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Why Didn't They Ask Evans? [1980] [VHS]

Francesca Annis , John Gielgud , John Davies , Tony Wharmby    Parental Guidance   VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Actors: Francesca Annis, John Gielgud, Bernard Miles, Eric Porter, Leigh Lawson
  • Directors: John Davies, Tony Wharmby
  • Writers: Agatha Christie
  • Producers: Tony Wharmby, Jack Williams
  • Format: PAL, Colour, Full Screen
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • VHS Release Date: 5 Jun 2000
  • Run Time: 144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004TT50
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 186,844 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Television adaptation of Agatha Christie's classic whodunnit. Vicar's son Bobby Jones (James Warwick) is enjoying a round of golf when he discovers a dying man at the foot of the cliffs. His last words are 'Why didn't they ask Evans?', and Bobby discovers a photograph of a beautiful young woman in his pocket. Intrigued by the mystery, Bobby teams up with his childhood friend Frankie Derwent (Francesca Annis), and together they stumble across a tangled web of false identities, faked wills and murder...

Product Description

The picture on the dust cover is different - it has a LWT logo.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 1980 Christie classic at last available uncut 31 July 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This classic 1980 3 1/2 hour LWT adaption of Agatha Christie's 1934 novel was repeated in October 1999 by Granada Plus, with at least 22 minutes missing, and after an angry response by Christie fans, this adaption was finally released in June 2000 in its entirety, and was a huge seller as a result. Granada Plus have been heavily criticised for editing, and trimming its output by at least 5 minutes thus missing out vital scenes which were important to viewers.
VCI/Cinema Club does these Agatha Christie adaptions justice, and with this story as we see Lady Frances Derwent, superbly played by Francesca Annis, and Bobby Jones, played by James Warwick, being led into a world of multiple identities, drugs, and deception. This is where the vital scenes which were cut by Plus are essential for instance the introduction of Badger (Robert Longden), plays a very important part in the proceedings, so it didn't make any sense whatsoever to make cuts, and edits to this story. This destroys the enjoyment of viewers. Of the supporting cast : Connie Booth is wonderful as Sylvia Bassington-FFrench, as are Sir John Gielgud, Bernard Miles, Lynda Marchal (LaPlante), Joan Hickson, James Cossins, but the best performances come from Eric Porter as the mysterious, Dr Nicholson, and Leigh Lawson, as smoothie villain Roger Bassington-FFrench, and one notable scene is when Lady Derwent, and Bobby Jones, are gagged by Dr Nicholson (Bassington-FFrench in disguise, with accurate synch voice over by Eric Porter to follow Lawson's mouth movements which is used to great effect here), and are told how they're going to die. Cue Badger Beadon to the rescue. Madeline Smith is also superb as the conniving wife of Dr Nicholson, who is unmasked by Frances Derwent as a drug pusher. Who was Evans?.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
If you're looking for technical accuracy, brilliant screenplay or slick digital effects, look elsewhere. But if you love good old fashioned whodunnits, you can't go wrong with this. The chief protagonists are entirely believable in their roles, and manage to hold your attention to the end, if only to answer the title question. The best thing about the movie is that even though, once you've got to the end, the plot is thin at best, it keeps throwing up little suprises on subsequent viewings. I first watched it in 1981, and have never missed an opportunity to see it since. One for the fans.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is there really an Evans? 1 Nov 2005
By bernie VINE VOICE
Bobby Jones (James Warwick) is pitifully attempting to play golf on ground above the cliff to the sea. He would most assuredly hit someone if the ball go jut get that far. He hears a cry but just plays on. That is until the search for the ball takes him to the edge of the cliff where it appears that a hiker fell on the rocks below. Bobby rushes to the aid of the fallen man. The fallen man come conscious just long enough to say "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?" then expires.
From here characters pore in from all sides and you need to keep a score card and there are several doctors and mysteriously guilty looking people. You may guess some of the story but not all as they hold back most of clues until the last moment.
Once again Britton has excelled in bringing a great Agatha Christie story to life. They did not try to overstate or rush through the story. Also true to Christies writing they left in the characters instead of trying to homogenize them into fewer numbers for TV's sake.
We recognize the actors for other such stories:
James Warwick who trained at the Central School in London also played Tommy in Agatha Christie's "Partners in Crime" series.
Francesca Annis was Tuppence in the "Partners in Crime" series. But where I remember her most as Lady Jessica in "Dune" (1984).
Sir John Gielgud, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic arts in London played Hamlet on the stage.
The big surprise is the late Joan Hickson who made her stage debut in prudential theater in 1927 and played the best Miss Marple in the Agatha Christie series of movies. You may not recognize her but she was also in "Eye of the Needle" (1981).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Didn't They Ask Evans? 22 Feb 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Oddly enough, this thoroughly 'English' version of Agatha Christie's classic tale is available only in the US NTSC version, so you will need to use a universal viewer, or, as in my case, set an Apple computer to NTSC mode, and use that. This is a first-rate version of the story, with excellent settings and a splendid cast, including James Warwick and Francesca Annis as the investigating couple (they would team up later as Tommy and Tuppence in 'Partners in Crime'). There is a star-studded cast (to use a convenient cliche), but they all make themselves belong to the story, rather than become a mere procession of famous faces. This version is very faithful to the original, and is fast-moving and authentic in feel. Very well worth acquiring.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A golf game on a windy bluff above the sea, a cry, a man lying on the rocks below who struggles to say with his dying breath, "Why didn't they ask Evans?" And we're off on a three-hour Agatha Christie tale of family deception, murder, lies and ruthless intrigue. We're also thrust into the Twenties and early Thirties' world of wealthy English bright young things, a world of upper-crust accents, immaculate manners and immaculate croquet grounds, country homes with many rooms and even more servants, and gleaming autos almost as long as a cricket pitch.

This TV movie, originally a three-part British television production, would seem to have everything. So why is it unsatisfying? And why, as unsatisfying as I think it is, is it still amusing to watch? The unsatisfying parts first. 1) The story goes on and on. It easily could have been cut by at least half an hour. 2) The mystery is convoluted and hard to follow. 3) The two sleuths, Lady Frances Derwent (Francesca Annis) and Bobby Jones (James Warwick) got a bit on my nerves. Bobby is brave, a puppy dog around Frankie and not too smart. Frankie is very much the bright young thing, superficially brittle with hidden warmth, clever and, to my taste, a bit too self-satisfied. I never forgot that I was watching actors. 4) The direction is heavy handed, as if the director felt he had to nudge us that we're watching a slightly silly period piece. The background music is frequently used to emphasize things that don't need to be emphasized.

What makes it watchable? Style, story and several of the actors. 1) This production looks great. The stately homes, inside and out, provide wonderful settings for distinctly upper class life. The period clothes for both the men and women look authentic and are often elegant.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Why Didn't They Ask Evans
Why is the DVD only in region 1 Why can't we buy it in region 2 it just isn't fare. we are missing out in Britain
Published 22 months ago by daisy
5.0 out of 5 stars drama from days gone by
Brilliant drama, its like watching a play in your own personal theatre. I love the style of this drama and without pounding loud unneccessary background music is far more relaxing... Read more
Published on 3 April 2011 by Bolan Child
5.0 out of 5 stars Two great presentations
You will want to get the real skinny on this one

Agatha Christie's "The Case of the Missing Lady" adapted by Jonathan Hale. Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2011 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and perfect Christie adaptation
Forget all those recent remakes of Agatha Christie stories where they utterly ruined and changed the plots and characters, don't even look at the new disastrous version of Why... Read more
Published on 21 Sep 2010 by Anne, a selective viewer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleasing
Beautiful, tasteful, amusing filmatisation and with due respect for author and period. Very good actors - James Warwick and Francesca Annis are a pleasure to watch. Read more
Published on 2 Jun 2010 by Berit Storset
5.0 out of 5 stars Why didn't they ask Evans by Agatha Christie
DVD arrived timeously and in excellent condition. Loved the movie and the actors. Sir John Gielguid is legendary and I loved Joan Hickson in such a different role other than her... Read more
Published on 10 May 2010 by P. Szewach
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Didn't They Ask Evans
I bought this video in error; I had searched for the DVD version. I already had a video version that I bought when it first came out and can recommend it to Agatha Christie fans.
Published on 17 Mar 2010 by J. R. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Leigh Lawson
In my opinion the star of this movie is Leigh Lawson, who plays the villain Roger Bassington-ffrench. (Do they really have names like that in England?) Such an attractive villain! Read more
Published on 4 Nov 2004 by Jack Fu
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