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The Alphabet Murders (1965)

Hercule Poirot investigates a series of murders in London in which the victims are killed according to their initials.

Director:

Frank Tashlin

Writers:

David Pursall (screenplay), Jack Seddon (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Randall ... Hercule Poirot
Anita Ekberg ... Amanda Beatrice Cross
Robert Morley ... Hastings
Maurice Denham Maurice Denham ... Japp
Guy Rolfe ... Duncan Doncaster
Sheila Allen Sheila Allen ... Lady Diane
James Villiers James Villiers ... Franklin
Julian Glover ... Don Fortune
Grazina Frame Grazina Frame ... Betty Barnard
Clive Morton ... 'X'
Cyril Luckham ... Sir Carmichael Clarke
Richard Wattis ... Wolf
David Lodge ... Sergeant
Patrick Newell ... Cracknell
Austin Trevor ... Judson
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Storyline

The Belgian detective Hercule Poirot investigates a series of murders in London in which the victims are killed according to their initials. The first victim is A.A. the second B.B. and so on. Poirot is assisted in his investigations by Captain Hastings and Inspector Japp. Written by Mike Hatchett <hatchetts13@webtv.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Put them all together - they spell MURDER! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Mystery | Comedy

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 May 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amanda See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is based on Agatha Christie's "The ABC Murders." At the time The Alphabet Murders was made, ABC Cinemas was a major chain in Britain. Christie's title was changed to avoid them being offended (and possibly even refusing to screen the film). See more »

Goofs

Albert Aachen climbs to the top of the diving boards during his aquaclown rehearsal, picking up a bottle with his right hand to take a swig from it, with the left theatrically outstretched. The shot changes to a close-up, and Aachen now has the bottle in his left hand. He smiles and the shot changes to a long one - where the bottle is now back a few steps behind him on the platform as he dives. See more »

Quotes

Hastings: Where have you been? What have you been doing?
Hercule Poirot: Arranging a little extra insurance my friend.
Hastings: Oh really? Personally I always feel perfectly safe with British railways. Mind you its very different in France, isn't it?
Hercule Poirot: I wouldn't know. I am not French, I am Belgian.
Hastings: Well it's the same thing, you both eat horsemeat.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Tony Randall emerges from Borehamwood Studios' Stage 4 to introduce the film and acknowledge his own starring credit, first as himself and then in full Poirot make-up and character. See more »


Soundtracks

Amanda
Music by Brian Fahey
Lyric by Norman Newell
Sung by Ray Peterson
See more »

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User Reviews

Agatha Christie didn't like this film and for good reason
9 October 2011 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

I suppose somewhere along the line, Agatha Christie took a deep breath and just decided to take the money and run. "The Alphabet Murders" is cute, but it doesn't have much to do with her novel, and if there is a worse Hercule Poirot than Tony Randall, I haven't met him.

The story concerns murders that seem to follow the alphabet, as Poirot pursues a beautiful blonde (Anita Ekberg) with the initials ABC, believed to be the killer. There are a lot of chase scenes and some slapstick, and poor Robert Morley as Hastings trying to keep track of Poirot.

This film was intended to follow up on the success of the Miss Marple movies starring Margaret Rutherford - in fact, Rutherford as Marple and her real-life husband, Stringer Davis, who plays her friend in the films, actually appear in one scene. While Rutherford's characterization has nothing to do with the Christie Miss Marple, it was successful on its own merits. The same can be said for the Hercule Poirot of Peter Ustinov -- absolutely delightful but has nothing to do with Christie's character.

I have seen Albert Finney, David Suchet, Ustinov, and Ian Holm do Poirot. Finney was very good, Suchet perfection, Ustinov discussed above, and Holm very funny (he plays Poirot in "Murder by the Book" as he reads Christie's final novel about himself). Randall does the role with a light touch, but with several different accents - French, British, and American. He has Poirot's vanity and arrogance as well. Perhaps seeing this film when it was made, his performance comes off as better, but seeing it today after a history of better Poirots, it just doesn't come off, though Randall was a wonderful actor.

The script isn't as good as the Rutherford scripts. Still, "The Alphabet Murders" is enjoyable enough. Just don't read the book, and forget it's Agatha Christie, and you'll have a good time.


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