20 August 2004 | bbhlthph
Not well received, but better than many murder mysteries
I was looking up some facts about Britt Ekland in the database yesterday, and noticed a reference to her lead role in this film, which I have quite pleasant memories of watching about 20 years ago. As I would be much more likely to buy a DVD version of it than of most of the recent popular murder mysteries which have been made available in this form; I decided to look it up in IMDb to see whether it has been released as a DVD. Instead, I was surprised to see it appears to be on its way to oblivion. It is not listed by Amazon as available in either VHS or DVD format, has attracted relatively little interest among users of the database and has only received a very poor viewers rating (weighted average of 2.4 from only 7 viewers). From what I remember of the film I was surprised by both the meagre interest and this low rating, so I have decided to submit my recollections and see whether any other database users share this surprise.
My own recollection is that I regarded this film as a reasonably enjoyable little murder mystery of average quality which certainly deserved to be rated somewhere in the middle of the scale, say at 5 or 6 out of 10. I do remember that it was significantly too long (I believe that one version appeared as a TV mini-series, whilst others combined the four or so chapters into a continuous but overlong film). I recollect that it would have benefited from both a shorter screenplay and tauter directing, but I also recollect some quite pleasant eye candy craftily inserted during some of the overlong sequences which should at least have stopped men in the audience from going to sleep. I also remember that it had quite an ingenious plot which led to what I felt was a satisfying denouement. The final sequences are the most important part of a crime film, and here they were very much better than in most such recent films. Instead of the usual noisy, improbable and hard to follow shoot out; this film had a Hercule Poirot type ending involving the use of a little gray matter. This is why, if copies were available, I would probably buy a DVD and watch it again. In view of the poor viewers rating it received, it is interesting to speculate how successful a new release of a shortened version of this film as a home video might be. It would certainly not make the sales list burn, but I would expect it to sell better than much of the trash featured as murder mysteries on dealers shelves today.
This was probably quite a low budget film which was never intended to be more than a regular pot-boiler but even now, 25 years or so later, I can remember watching it with some enjoyment; and I am sure this will not be true of most of the very forgettable little thrillers I have seen on any of the movie channels recently.