule Poirot mysteries. I'm sure Peter Ustinov probably could have done others. I wouldn't be surprised if in fact the BBC Poirot series starring David Suchet which we in America saw for many years may have killed the more expensive budgeted big screen Poirot that Ustinov did so well.

This particular mystery finds Hercule Poirot on holiday and in the company both on ship and later in British mandated Palestine in the mid Thirties of an American family headed by a tyrannical stepmother played by Piper Laurie. She has one grown daughter and three stepchildren one of whom is married. All live with her and the terms of her late husband's will give her complete control of the family fortune. The power of the purse keeps the whole family under her thumb. Laurie's come a long way since she was a matron in a women's prison.

Another woman along on the trip who's come along way is a character based on Lady Nancy Astor, an American born woman who married a title and now has a seat in Parliament played by Lauren Bacall. She's traveling with a companion played by Hailey Mills. Also along on the trip is David Soul, Laurie's family attorney and Jenny Seagrove as a young doctor.

On an excursion out in the desert Laurie turns up dead and the mystery is afoot. Of course Poirot through careful questioning and a gathering of the suspects eventually finds out who the real murderer is.

The film has of course an impressive cast which also includes John Gielgud as the local police inspector in Jerusalem. A young Arab boy also dies during the film, killed because he witnessed the murder and can identify the culprit. That particular act robs us of any sympathy we might have had for the perpetrator.

Appointment with Death also benefits from good photography, shot on location in both Israel and Italy with interiors done in London. All the Peter Ustinov Poirot films are of excellent quality and are a great introduction to the work Agatha Christie.

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20 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Ustinov is highly entertaining as Poirot

Author: solar12 from United States
18 October 2006

Peter Ustinov is an absolute joy to behold in the role of Hercule Poirot! He played Poirot in three theatrical films: Death On the Nile, Evil Under the Sun, and Appointment With Death. He also played Poirot in three TV movies: Thirteen At Dinner, Murder in Three Acts, and Dead Man's Folly. It's always a delight to spend time with Ustinov's Poirot. He's so much fun! The three Poirot TV movies starring Ustinov are now available in a three DVD set. I've had a great time watching these with friends and family and all of Ustinov's Poirot movies are worth watching and re-watching. My deep affection for Ustinov's Poirot grows with each viewing. He's brilliant and each of his Poirot movies are fantastic fun!

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22 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Agatha Christie's novel.

Author: lionel.willoquet ( from Nevers, France
10 July 2001

Peter Ustinov investigates into the murder of a rich heir during a cruise with the children of his deceased husband. Peter Ustinov lends once more his mockery and his gentleness in acute Hercule Poirot in this pleasant adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel.

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Big-name cast as suspects of a murder committed in Holy Land and Poirot-Ustinov trying to unravel the killer

Author: ma-cortes
7 September 2010

Suspense and intrigue with Poirot on holidays in Jerusalen . This whodunit deals with Hercules Poirot (Peter Ustinov) as the Belgian sleuth man in he case of killing a rich , unpopular heiress in an archaeological dig during a luxurious vacations . He investigates the travelers and as numerous suspects , all support cast ( Carrie Fisher, Nicholas Guest , David Soul , Hayley Mills , John Terlesky , Lauren Bacall and Jenny Seagrove married to Michael Winner). Who is the killer? , can he find the guilty? . Hercules Poirot is helped by a British Colonel (John Gielgud). After the clues have been shown we will get a chance to give the answer with Poirot finding out about the culprit at a twisted finale with outstanding surprises but are taken the murders from different viewpoints of everyone which it makes a little bit boring, pedestrian , endless and overlong.

The film is a detective story in which you are the detective . In the picture there are mystery , emotion, love story , suspense and wonderful outdoors from Jerusalen , Italy and the rout on the cruise ship . The movie gets a lush costume design ( John Bloomfield ) and magnificent production design . Colorful and sunny cinematography by excellent cameraman David Gurfinkel . Sensitive and atmospheric musical score by Pino Donaggio . Actors 's interpretation are first-rate , Peter Ustinov acting is similar to Albert Finney ( Murder on the Orient Express). Ustinov starred various Hercules Poirot films as : ¨Evil under the sun¨(Guy Hamilton), ¨Death on the Nile¨(John Guillermin) and for TV with low budget as : ¨Murder in three acts¨,¨Dead man's folly¨ and ¨Thirteen at dinner ¨; but the best considered is Death on the Nile .

This film is professionally directed by Michael Winner though contains some flaws and poor edition . After directing the successful ¨Death wish¨ he made worst sequels in which Bronson-Paul Kersey goes on to torture robbers , all of them inferior and the violence could be deemed excessive , are the following : ¨Death wish II¨ with Jill Ireland and Vincent Gardenia , ¨Death wish III¨ with Ed Lauter and Deborah Raffin. Subsequently Michael Winner career was failed , alternating some hit as ¨The sentinel¨ and various flops as ¨ Firepower, The big sleep, The wicked lady, Appointed with death, A chorus of disapproval, and Bullseye ¨. The flick will appeal to suspense lovers and Agatha Christie-Poirot novels buffs .

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18 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

A good movie

Author: filmbuff69007
30 August 2001

the story isnt as good as evil under the sun or death on the nile however it is interesting enough to watch.the sorely underused carrie fisher is good in this a small role for david soul who i met once in Hull about 1980.not a typical Michael Winner film though in fairness he has had that Death wish tag for too long.needless to say it isnt overlong thanks to tight editing from Arnold crust Winner himself.

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27 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

Peter Ustinov IS Hercule Poirot!

Author: JackStallion ( from Hollywood, CA
21 December 2004

I love Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot. Forget all those other phonies who've tried to fill his shoes! Including that ridiculous Murder on the Orient Express, or that laughable David Sachet!

His sly, lovable demeanor rivals any of the great actors playing detectives- Peter Falk as Columbo, etc. He has a wonderful way of gaining the confidence and trust of each of his suspects, while probing them for information. You never really know who he suspects, and that's the fun of the mystery. He guides you through the maze like true detective.

I have seen each of his delicious portrayals as the great, Belgian detective several times, and they just get better with age.

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18 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

An exciting „all could done' story with many humor

Author: novanna ( from Hungary
8 August 2002

Actually this was the last Agatha Christie movie that I saw so I compared with the others. The original story is not too exciting just the original „all could done' story with many humor. But the place. The book is set in Jordania in the Petra which was mentioned once in the film but it was set in Jerusalem. It's a bit funny. So the book nearly has no connection with the film. Altought the movie is very enjoyable. Peter Ustinov gaves us a bit less of hes power but the others complete it. Piper Laurie gives us a perfect picture about the the evil-gently stepmother but alas, she had been killed. Lauren Bacall renewed her 18 older role greatly. (Orient express) and played the nasty Parliament-member greatly. From the others Hayley Mills and Sir John Gielgud are the only ones who are deserve to have a comment. They are quite good in their roles. The whole film was very good and all Agatha Christie fans have to watch it!

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