Review: ‘The Alphabet Murders’

This British translation of one of Agatha Christie's better-known whodunits, The A.B.C. Murders, gets the broad comedy treatment. Much of the suspence of Christie's writing is lost in converting to comedy, and as a result is no more than a parody of the original, insufficiently clever to be outstanding.

This British translation of one of Agatha Christie’s better-known whodunits, The A.B.C. Murders, gets the broad comedy treatment. Much of the suspence of Christie’s writing is lost in converting to comedy, and as a result is no more than a parody of the original, insufficiently clever to be outstanding.

Tony Randall, as Hercule Poirot, introduces himself in the opening scene with remark, I m a Belgian snoop. But he delivers a very definate characterization in making his way through the plot haze of a series of murders which has for its victims people with the initials A.A., B.B., C.C.

Lawrence P. Bachmann, who previously brought to screen four Christie mysteries with Margaret Rutherford, is responsible for excellent production values, making handsome use at times of London street backgrounds.

Robert Morley, as a British Intelligence (?) agent whose sole duty here is to see that Poirot remains unharmed while in England, like Randall clowns the part in a dippy sort of way. Anita Ekberg is mostly lost in her fleeting appearances bundled up in trench coat. Maurice Denham as the familiar Inspector Japp of Scotland Yard plays it straight as does Guy Rolfe as the psychiatrist treating Ekberg.

The Alphabet Murders

UK

Production

M-G-M British. Director Frank Tashlin; Producer Lawrence P. Bachman; Writer David Pursall, Jack Seddon; Camera Desmond Dickinson Editor John Victor Smith; Music Ron Goodwin Art Bill Andrews

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1966. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Tony Randall Anita Ekberg Robert Morley Maurice Denham Guy Rolfe Sheila Allen
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