Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5
USA, 1988. Golan-Globus Productions. Screenplay by Anthony Shaffer, Peter Buckman, Michael Winner, based on the novel by Agatha Christie. Cinematography by David Garfinkel. Produced by Michael Winner. Music by Pino Donaggio. Production Design by John Blezard. Costume Design by John Bloomfield. Film Editing by Michael Winner.
After such enjoyably droll outings with Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Orient Express, Death On The Nile and The Mirror Crack’d, you’d think that making another film caper from one of her stories would be a breeze. Not so, for this murder mystery is dead from the time it gets going. Piper Laurie stars as an evil stepmother whose husband dies and leaves his entire fortune to his children. Clutching an older copy of his will that leaves everything to her, Laurie prods her lawyer into burning the new will, thereby securing her inheritance.
Immediately following that, she takes her adult stepchildren and their significant others on a sightseeing tour to North Africa, where she dies under the most mysterious of circumstances. Luckily, the rude and nosy Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov) is on the scene and he instantly deduces that her death is murder. As in all Christie’s adventures, everyone has a motive to kill her and as in all of Poirot’s investigations, the murder is solved because he always manages to be everywhere he shouldn’t. By the time you get to the outcome, you probably won’t care. This one has sleepwalking actors, cheap looking sets and bad pacing, a shame considering that the cast is actually a really good one.