1988, Movies

Appointment with Death (1988, Michael Winner)

This is a bit of a weird Christie as it’s shot on location and has a partially famous cast but the audio seems like it might have been added in post. (Or maybe it was just the streaming service.)

I didn’t realize how many Poirot films Peter Ustinov did. This is just one of many. This one has an interesting cast with Lauren Bacall (!!!), who hadn’t been in a film in over half a decade, Carrie Fisher, Piper Laurie and a whole bunch of people I had never heard of. It’s weird because in the ’70s (and into the ’80s) these things were usually completely a-list affairs. (Check out that one guy’s chin. I was really hoping he would be the villain and his weapon was his chin.)

Especially in the early going the film feels lower budget than it actually is. The house doesn’t feel like it’s in New Jersey and the audio seems added in post. (As I mentioned before, that might have been Tubi.) But once after the opening montage it does feel much more like a actual film worthy of of its stars and I stopped noticing the audio.

My biggest issue is the plot. There are a couple of things that don’t make sense and we weren’t sure if they were from the book or changes. The motivation and decision-making of the villain seem a little suspect. But, worse, the reveal seems to miss something crucial about the first time the victim and villain met (namely that it wasn’t the first time in the film). And Carrie Fisher’s character’s arc (and that of her husband) doesn’t really make sense either. If that’s all from the book, I guess it’s not one of her better ones. But if it’s the fault of the adaptation, it’s odd they did this to themselves.

Anyway, it’s definitely a little weak on the plot front but the cast is (mostly) good and I like the location shooting.


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