Movie Details

Released in Great Britain as The ABC Murders, The Alphabet Murders stars a well-disguised Tony Randall as Agatha Christie's brilliant, insufferable Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Unfortunately, director Frank Tashlin chooses to open the film with one of his Pirandelloian gimmicks by introducing Randall out of make-up as himself, then cutting to Randall as Poirot. This has the effect of taking the audience "out" of the picture, and it takes a while for the film to recover. On its own, the plot is a good one, as Poirot investigates a series of murders, with the victims arranged alphabetically. There's also a well staged mid-film sequence, in which leading lady Anita Ekberg, as Amanda Beatrice Cross, supposedly comes to a soggy demise. But in never deciding whether to play "straight" or for laughs, The Alphabet Murders ends up a wildly uneven experience. Best bit: Poirot inadvertently confronting another Agatha Christie creation, Miss Marple (played without screen credit by Margaret Rutherford). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi