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Murder Is Easy (1982)

An American computer expert meets a distraught old lady on a train and she tells him that a homicidal maniac is stalking her quiet little village.

Director:

Claude Whatham

Writers:

Agatha Christie (novel), Carmen Culver (teleplay)
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Bixby ... Prof. Luke Williams
Lesley-Anne Down ... Bridget Conway
Olivia de Havilland ... Honoria Waynflete (as Olivia De Havilland)
Helen Hayes ... Lavinia Fullerton
Patrick Allen ... Maj. Horton
Shane Briant ... Dr. Thomas
Freddie Jones ... Const. Reed
Leigh Lawson ... Jimmy Lorrimer
Jonathan Pryce ... Mr. Ellsworthy
Ivor Roberts Ivor Roberts ... Vicar
Trevor T. Smith Trevor T. Smith ... Rivers
Anthony Valentine ... Abbot
Timothy West ... Lord Gordon Easterfield
Carol MacReady ... Mrs. Pierce
Diana Goodman Diana Goodman ... Rose Humbleby
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Storyline

A mathematician and author, Luke Williams, is travelling up to London on a train when he meets a old lady, Lavinia Fullerton, who is also going to London, to Scotland Yard. Lavinia tells Luke that in her small village several people have died. The local police are certain that it was all accidental and are taking no action but Lavinia isn't convinced. In London Luke watches, horrified, as Lavinia is run over in a hit and run and he becomes convinced that she was telling the truth. He travels down to the village and with the aid of a local girl, who is also convinced that the deaths were murder, sets out to solve the mystery... Written by Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Mystery

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 January 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Agatha Christie's 'Murder Is Easy' See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The British Rail poster ("Read this. Pay less.") outside Marylebone station as Luke and Miss Fullerton exit shows posthumously-disgraced ex-DJ Jimmy Savile. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the film Luke Williams is seen aboard a loco hauled train. The shots of the train on the journey alternate between this train and an Inter City 125. See more »

Connections

Version of Agatha Christie's Marple: Murder Is Easy (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surprisingly Not Bad
17 November 2016 | by mmcloughlinSee all my reviews

American adaptations of Agatha Christie (especially for television) tend to be on the low end of the scale. It's principally the writing, secondarily the directing – i.e. the writers and directors mold the Christie work into something they *think* American audiences want instead of giving us what we actually *do* want – which, when it comes to English murder mysteries, is the same thing the English want.

So, I was greatly taken by surprise so see that *this* adaptation of *Murder is Easy* was NOT bad. It is not grade 'A' quality by a long shot; but it is definitely a high 'B' grade. And it is certainly more faithful to the original than the 2008 adaptation (which has a lot of *very* bizarre flights of fancy that do NOT make for a better story; just a bizarre one).

In this version, Luke is not a retired policeman from India but a computer expert from America; but the age difference is the same (or at least Bixby was 20 years older than Down, which is the age difference in the novel). Lavinia Pinkerton has become Lavinia Fullerton for some reason, but she's killed the same way under either surname. Gordon Ragg, Lord Whitfield (no known relation to June) has become Lord Easterfield (in full credit, Lord Gordon Easterfield; but Easterfield would be his lordship, not his surname - so he might still be a Ragg, at least by birth). Honoria Waynflete, Rose Humbleby, and the rest (so far as I can tell) are all the same.

The plot develops steadily and cleanly, as the suspense slowly builds. As in the novel, Luke believes the killer is a certain individual – which, of course, is a classic signal to reader and viewer that it must be someone else; but who? Ah, therein lies the mystery – and when the identity of the killer is finally revealed, it *is* a surprise (unless, of course, you have already read the book) because it is somebody whom nobody would suspect.

And as long as nobody suspects you ... Murder is Easy.

Side Note for Radio Fans: The best adaptation of this novel to date (November 2016) is one that was done a few years ago for BBC Radio 4 by Joy Wilkinson. It stars Patrick Baladi (New Tricks, Poirot), Lydia Leonard (The 39 Steps - 2008 version), Michael Cochrane (Downton Abbey), Marcia Warren (Agatha Raisin, Dangerfield), and a lot of other very good British actors that most Americans will not have heard of.


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