Exit Stage Left
I haven’t seen all of these productions. Usually I go through the whole series, and I may eventually come back to this.
I watched this because I saw “Death at the Bar,” which was truly superb. It was because they built it around director Winterbottom’s special skills, the writer working to them and not encumbered by adapting a Marsh story. This was chosen because though produced by the same enlightened folks, it has an ordinary filmmaker at the helm and it uses a Marsh story, one I have read.
The story is rather typical of the genre, one which wants overly dramatic characters so they are made people of the theatre. In this case, we have a triple fold: the key character is a famous actor at the end of his life. He is having a painting made of himself in a Shakespearean role. (These mystery writers don’t differentiate among these roles, instead clump them together and equate them all with some unspecified depth.) And the final fold is that he arranges a dinner “performance” of the reading of his will, which of course everyone hangs on.
Then there is a scene right afterward in which all these are at their most active.
It makes for a good read, and it has some Christie-influenced machinery behind it. But this specific trick is not well captured cinematically here. So the whole project sort of plods along.
A shame. Yes, That “Death at the Bar” was a fluke.
Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.