Agatha Christie Classic Mystery Collection (Murder Is Easy/Caribbean Mystery/Murder with Mirrors/Thirteen for Dinner/Dead Man's Folly/Murder in Three Acts/Sparkling Cyanide/The Man in the Brown Suit)
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Who slipped poison into the cocktail of kindly old Rev. Babbington?... Why is a mysterious brown-suited stranger trailing a young woman through exotic lands?...What is the secret behind the malevolent deeds at palatial Stonygates? Discover the answers and much more in this star-packed collection of murder most foul, mystery most fun. All eight movies are on DVD for the first time. And all are from novels by the mistress of mystery, Agatha Christie. It'd be a crime to miss them!]]>
The three Hayes tales (also available as a separate set) are Murder Is Easy costarring Bill Bixby, a still-radiant Olivia de Havilland, and a young Jonathan Pryce; A Caribbean Mystery, with Barnard Hughes and Swoosie Kurtz; and the grande-dame-duet Murder with Mirrors, with Hayes playing opposite her onetime real-life nemesis, Bette Davis. Mirrors alone is worth the price of the set, as Hayes is in fine form, completely un-vain and sweetly droll. As she heads toward a country manor to visit her "dear friend" Carrie Louise, played by Bette Davis. Davis, in one of her last film performances, plays a woman who may--or may not--be being slowly poisoned to death, but regardless is frail and slightly incoherent. Davis looks quite frail herself, and her line delivery seems a bit uncertain--perhaps extremely effective Method acting, or perhaps she was indeed as frail as she looks; either way, film fans won't want to miss this.
In the three Ustinov films (also available as a separate set), Thirteen for Dinner features Ustinov's Poirot trying to solve the murder of one Lord Edgeware, investigating, among others, the lovely mystery woman played by a witchy Faye Dunaway. (And in a fun bit of foreshadowing, David Suchet, who would go on to play a formidable, more metrosexual Poirot himself, appears here in the role of Poirot's sidekick Japp.) Dead Man's Folly finds Poirot and an old friend, a mystery writer played by Jean Stapleton, at a "murder hunt" party at which the dead body really does turn up dead. Murder in Three Acts finds Poirot far afield in sunny Acapulco, at a glorious villa belonging to a suave actor played by Tony Curtis. A random death-by-martini at a posh party opens the door to the possibility of murder--handy that Poirot is there to help the local constables. The supporting cast features top '80s TV actors like Emma Samms as the actor's arm candy, and Diana Muldaur (the wicked Rosalind Shays on L.A. Law). The production values are also topnotch--with gorgeous location shots in Mexico adding romance but also unnerving isolation to the proceedings.
The two non-Marple and -Poirot films (and thus not included on those individual DVD sets) are Sparkling Cyanide, starring Anthony Andrews and Harry Morgan as officers investigating serial poisonings, and The Man in the Brown Suit, a zippy yarn of international intrigue, with Stephanie Zimbalist as a tourist in Cairo caught in a nightmare of stolen diamonds and death. Supporting roles by Rue McClanahan, Tony Randall, and Edward Woodward add texture to the mysterious proceedings. Never has murder most foul been so deliciously entertaining. --A.T. Hurley
- Three Helen Hayes mysteries:
- A Caribbean Mystery (1983)
- Murder Is Easy (1982)
- Murder with Mirrors (1985)
- Three Peter Ustinov mysteries:
- Dead Man's Folly (1986)
- Murder in Three Acts (1986)
- Thirteen at Dinner (1985)
- The Man in the Brown Suit (1989)
- Sparkling Cyanide (1983)
Top Customer Reviews
Extra treat for American mystery fans: 2 of these films--A CARIBBEAN MYSTERY and SPARKLING CYANIDE--were written by our own national treasure of mysterydom, Sue Grafton, and her husband, Steven Humphrey. Sue went on to prove with her Kinsey Millhone "alphabet" series ("A" IS FOR ALIBI, "B" IS FOR BURGLAR, etc.) that she is a true "daughter" of Christie.
And it's a delight to see established stars like Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Tony Curtis, and Faye Dunaway mixing it up with newer talents like Stephanie Zimbalist, Jameson Parker, Anthony Andrews, and Lesley Anne Down. And let's not forget Sir John Mills, Maurice Evans, Tim Roth, Bill Bixby, Jean Stapleton, Edward Woodward, Brock Peters, Tony Randall, Rue McClanahan, Jonathan Pryce, and David Suchet (as Inspector Japp in 13 AT DINNER, long before he went on to play Poirot). Whew! But the real treasures here are the stories themselves--8 of the cleverest mysteries ever written, well-served (for the most part) by several generations of our finest entertainers. And the slim packaging is especially elegant. Curl up in front of your TV and enjoy!
PS: The popularity of these films when they first aired led directly to CBS's decision to do MURDER, SHE WROTE--yet another reason to be thankful for them.
But I must admit that the stars are probably the best part of these Warner Bros. productions. It's just a shame that with such great actors the producers didn't get better scripts and directors. The weakest of the lot is probably "Murder in Three Acts", with Tony Curtis. The dialogue is weak and the scenes very choppy and hard to follow. Some of these stories like "Sparkling Cyanide" have been messed with so much that there is very little resemblance to Christie's original story! But if you like mysteries and want to see some great old Hollywood stars (especially Helen Hayes) then you will enjoy this set.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent collection of Agatha Christies. They arrived very quickly and in good condition. Recommend.Published 6 months ago by Hels
This is a great collection of super fun mysteries. My copy has one strange flaw, the subtitles turn on for a moment in "Dead Man's Folly" but they turn off again after a... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ian MacKinnon
These are 1980s American made-for-TV movies, which should provide a hint about the quality, which ranges from below average to average, in my opinion. Read morePublished 7 months ago by VM370Guy
I purchased this as a gift for my wife "from our son" for Mother's Day since she is a huge fan, especially of Ms. Christie's Hercule Poirot mysteries. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Robert M