HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Alphabet Murders, The The Labours Of Hercules
Year: 1965
Director: Frank Tashlin
Stars: Tony Randall, Anita Ekberg, Robert Morley, Maurice Denham, Guy Rolfe, Sheila Allen, James Villiers, Julian Glover, Grazina Frame, Clive Morton, Cyril Luckham, Richard Wattis, David Lodge, Patrick Newell, Austin Trevor, Windsor Davies, Margaret Rutherford
Genre: Comedy, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: Here is Tony Randall to tell us that he is taking on a fresh challenge, the role of Agatha Christie's famous detective Hercules Poirot. We next see him in his guise as the Belgian, informing us there is no point in following him because he is not in London to investigate crimes, yet someone might have other ideas about that as nearby a clown is visiting a swimming pool and while he is practising his diving while drunk, an assassin shoots him with a poison dart as he stands on the highest board. Meanwhile, Hercules feels as if he is being pursued, and when he goes to a health club to unwind, he has to face two eccentric characters...

Unlike with Sherlock Holmes, there are few who think anyone other than David Suchet is the best Hercules Poirot, and for those that have seen this film, Randall is usually considered the worst. The main sticking point is the approach, which was strictly playing for laughs, and while Poirot could be viewed as a figure of fun with his idiosyncrasies, he was always deadly serious about his job. Here the detective is far more frivolous, with a whimsical Randall chasing the killer around London as if this were a comic romp instead of an adaptation of one of Christie's most celebrated novels, and for many that is unforgivable.

It was certainly a curious choice for director Frank Tashlin, as for a start it was in black and white so his cartoon colours were noticeably lacking. Despite that, his sense of irreverent humour is well to the fore, and if you take this version as more of a spoof than anything with any gravity at all, then you'll likely get on with it far better. Surely Dame Agatha's original made more sense in its execution than this movie, which flits from scene to scene without much care for logic, and in the end plumps for the suspect we thought it was all along rather than go for the big shock reveal that might have offered viewers a surprise.

As it is, the only surprise comes in the rendering of the protagonist, with Randall more like one of Tashlin's cartoon characters: you can envisage Daffy Duck in this same plot with very little tweaking. And as Randall's Porky Pig sidekick, step forward Robert Morley as Hastings, a man from the ministry (some ministry or other, anyway) who has been assigned to ensure that Poirot is kept safe during his stay in London. This is made all the more difficult when Hercules insists on dumping him and the police at every opportunity to follow his latest lead, leaving Hastings looking increasingly dishevelled as he fails to spruce up during his pursuit (how strange to see Morley with a five o'clock shadow).

There has to be a mystery woman, and she is played by Anita Ekberg, ideal for this director's movies if not for Agatha Christie stories. She is introduced trying to strangle Poirot while he is in the health club and awaiting his massage, telling him she must speak to him but she feels the urge to kill someone too. This woman frankly makes no sense as a personailty, and jumps up at irregular intervals to muddy the waters of the investigation, which the Belgian realises is taking the form of killing people whose initials correspond with letters of the alphabet: A.A. for the clown, B.B. for the next victim, and so forth. He gets caught up in the machinations of a wealthy English family, but it's clear all involved were more interested in the gags, one of which includes a cameo from Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple (her expression is priceless), suggesting a series was being considered with Randall's Poirot. Understandably, that never happened. Music by Ron Goodwin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6346 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Frank Tashlin  (1913 - 1972)

American director whose films were heavily influenced by his years spent working in cartoons. In his 20s and 30s, Tashlin worked at both Disney and Warner Brothers in their animation studios, before moving into comedy scriptwriting in the late 1940s, on films like Bob Hope's The Paleface. Tashlin moved into directing popular live-action comedies soon after, with Hope in Son of Paleface, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in Artists and Models and Hollywood or Bust, and most notably Jayne Mansfield in The Girl Can't Help It and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? These films were full of inventive, sometimes surreal touches, and used many of the techniques Tashlin had learnt as an animator. Continued to work during the sixties, but without the success of the previous decade.

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: