While accompanying his friend Hastings to a dig in Iraq, Hercule Poirot becomes involved in the murder of an archaeologist's wife. The victim, Mrs. Leidner, had been receiving threatening letters signed by her first husband, who was known to have been killed in a train wreck. Did he survive? Was it his younger brother who was avenging his memory? Did Miss Johnson get rid of her rival for her employer's affections? Did Richard Carey kill the woman he publically announces that he hates? Is the French priest really who he pretends to be? And how many deaths will occur before Poirot unmasks the murderer? Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When in the Bagdad hotel Superintendent Maitland and Poirot enter the room with the "dead" body of Joseph Mercado, you can see the actor of Mercado just open his left eye preparing the subsequent close shot of his face. See more »
But why would she write threatening letters to herself?
O, I think that would be an assumption too great to make, Hastings, on the grounds of the similarity of the handwritings. But if it were so, it would not be an occurence unheard-of.
Pretty ruddy silly if you ask me.
Ah, well, if only people would ask you, Hastings, they would refrain from the ruddy silliness.
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Thanks to the Archeological Site of Oudhna. See more »
After 12 years of playing Poirot, David Suchet has the part off pat, and it is hard to imagine anyone doing it better. This 2000 TV film is an adaptation of Agatha Christie's 1936 novel of the same name and the location an archaeological dig in Mesopotamia and is made the more authentic by Christie's first hand experience with her husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan. Despite the exotic locale however the story is the familiar country house murder mystery in which by observation and deduction the great detective finds the culprit without a lot of help from his sidekick, the jolly Hastings (Hugh Fraser) or anybody else.
What is quite striking about this story as filmed is the utter flatness of all the other characters. To some extent this is a product of the fact that none of the actors is well known, but the script doesn't help either. They are simply boring (the Arabs are non-starters). Their function is to listen to Poriot, provide him with information or disinformation and to die when necessary. Actually one of the victims (Ms Leidner) has an interesting past but she is too pathetic to hold our sympathy. Perhaps the producers were trying to save money on salaries but the cast are not a prepossessing lot.
On the other hand the production values (for a TV movie) aren't bad and much of the film was shot in Tunisia around a real `dig'. (Iraq, alas, was not available). Hercule Poirot, always immaculately dressed and amusingly fussy, can always hold our attention even if he is to a large extent the puppetmaster. Although he makes mistakes along the way we can be assured the characters will fit his theories in the end.
Lousy art but good television.
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