Poirot attends a party at the great actor Sir Charles Cartwright's Cornish mansion. A local reverend dies while drinking a cocktail, but no poison is found in his glass. Poirot and Cartwright decide to investigate when another victim is claimed in the same manner.
The inoffensive Reverend Babbington chokes to death at a cocktail party he is attending with his wife at the home of famous actor Sir Charles Cartwright. Some time later Sir Bartholomew Strange, an eminent doctor and friend of Cartwright, also dies of poisoning at a dinner party he is giving miles away. There appears to be no link between the two deaths but Poirot, assisted by Cartwright, offers to help Superintendent Crossfield in the investigation and discovers that a mysterious butler with a birthmark on his wrist was hired for the night and appeared to share a joke with the dead doctor. This man has now vanished and would seem to the killer. A third death, that of a sanatorium patient who has written to Poirot, would appear to link to the doctor's murder and there is certainly a secret which somebody will go to any lengths to conceal - but who would gain from the death of a harmless old vicar? Written by
don @ minifie-1
Latest version of this tale is excellent in all respects...
I began watching this and had the feeling I'd seen the story before or read it years ago. Then I realized I had seen another version made in 1986 with Tony Curtis and Peter Ustinov essaying the principal roles.
In this version, MARTIN SHAW (an actor who strongly resembles Claude Rains both physically and in manner), does a standout job as Sir Charles, an actor who is famous for his dinner parties for his wealthy friends and theater associates. David SUCHET is Hercule Poirot, who suspects that a second death among Sir Charles' associates is tied somehow to the first one which was judged to be death from natural causes.
Plot development is typical of any tale by Agatha Christie--with lots of clues along with the usual red herrings. And it's given more serious treatment than the former version with Tony Curtis as the wealthy party giver.
The production gets meticulous production design, gorgeous outdoor settings, all photographed in vivid color so that it has all the trappings of a Grade A movie suitable for the big screen.
Although I guessed "who dun it" long before the tale was over, I admired the way Christie dropped her clues and set the stage for one of her more intricate stories of deception and murder among the jet set. And MARTIN SHAW does a standout job in an excellent cast of British actors.
It ends on a rather tragic note, with Poirot realizing how close he came to death himself.
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