A lavish weekend party in a venerable old house promises to be frightfully jolly. Punting and pranks top the agenda until one morning a late sleeper doesn?t wake up at all. Another death, whispers of a secret society calle... more »d the Seven Dials and stolen state secrets thicken the plot. Feisty Lady Eileen "Bundle" Brent (Cheryl Campbell) runs her roadster right into the middle of the mystery and teams up with charming "man about town" Jimmy Thesiger (James Warwick) to find the fiends. Full of sly Christie wit, this ingenious mystery also features Sir John Gielgud in top form as Bundle?s distracted but indulgent father.« less
jammer | Laramie, Wyoming United States | 04/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 133-minute London Weekend Television production, based on Agatha Christie's novel, is in the best classical mystery tradition, starring a cast of lesser known but fine British actors. Principal performances are Cheryl Campbell as the enthusiastic protagonist Lady Eileen "Bundle" Brent; James Warwick as Jimmy Thesiger, the "man about town"; Christopher Scoular as Bill Eversleigh; and Harry Andrews as Superintendent Battle (whose personality dominates every scene he's in). Other principals include Terence Alexander as George "Cotter" Lomax with his comically sincere but whory pursuits of Bundle's affections; Leslie Sands as the strangely suspect Sir Oswald Coote; James Griffiths as Rupert "Ponger" Bateman, Oswald's administrative assistant; Joyce Redman as fading flower Lady Coote; Rula Lenska as the mysterious Countess Radzsky; John Vine as an earnest Ronny Devereux; and Lucy Gutteridge as Loraine Wade. John Gielgud, in a minor supporting role, makes an atmospheric contribution as Lady Eileen's father. Lesser suspects abound.Acorn Media states that due to age deterioration of the original 1981 TV materials, image and audio flaws were beyond their ability to correct. Indeed, pronounced image grain exists, especially in low-light and frequent night-time scenes; full-light scenes are somewhat better. Occasional color fidelity flaws and slight audio-volume fall-out also occur. While this reviewer considered these flaws a nuisance, their endurance is the price of having this otherwise great production available. Christie afficianodos may notice plot devices she used elsewhere. Adapted by Pat Sandys, the script has only trivial variations from the original novel. The large cast makes the opening scenes a little confusing as to the characters' relative importance, the several locations involved, and the convoluted plot elements. But it's all there from the book. Those encountering this mystery for the first time must either pay very close attention, especially initially before things sort out or, as this reviewer did, enjoy a repeat performance of this imminently re-watchable production. Attractively, in the denouement critical scenes are re-played in flashback; events being shown as they "really happened", including critical details necessarily omitted previously.The extravagant multitude of ticking and chiming clocks (even a giant clock tower); the lush room set interiors and period dress; the building exteriors, ivy, grounds and countryside; and the perfect-condition period cars generate a classic and satisfying atmosphere. For American audiences: diction is clear, accents presenting no problem. Great fun and highly recommended, essential for classic mystery lovers and collectors. Also included are cast filmographies and a Christie biography. Acorn Media strikes again in their commitment to great British material on DVD."
Nice, but a little too light-weight
Kurt A. Johnson | North-Central Illinois, USA | 01/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It all starts with a jolly weekend in a country house for a group of friends. However, when one of them turns up dead, apparently by suicide, it begins to look like something is up. As Lady Eileen "Bundle" Brent (played by Cheryl Campbell) and Jimmy Thesiger (James Warwick) begin to investigate the death, another chum turns up with a bullet hole in him. There's something dreadfully sinister going on, and a secret organization called "The Seven Dials" seems to be at the heart of it! But, there's even more going on here than meets the eye. The heroes of this adventure will have to keep their eyes and minds open if they intended to save the day! [Color, released in 1982 with a running time of 2:20.]
Overall, I found this to be a charming mystery. It's got several dead bodies in it (there always has to be a murder in a mystery to give it zest), and a complicated story that will leave you guessing as to the identity of the murderer, right up to the end. Now, admittedly, unlike the almost contemporaneous Joan Hickson-Miss Marple and David Suchet-Poirot movies, there is no actor in this movie who gives it the gravitas that it deserves. Instead, it seems a little too light-weight, with happy banter and too little seriousness.
But, that said, I did enjoy this movie. It's got a nice and complicated mystery, and I was as surprised as the characters when the murderer was unveiled. If you like a good mystery, then I highly recommend this DVD to you! "
A weak version of an old fashioned murder mystery
Susan L. Byrne | Caribbean Sea | 07/05/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"As devoted fans of Agatha Christie and owning many of the Hercules Poirot Series as well as all the Miss Marple mysteries, we wre sorry to see this treated as more farce than murder mystery and consequently found the actors and the acting fluffily light."
Agatha is always fun
Walter M. Speck | Florissant, Missouri United States | 01/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Probably less well known than her other works, this story of murder and espionage will keep you guessing until the end. Strong acting, along with some Brit stereo types make this a fun film. John Gielgud is priceless. If you are a Tommy and Tuppence fan, James Warwick is here on the trail of the guilty party. I highly recommend this film"
What in the world were they thinking about?!?
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 03/19/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"They surely weren't thinking about making a quality movie of any sort! This has to be the absolute worst Christie movie of all time. I could have videotaped something better in my back yard -- and, by the way, be ready for that actuality because it looks like videotape and not film. "Badly acted" doesn't even come close in this flick. Folks, the only reason I'm giving this one 2 stars instead of one is because the genesis of this film came from Agatha Christie. I've read everything she's written and I don't think she'd be proud of this cobbled-up, aimless mess. Unless you absolutely must own everything of "Christie", I suggest that you skip this one and go for the old B&W Miss Marple Series (which was great!). This alleged film is a real dog!"