Sunday, July 01, 2018

The Alphabet Murders (1965)


What a ghastly film. If you have even a smidgeon of respect for Agatha Christie and her sleuth Hercule Poirot, this film is an abomination. If on the other hand you could care less I suppose you might find this mildly entertaining in a 60's cornball manner. The director Frank Tashlin was one of the slickest comedy directors in the 1950's doing a few Jerry Lewis films as well as The Girl Can't Help it and Susan Slept here. But I have no idea what he was thinking here.


Maybe that should have been a tip-off because this mystery comedy skews heavily towards comedy. Agatha Christie who was still alive and well said of this film "The ABC Murders I was not allowed to see. My friends and publishers told me the agony would be too great". Not that Christie had much better luck with her Miss Marple character around the same time - she hated the Margaret Rutherford films. I admit to sort of having a fondness for them but they really are quite bad on so many levels.

I know that agony Agatha spoke of but I just finished off the book and was curious. It is just stupid all the way through from Tony Randall's portrayal of Poirot as a mincing old queen right out of The Birdcage to the way they take a reasonably ok plot (far from my favorite Poirot) and basically ripped it to shreds and then tried putting it back together in a black-out. Then they have the nerve to have Robert Morley as Hastings his narrator in many books ala Watson as a bumbling fool and not even really Hastings as we know him. The only positive thing I can think of is that Anita Ekberg is in it as the femme fatale but still the image of Poirot bowling on tippy toes will stick with me longer than I like to think.



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