31 December 2003 | jamesbernthal
Read the book
"Sparkling Cyanide" is one of my favourite Agatha Christie novels. So you can imagine my delight when I heard of a new film of it, starring Oliver Ford-Davis. But, alas, this does no-where near justice to the original book. They've kept about two names the same (Lucilla, Iris), added about 10 new characters, and changed most of the original characters around to fit a modern-day setting. The detectives are two elderly MI5 agents (compare that to the respectable retired colonel in the book), it just doesn't work, investigating the murder of an uneducated footballer's wife at a nightclub (compare that to the glamorous wife of a successful businessman who dies at a high-class resteraunt in the book). The solution isn't really explained at all, the interval of two years is clumsily merged into two weeks, and Rosemary Barton is portrayed as a wrist-slitting slut, a tragic loss of one of Agatha Christie's most beautiful descriptions. The only member of the cast who can act is Oliver Ford-Davis, whose talent is pointlessly wasted. Perhaps this film was meant to appeal to the younger generation. It doesn't. I represent the younger generation, this isn't right. If you've never heard of Agatha Christie before, and like things on the TV like "Silent Witness", I suppose this is aimed at you. But you won't like it. If you're a die-hard Agatha Christie fan, like me, follow the advice of Rosalind Hicks, her daughter, who hates the film, and "stick to the book".