‘Knives Out’ meets ‘Sleuth’ on the way to the Oscars

‘Knives Out’ meets ‘Sleuth’ on the way to the Oscars
Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Death on the Nile,” Ira Levin’s “Deathtrap” and Robert Altman’s “Gosford Park” are among the classic murder mysteries mentioned as inspiration for Rian Johnson’s deliciously clever thriller “Knives Out,” which has earned three Golden Globe nominations and several critics’ awards.

But alas, dear reader, the game is afoot.

As soon as I saw the puzzle-perfect interior of mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer)’s mansion, I thought of the 1972 classic mystery thriller “Sleuth,” starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and adapted by Anthony Schaffer from his Tony Award-winning 1970 play.

The film version of “Sleuth” earned four Oscar nominations: Best Actor for both Olivier and Caine, director for Mankiewicz (it would be the multi-Oscar-winner’s final film) and John Addison’s playful score. Though most acting honors for lead actor went to Marlon Brando for “The Godfather,
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