An American movie actress, best known for playing dumb blondes, is Scotland Yard's prime suspect when her husband, Lord Edgware, is murdered. The great detective, Hercule Poirot, digs deeper into the case.
Hercule Poirot (Sir Peter Ustinov) appears on a television talk show with actor Bryan Martin (Lee Horsley), who is making an action detective movie with Jane Wilkinson (Faye Dunaway). He also meets impressionist Carlotta Adams (Faye Dunaway). They all go to a party and Jane asks him and Captain Arthur Hastings (Jonathan Cecil) to go and meet her husband, Lord Edgware (John Barron) in regards to a divorce. They do so, to discover that the Lord had already granted her a divorce. Jane is delighted, but drops hints that she could have killed the Lord if he didn't grant her the divorce. The next day, Lord Edgware is found dead, and all of the staff at the Lord's house swear that Jane was the one who did it, but witnesses at another Lord's party swear that Jane was with them. Carlotta then dies, and Poirot must investigate, as Inspector Japp (David Suchet) is determined to put Jane away.Written by
Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>
"Thirteen at Dinner" is good, solid entertainment. I recently watched it on video, and apart from the obvious, dramatic commercial pauses, it was hard to tell I was watching a made-for-TV movie. Ustinov is my favorite Poirot, and he is his usual, boisterous self in this adaptation. I love David Suchet as well, and I was delighted to see him in the role of Inspector Japp. Is there a better voice actor than Suchet? If one were to listen to this movie with closed eyes, it would be very hard to tell that Japp was being played by Suchet, so convincing is his accent and manner of speech.
This production has a very British feel to it, but apparently it was an American venture. Surprising! Also, I had a bad feeling when I saw the opening scene- Poirot appearing on the David Frost talk show! But the filmakers and screenwriters did an excellent job of taking a novel written in the '30s and adapting it to the mid-'80s. They followed Christie's original plot faithfully, keeping all the essential elements which make it such a good whodunnit. It would have been nice to see a different actress play the part of Carlotta Adams (Faye Dunaway plays both her and Jane Wilkinson.) She did a commendable job though, as did the other supporting actors. I thought the interplay between Ustinov and Johnathan Cecil (who played Hastings) was hilarious. And I really wish that Ustinov had made more Poirot movies! Oh well. Check out "Death on the Nile" for another of Ustinov's best Poirot efforts. Hard core fans will want to see "Appointment With Death" as well, but that film ranks at the bottom of my Poirot list.
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