Hercule Poirot finds himself investigating the murder of his dinner host, Mr. Shaitana, who was stabbed in the heart while his guests played bridge. There are eight guests and Poirot finds himself in the company of three other investigators. The foursome interview each of the other guests in turn but make little headway until Poirot manages to reconstruct the various bridge hands played at the suspects' table. In doing so, he is able to identify one particular action that leads him to identify the killer. Written by
Alexander Siddig who plays the opening character goes by the name, 'Mr. Shaitana'. Ironically, this name means 'the naughty one' or 'the devil' in Hindi. See more »
During the party, Shaitana talks to a waiter and pushes him towards Poirot and Mrs. Oliver. When Shaitana pushes him, there is one cocktail glass on the tray carried by the waiter. When he approaches Poirot and Mrs. Oliver, there are two. See more »
[to Mrs. Lorimer]
I imagine, Madame, that to you every incident is as clear as if it was yesterday, like a ghost that never goes away.
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I was appalled to see tonight's airing of "Cards on the Table." It was one of my favorite stories that I first read thirty years ago.
The whole premise is interesting: 4 suspects, 4 sleuths, and an audacious murder committed in the same room as the other suspects.
The unraveling requires an analysis of the play of several hands of bridge and a psychological comparison of the suspects (rather like Philo Vance's analysis of a poker game in the earlier "The 'Canary' Murder Case", which may have been an inspiration for "Cards").
I am not a purist. One expects a couple of details of a book's plot to be changed for dramatization or conciseness. And sometimes, the coincidences Dame Agatha employs strain credulity.
However, this filmed version was so radically altered from the book, that despite having re-read it last year, I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next.
Although the murderer remained the same, much of the back story, and the motivations and ultimate fates of several characters (both main and secondary) were completely different.
It was followed by an airing of "The Under Dog." It reminded me that the film adaptations of the Poirot short stories are frequently much different than the written versions (this one has a larger role for Miss Lemon, who makes rather silly attempts at hypnotism); however, the novels are usually more faithfully done.
I hope "After the Funeral" (another favorite story of mine being released this year) fares better. Unfortunately, I've already noticed, by viewing the notes for the cast list here at IMDb.com, that the character responsible for setting the plot in motion is missing. Where is Cora Abernethie Lansquenet?
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