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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 first draft of the screenplay, written several years before the film was made, was a collaboration between actor Zero Mostel and director Seth Holt - although Holt later claimed that "collaboration" really meant Mostel doing a series of dazzling comic improvisations around the basis of Agatha Christie's original plot whilst he, Holt, desperately tried to write it all down as quickly as possible whilst convulsed with laughter. See more »

Goofs

As Tony Randall is climbing out of the trunk of the car that he was hiding in. The tail lights are clearly on. But when Robert Morley is sitting in the car the tail lights are off. In 1965, automatic headlights were not yet available for cars. Especially cheap models like this one. But, when Tony Randall and the cops return the lights are back on. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Wiedzmin 3: Dziki Gon Krew i wino (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Come Back Baby
(uncredited)
Music by Brian Fahey
Lyric by Norman Newell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Comedy first, mystery next
12 February 2003 | by JuguAbrahamSee all my reviews

I have enjoyed David Suchet and Peter Ustinov playing Poirot among other interpretations of the detective, but Randall's turn is equally enjoyable. Randall is not a great actor but a fine comedian. Director Frank Tashlin should know a good comedian when he casts them--he had worked with Danny Kaye and Jerry Lewis to name just two.

The film begins with Randall introducing himself as Poirot with a twinkle in his eye. The director is clear from the first scene--comedy first, mystery next.

Robert Morley is fun, but Randall is even better--the bowling alley, the restaurant gags, the telephone calls--all scenes filled with visual, good humor rather than slapstick. Morley depends on the typical British attitudes, e.g., snapping fingers down the pecking order, jumping queues and not knowing one's shoe size all depicting arrogance of society and wealth. Director Tashlin dishes out a comedy with considerable social comment--Brits who cannot differentiate the French from the Belgian French and are in the police force!

The most intriguing bit was to introduce Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple and Stringer Davis as Mr Stringer of the Miss Marple films bump into Randall's Poirot briefly. Surely this was a gem of an idea from Tashlin.

The film cannot be easily trashed--it offers comedy and entertainment, nearly 40 years after it was made. It is definitely not the definitive Poirot but an interesting interpretation of Poirot. It is probably one of the best Randall films ranking alongside "The Seven Faces of Dr Lao."


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