Efficient, but bitter and stubborn, barrister Sir Wilfred Robarts (Sir Ralph Richardson) returns to his office in London, having recovered from a heart attack. He is subsequently invited to defend Leonard Vole (Beau Bridges), who is the prime suspect in a murder case. Leonard is a former soldier that fought in World War II and is married to his beloved German wife Christine Vole (Dame Diana Rigg). He is unemployed and accused of seducing and murdering the wealthy middle-aged single woman, Emily French, to inherit eighty thousand pounds sterling.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This remake of the Laughton/Power/Dietrich film is quite enjoyable, owing to skillful casting, top production values, and, of course, Dame Christie's cracking good story. Sadly, the only liability is the performance of Sir Ralph Richardson (It's almost unspeakable to say this; I feel like Brutus plunging the knife into his Caesar). This was one of his last performances, and his immense skill simply cannot overcome his advanced age. (Granted, his character is supposed to be aged and ill, but Sir Ralph is unable to act intrigued and energized by his last case the way Laughton was in the original.) Still, his presence alone delivers barrels full of audience goodwill, and the piece is anchored by fine performances from Diana Rigg in the Dietrich role, Deborah Kerr in Elsa Lanchester's part (a fun bit of off-casting!) and by Beau Bridges, who stretches himself beyond his normal nice-guy blandness and convinces in the Ty Power role. A nice movie for a rainy afternoon or a boring holiday!
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