Appointment with Death (1988) Poster

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Big-name cast as suspects of a murder committed in Holy Land and Poirot-Ustinov trying to unravel the killer
ma-cortes7 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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Lots of humor, terrific performances, and exotic locales.
SanDiego27 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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A Death In Palestine
bkoganbing12 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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Underrated Christie Adaption
MFH12 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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An enjoyable whodunnit with an all star cast
aussiebrisguy5 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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Ustinov is highly entertaining as Poirot
solar1218 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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A great film.
Ken McMurtrie26 June 2008
An avid fan of Agatha Christie, I enjoyed this film greatly. Particularly because of the quality of the cast and their impressive portrayal of the characters. Although David Suchet, in his series and films makes a very impressive Hercule Poirot, Peter Ustinov creates a far more real character and is a superb actor. Lauren Bacall, as always, impresses. Carrie Fisher excels and moves on from the Starwars era, to her advantage. Am I the only viewer to "fall in love with" Amber Bezer? Hayley Mills is also excellent, but I continually find it a bit difficult to not keep remembering her as Pollyanna and her other early successful parts. As usual in Christie movies, the reproduction of the period seems to be perfect, from the vehicles, the dress, realistic and appropriate sites and scenery, to the actor's portrayals is, in my opinion, superb.
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Agatha Christie's novel.
lionel.willoquet10 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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Nice scenery and a very good cast save the weakest of the Ustinov Poirot films
TheLittleSongbird5 September 2009
Agatha Christie's Appointment With Death is not her best book, but is well crafted and a pleasant read. This adaptation isn't terrible, but it is the weakest of Peter Ustinov's outings as Poirot. Speaking of Ustinov, he is excellent here, I had no problem with him. And Lauren Bacall, Carrie Fisher, Jenny Seagrove and John Gielgud give fine support. The film does have some splendid locations, even if Petra was changed to Jerusalem if I remember rightly, and the music was good too. However, the script isn't that polished, a lot is changed from the book and some of the changes are underdeveloped, the character of Hassan was unnecessary. But my main gripe with the movie was the character of Mrs Boynton. The same applies for the recent David Suchet version(which was more unfaithful but better musically and visually, and the acting was more solid in that one too), the character of Mrs Boynton was never done quite right, despite the wholly hateable portrayal given by Piper Laurie. In the book, she is a bit of a tyrant, in the adaptation, she was portrayed as nasty and cantankerous, but lacked the depth of the character in the book. Overall, not bad, but I did think Death on the Nile and Evil Under The Sun were better. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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A good movie
filmbuff6900730 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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