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Product ID: 808747
The grande dame of teacake murder mysteries, Agatha Christie, has kept generations of readers--and viewers--in her
thrall, and this magnificent boxed set is a must for any Christie fan, rabid or casual. The collection includes eight
films made for British TV in the '80s, most starring the first lady of the American theater, Helen Hayes, as Miss
Marple, and the inimitable Peter Ustinov as Poirot. It would be hard to imagine more acting talent packed into compact
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