11 September 2005 | blanche-2
a lesser TV adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel
Having read all of the Agatha Christie books, I have to say that David Suchet was the ultimate Hercule Poirot as written by Agatha Christie. But my favorite Poirot, having nothing whatsoever to do with either Poirot or what Ms. Christie wrote, is Peter Ustinov. It always reminds me of what someone once said about Zero Mostel in "Fiddler on the Roof" - "He's fabulous...but what he does has nothing to do with Fiddler." Ustinov is a sheer delight in every way - he's funny, he's charming, he's warm, he's relaxed - all things that, frankly, Agatha's Hercule just wasn't.
"Murder in Three Acts" is a slapped together TV movie without the usual star power except for Tony Curtis and several TV actors - the gorgeous Emma Samms, who was a big TV star in the '80s, Diana Muldaur, Concetta Tomei, Dana Elcar, Nicholas Pryor, and several others. The characters have been Americanized, and though set in Acapulco, aside from a few exterior shots, you don't get much atmosphere.
Though the story is very interesting (it is, after all, based on an Agatha Christie novel), the production has a certain blandness to it. You know there's a problem when Diana Muldaur announces that she and the Tony Curtis character did "Private Lives" together. Now, I happen to be very fond of Tony Curtis - I did research for his autobiography, he's on the cover of a book I wrote, I found him a very charming man - but come on, PRIVATE LIVES? With that New York accent? I don't think so. He does, however, look really fabulous, and if you watch the scenes in his house carefully, you'll catch some fantastic photos of him on the wall.
It's an okay way to pass the time, and the plot is intriguing, Tony's Tony, Emma's beautiful and sexy, Nicholas Pryor is funny, and Ustinov is - well, he's Poirot even if he's not what Dame Agatha had in mind.