With his rumpled raincoat, ever-present cigar, bumbling demeanour and Sherlock Holmesian powers of deduction, disarmingly polite homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo took on some of the most cunning murderers in Los Angeles, most of whom made one fatal, irrevocable mistake: underestimating his investigative genius.
The show follows a crime, usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points. The first half of the show concentrates on the investigation of the crime by the police, the second half follows the prosecution of the crime in court.
Jesse L. Martin,
His friend, solicitor Gilbert Entwhistle, asks Hercule Poirot to help solve a riddle and a murder. The riddle has to do with Richard Abernethie's will. It would seem that he changed his will immediately prior to his death, distributing all of his wealth equally among family members but excluding George Abernethie who, in all previous wills, had been the sole beneficiary. The two had supposedly argued recently, but Entwhistle suspects the new will may be a forgery. As for the murder, he would like Poirot to investigate the death of Cora Galaccio, who was violently beaten to death the day after Richard's funeral. She too had inherited from the suspect will, but are the two deaths and the will all part of a greater plot, or is there a simpler explanation? Written by
For those of you still in the dark, I will not spoil this Christie, as it is definitely one of her finest works, and I stress that you should see it whenever you next have free time! If any of the adaptations are to be watched before (or in lieu of) reading the book, I would suggest "After the Funeral" for the following reasons.
I wanted to praise the performance by Monica Dolan (Miss Gilchrist), whose employer-companion Cora is brutally murdered at the outset of the film. Her portrayal of a shocked, nervous, insignificant woman is actually moving, especially when she has a moment of personal connection with Poirot, another person who travels alone in "the journey of life." And when the murderer is being revealed in typical Poirot denouement fashion, Dolan's reactions to the revelation are acting at its finest: you feel as angry at the murderer as you do sympathetic to Miss Gilchrist... something uncommon in Christie lore.
Although there are a couple of discrepancies between novel and film adaptation, as per usual (the business of the will perhaps making less sense in the film), the unbelievably lavish recreation of post-war England, thoroughly high calibre of acting and directing, and preservation (if not heightening) of Christie's mystery and intrigue render these discrepancies insignificant.
Bravo Suchet, Dolan and the whole team for crafting this masterpiece of murder mystery theatre, and the producers who gave it the green light! Encore!
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