Syria, 1937: Hercule Poirot is one of several people present at an archaeological dig to find the skull of St John the Baptist, led by the exuberant Lord Boynton and his loyal son Leonard. The enterprise has been financed by Boynton's rich, rude and overbearing American wife. She bullies her three adopted children, Carol, Jinny and Raymond, as well as the family's nanny. Sarah King, a young English doctor, falls for Raymond and would love to tear him from his mother's apron-strings, and another doctor, Dr Gerard, takes an interest in Jinny, as does a Polish nun, who, with Jinny, is subject to an attack - by white slavers, according to the independent travel-writer Dame Celia Westholme. A mysterious young American, Jefferson Cope, whose link to the Boyntons seems tenuous, completes the group. Only his Lordship has any love for his wife so that, when she is found stabbed to death one blisteringly hot afternoon, Poirot has more than his fair share of suspects to interrogate.Written by
don @ minifie-1
Features considerable changes regarding Agatha Christie's novel, like the fabrication of new characters (Lord Boynton, Nanny Taylor, and Sister Agnieszka), the omission of others (such as Nadine Boynton and Amabel Pierce), the retooling of existing characters and even the reasons of the killer. See more »
Look to the living. They pay their bills quicker and make better... conversation.
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The first thing I must point out in this film is the musical score. Absolutely stunning. Usually I find the music to be little more than background noise but in this case the music really sets the mood and moves each scene along. Second is the beautiful setting. The blazing heat of the Middle East desert has never looked so good.
As for the story itself, it is obvious that the book has been enhanced. It's been years since I've read this book but Christie's characters tend to be quite one dimensional and for the most part, the actors do enough with the characters to keep us interested.
It is not unusual for a Christie victim to be unlikeable,but the victim here is particularly evil. This comes to us mostly from the lips of other characters as we see little of the lady before she is killed. Tim Curry brings the husband to life in a way that is also not usually found in the pages of Christie's books. For better or worse,Suchet plays Poirot in the manner we have grown used to. I am not a big Poirot fan (as was the case with Christie herself) and I have no problem with Suchet's portrayal.
For the most part, the people who produced the movie present us with a gripping story that is all the better for the cinematography and score. Well worth the watch and more enjoyable than many of the Poirot movies.
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