When Simeon Lee, a mean-spirited, tyrannical patriarch of a dysfunctional family, summons his offspring to his country manor house in Kent for Christmas, he employs Poirot to attend the reunion. The detective is not given a full explanation for his assignment, but he soon observes the palpable animosity, suspicion, and resentment among the three Lee sons. Also in attendance is the beautiful Pilar Estravados, the only surviving child of Lee's daughter, who recently passed away after living in exile in Spain. The ruthless Senior Lee, who made his fortune in the South African diamond fields, sadistically treats his progeny with deliberate cruelty and obviously relishes pitting one against the other. It comes as no surprise when the old man's throat is mysteriously cut in an apparently locked room, and although he was frail and wheelchair-bound, there appears to be evidence of a great struggle. Poirot is aided in his quest for a solution to the baffling mystery by Chief Inspector Japp and...Written by
When Sugden is at the room where Pilar is being interrogated, he says: "I better find Sgt Coombes" and leaves immediately the room. Later, when Poirot explains the solution, this scene is shown again, but Sugden, after saying that, doesn't leave immediately the room and waits a few seconds. See more »
Tyrannical patriarch invites his relatives over for Christmas...
Entertaining Hercule Poirot story with David SUCHET as the famous Belgain detective and PHILIP JACKSON as Inspector Jaff.
There are many familiar ingredients in this tale, including that of a tyrannical patriarch who snarls at everyone (VERNON DOBTCHEFF) while guarding his diamond collection and taunting them about signing a new Will. Unfortunately, after inviting Poirot to join the Christmas gathering, he's murdered in a locked room and therein begins the investigation into members of the household--all of whom hate the bitter old man.
It's the revelation of the locked room murder that's the weakest element in the story, based on the highly improbable staging of the event. But still, there's enough tension and mystery to keep Christie fans entertained--and the Christmas setting in the countryside makes this a visually appealing treat.
Good work by all concerned, especially SASHA BEHAR as a mysterious Spanish woman who is concealing her true identity. Humorous banter between Poirot and Hastings over quickly bought Christmas presents gives the ending the sort of lift it needs. VERNON DOBTCHEFF is chilling as the cantankerous, wealthy old man in the sort of role George Macready would have played to polished perfection on the big screen if this had been made in the '40s.
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