I’m not quite sure what to make of this movie. We picked it up at the library (nothing like free movies, I always say). It’s based on an Agatha Christie novel and appears to have been made for the A&E cable network. I’d never heard of anybody in the cast except Jean Marsh, who was on the old PBS series UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS.
Since I haven’t read the book, I don’t know how faithful an adaptation this is, but the plot is certainly convoluted enough to have come from the mind of Agatha Christie. The hero is rugged young sculptor Michael Eastabrook, who finds a priest who’s been walloped over the head with a spanner (a wrench to those of us over here in the U.S. of A.). The priest gives Michael a bloodstained list of names and then dies, the cops come along and arrest Michael for the murder, and as soon as he’s out on bail he sets out to find the real killer, of course. This leads to a bunch of people who have apparently died of natural causes, a sinister guy in a wheelchair, more murders, a couple of pretty girls, a creepy old house, and an evil mastermind behind the whole thing. It all winds up being so complicated that after it was over Livia turned to me and said, “Wait a minute. Why was so-and-so murdered?” I had to answer honestly that I had no idea. It probably would have helped if I’d been able to understand more than half the dialogue, most of which was delivered in such thick English accents that my Texas ears couldn’t decipher it. I’d go and read the book, but hell, now I know who the killer is, so what’s the point?
Despite those complaints, I have to admit that I sort of enjoyed the movie. It was made in 1998 but set in the Swinging Sixties, so it has a little of the vibe of those old ITV series that the American TV networks imported back then, like THE AVENGERS. I wouldn’t run right out and look for a copy of it, but if it crops up on your TV schedule on a lazy Saturday afternoon, it might be worth a look.
Working The Trapline — Lift. Run. Shoot.
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