Agatha (1979)

MICHAEL APTED

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

United Kingdom, 1979.  Sweetwall, First Artists, Warner Bros..  Story by , Screenplay by Kathleen Tynan, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by Shirley Russell.  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1979.

Unfairly panned, this enjoyable film concerns the real-life mystery of the twelve days during which Agatha Christie disappeared without a trace and returned with no explanation (a secret she took to the grave).  This fictional story has director Michael Apted and his screenwriters come up with a possible explanation as to what could have happened in that time, and though their inference probably isn’t as interesting as the truth, it’s not that bad a movie either. Christie (Vanessa Redgrave) leaves her husband () temporarily during a troubled time in their marriage and takes up residence at a health spa where a woman she thinks is having an affair with him is staying.  Some might object to the portrayal of Christie as a desperate and weak housewife, but having Redgrave in the role means that the character is always compelling and complex. Dustin Hoffman is right out of place as her love interest, while the production and costume design brings the period to life with style and authenticity.

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