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A fictional account of the real life, eleven day, never explained 1926 disappearance of famed murder mystery writer Agatha Christie is presented. On a cold winter day, her damaged car with ... See full summary »

Director:

Michael Apted

Writers:

Kathleen Tynan (screenplay), Arthur Hopcraft (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Hoffman ... Wally Stanton
Vanessa Redgrave ... Agatha Christie
Timothy Dalton ... Col. Archibald Christie
Helen Morse ... Evelyn Crawley
Celia Gregory Celia Gregory ... Nancy Neele
Paul Brooke ... John Foster
Carolyn Pickles Carolyn Pickles ... Charlotte Fisher
Timothy West ... Kenward
Tony Britton Tony Britton ... William Collins
Alan Badel ... Lord Brackenbury
Robert Longden Robert Longden ... Pettelson
Donald Nithsdale Donald Nithsdale ... Uncle Jones
Yvonne Gilan Yvonne Gilan ... Mrs. Braithwaite
Sandra Voe Sandra Voe ... Therapist
Barry Hart Barry Hart ... Supt. MacDonald
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Storyline

A fictional account of the real life, eleven day, never explained 1926 disappearance of famed murder mystery writer Agatha Christie is presented. On a cold winter day, her damaged car with her expensive fur coat is found abandoned at the side of a country road. While the authorities initially suspect that she could have committed suicide, her pompous husband, Col. Archibald Christie, who is less than cooperative with the authorities, is adamant that she is still alive. What he doesn't tell them is that he recently asked her for a divorce so that he could marry his secretary, Miss Nancy Neele. Although the divorce request was not a total surprise since she knew of the extramarital affair, Mrs. Christie still did not want to grant him the request since she still loves him. Concurrently, American newspaper columnist Wally Stanton was scheduled to conduct an interview with Mrs. Christie. Since he can no longer do so with her disappearance, Stanton instead tries to find out himself what ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A fictional solution to the real mystery of Agatha Christie's disappearance.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 February 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El misterio de Agatha Christie See more »

Filming Locations:

Bath, Somerset, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Puttnam was involved with the production, but left when much of the script was re-written to accommodate Dustin Hoffman. David Puttnam vowed never to work with Hoffman again. See more »

Goofs

When Agatha strikes the black ball on the pool table with the cue ball, the black ball banks off four rails and is on a path that would clearly take it to a point somewhere to the right of the lower left corner pocket and the ball comes to almost a complete stop before the cut. Yet, after the cut, the ball is shown rolling directly into the pocket. See more »

Quotes

Wally Stanton: Would you care for a kiss?
Agatha Christie: No.
Wally Stanton: Would you care for a cigarette?
Agatha Christie: No thank you.
Wally Stanton: Would you care if I told you that these clumsy attempts of humor are simply my way of telling you that I find myself very attracted to you?
Agatha Christie: I'd much rather you didn't.
Wally Stanton: Why?
Agatha Christie: Because I love my husband very much. My husband was very dear to me.
See more »


Soundtracks

They Didn't Believe Me
Arranged and Conducted by Howard Blake
Written by Jerome Kern (uncredited) and Dorothy Reynolds (uncredited)
Sung by Vanessa Redgrave (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Imaginative tale of the true Agatha Christie mystery
20 July 2001 | by FilmtributeSee all my reviews

This quirky tale of Dame Agatha Christie's eleven-day disappearance in December1926 is a speculative account of the mystery, combining a romantic interlude, suicide attempt and desperate race to avert the loss of the world's most popular `Queen of Crime'. The film is not exactly in the style of a Christie plot or typical of one, as there are none of the trademark multiple corpses that usually litter her storylines.

With her marriage on the rocks after being asked for a divorce, following closely upon the death of her mother, Agatha Christie seeks refuge from her coldly indifferent husband (a very apt Timothy Dalton), in the North Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate. With the whole country looking for her, Dustin Hoffman is the American reporter, writing for an English paper, who finds, and then seeks to help, her. The difference in stature between the leading protagonists makes for an amusingly incongruous sight on the dance floor, and wisely the invitation to dance the Charleston together is declined. Although Dustin Hoffman's strident journalist strikes a jarring note, Vanessa Redgrave sensitively displays a troubled, if rather elegant, Agatha Christie.

Helen Morse (Picnic at Hanging Rock; Caddie) is delightful as Evelyn Crawley who befriends Agatha, and is very discriminating in her choice of men, making an interesting observation on the unrealistic expectation (by both sexes) of men's fidelity, when she sagely states `Hardly seems worth it. Men change so, that's why choosing is important. Well we can't just let things happen to us.' The fine talents of Timothy West are also involved as the diligent deputy chief constable who withstands Colonel Christie's attempts to quash the hunt for his wife.

When, as expected, her husband's mistress also arrives in Harrogate, Agatha, who had been using her surname as a pseudonym whilst unconvincingly trying to pass herself off as a widow recently returned from South Africa, begins to plot an elaborate revenge. A large part of the film is given to scene setting with nice observations of English class snobbery and a time past. The final part of the film then changes gear from its languorous pace and moves into thriller mode with a race against time.

A fine sense of period detail and Vittorio Storaro's beautifully crafted cinematography enhance this film, with its gentle evocation of the 1920's gentility taking the spa waters for the relief of their multifarious ailments. The famed Victorian architecture borrows from Bath as well as Harrogate, along with York's railway station, and the Old Swan Hotel and Royal Baths are given full promotional treatment.

Although Agatha Christie returned to her husband her marriage finally ended two years later.

In the UK video copies are available through Blackstar and Amazon.


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