Poirot is visited by a distraught girl, Norma Restarick, who fears she may have killed someone but runs away, telling him that he's too old rather than explaining further. By coincidence, Poirot's friend Ariadne Oliver lives in the same apartment block as Norma and her two roommates and recently went to their party, where Norma was distressed when she was offered ice cream. Norma's ex-nanny, Miss Lavinia Seagram, an alcoholic, also lived in the block but was recently found dead, with the verdict being suicide. Ariadne is unconvinced and searches the nanny's apartment, finding a clue which she puts in her handbag. Soon afterward she is attacked and the bag and its contents are stolen. Poirot visits the Restarick family home in the country, owned by Norma's great-uncle, Sir Roderick, an elderly and half-blind man who is dependent upon Sonia, his young personal assistant (who may well be a gold-digger). Andrew Restarick, Norma's father, explains to Poirot that he spent much of Norma's ... Written by
don @ minifie-1
The title of Ariadne Oliver's most recent novel mentioned in this episode, "Lady, Don't Fall Backwards", is named after the fictional detective novel at the heart of the plot of the episode of the British radio comedy "Hancock's Half Hour" called "The Last Page". See more »
My "job", when reviewing Agatha Christie films, is fairly simple. Most of the time, when a film is faithful to the book, it gets a positive rating, and when it is a complete rewrite, I pan it. But now we come to a difficult situation where I must admit that "Third Girl" was not faithful to the novel, but it was still very good.
I have to say, I really enjoyed "Third Girl"! Now, let's be fair to Agatha Christie. "Third Girl" was not her best book. Entertaining? Definitely. Good? Oh yes. Great? Not quite. Many coincidences occur throughout, and even Mrs. Oliver's appearances are entirely incredible- she's the "deus ex machina" of the book.
In THIRD GIRL, not much happened. So, if there ever was a Christie that could use some spicing up for TV, it was definitely this one. I was perfectly open to changes, and I am so glad it turned out so well! David Suchet is once more flawless as Poirot. Zoe Wanamaker simply shines as Ariadne Oliver, adding a third brilliant performance as the famous novelist (alongside "Mrs. McGinty's Dead" and "Cards on the Table").
The opening scene with Norma ("You're too old, Monsieur Poirot") was so well-done! It was very comic, and grabbed my attention immediately. Norma mentions Mrs. Oliver by name, saying she recommended Poirot to her. This makes his subsequent visit to Mrs. Oliver far more credible. This is one of the ways the incredible coincidences in the novel are "ironed out", so to speak.
Now, the film takes more than a few liberties. If you thought the book was flawless and want a faithful adaptation, you may be disappointed. But it is very entertaining as it is. The few things that ARE close to the book (ex: Mrs. Oliver trying out her hand at trailing suspects; the very first scene) are done very well indeed.
In short, THIRD GIRL spices up a rather drawn-out novel very neatly for television. If you're open to changes in this film, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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