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3.2 out of 5 stars25
3.2 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 7 September 2009
Ordeal By Innocence based on the Agatha Christie novel of the same name concerns Arthur Calgary (well played by Donald Sutherland)who returns to England after being away in the Antartic for 2 years. He goes to visit Jacko Argyle to return his address book and discovers that he has been hung the the murder of his mother. The problem is when he was supposed to have committed the murder he was in fact getting a lift from Dr Calgary. Calgary now realises he was Jacko's alibi and sets out to find out who the real killer is.

This is one of the best Agatha Christie adaptions superbly shot around Dartmouth,Devon. The cast is excellent and features such great names as Ian McShane (Lovejoy), Christopher Plummer, Sarah Miles and Faye Dunaway (Columbo It's All In The Game). In fact the only thing that lets the film down is the awful music score by Dave Brubeck which is better suited for a Jazz club. Still this is a minor gripe and should not put you off this otherwise excellent film. The print is pritty good and is presented in 1.85 ratio. There are no special features on the dvd which is a shame. All in all an excellent dvd and well worth buying if you enjoy a good mystery.
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on 9 September 2009
Thankfully they've got the sound balance right and the (excellent) Brubeck score doesn't swamp the dialogue like it did in the tape I recorded from the telly. Tight pace and excellent flashbacks to the (black and white, of course!) past. A great film to have around for an evening in with a bottle of Bell's (I bet they were appreciative of the product placement). Even when you know the story, you can enjoy an excellent and reliable cast.
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on 10 February 2010
This is rather a frustrating movie because I kept thinking that it could have been so much better than it actually is. 'Ordeal By Innocence' is one of the best of Agatha Christie's 'non-series' books - a dark and claustrophobic tale with interesting characters and that includes the victim, a complex and flawed woman but not entirely unsympathetic. This mid eighties adaptation manages to capture the rather dreary, ordinary setting. This is no celebration of the Devon coastline - the colour palette is muted, the weather harsh and inhospitable. I liked that the flashbacks were in black and white and the very 'real' feel of the whole thing. The cast is very good on the whole and arguably deserved a better script. They deliver what they have been given admirably. I am no great fan of Donald Sutherland but he makes a pretty good job of the idealistic Calgary, Christopher Plummer is very good as a rather frightening and harsh Leo Argyle and his household includes the elegant and cool Gwenda of Diana Quick and housekeeper Kirsten, very well portrayed by Annette Crosbie. Sarah Miles is fabulous but given too little to do as Mary and Ian McShane gets even less to do as Philip. The younger Argyles are all well acted too. Faye Dunaway is also very effective in flashback as Rachel although her accent wanders a bit (very American at the start turning to clipped English towards the end).

The script is OK - it follows the novel quite carefully (with a few changes) and does what it needs to do in order to tell the tale but its a little lacklustre at times and I kept wanting more! I wanted them to expand on Mary and Philip, I wanted Rachel to interact with all her children - showing her for what she was, I wanted to feel for all the family - not just Mickey and Tina. I wanted a clearer narrative line; it is terribly chopped about. I don't mind flashbacks but here its all done rather messily. Then there's the music! That's a very subjective thing; I'm not a lover of jazz and I found it inappropriate but also too invasive. I can appreciate however that there will also be those who love it.

So, an excellent cast, an atmospheric setting, an acceptable if unexciting script! Its worth watching and is a nice alternative to the more recent 'Marple' version. Still, it had the potential to be much better!
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on 7 January 2010
There are a few good film adaptations of Agatha Christie novels and, unfortunately, a lot of bad ones. Ordeal by Innocence regrettably falls in to the latter category. I loved the book, was amazed that ITV actually adapted it with Miss Marple in it, and then I saw this... the actors all over act(some less than others, thankfully, and Sarah Miles can always over act with panache) and poor old Donald Sutherland really does look completely lost and bored, just as I became, the longer the film went on. The continuity and editing make the whole thing feel like a bad experiment in film making and the jazz music score doesn't really suit the film and drowns out some of the dialogue at times. It is probably the closest adaptation to the book that I have seen, hence the two stars, but it's still not a patch on the book, which moves at a faster pace than this film ever does. However, I know there will be some people who will see this film and think it's utterly fantastic, so don't let this review put you off, but just don't say I didn't warn you!!!
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on 19 March 2012
I am a fan of the Agatha Christie movies and have many in my DVD collection and usually I enjoy them a lot however Ordeal By Innocence was a bit of a let down.
There is a great ensemble cast Donald Sutherland , Christopher Plummer ,Faye Dunaway, Sarah Miles etc and a mystery written by an acclaimed mystery writer.

So what happened I have never read the book so I cannot say how accurate the film is to the book but I was left quite cold by this movie , it has a running time of 87 mins so it is quite short as a result you get an all star cast sharing little screen time and a real lack of charachter development. In other adaptations of this kind there are usually an assortment of suspects and red herrings to lead the viewer down a wrong turn to keep them guessing to the end of the film.

I hardly got to know any of the suspects there wasn't sufficient time and the whole film seem to lead to a rather bland obvious conclusion.

Don't get me wrong this isn't the worst thriller I have ever seen and the ensemble cast all play their parts well the film just seemed a little rushed.
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on 16 February 2014
I absolutely loved the brooding atmpspheric feel of this film which matched the tone of the novel so well. There are many fabulous moody foggy shots of the coastal town of Dartmouth in Devon which is where the film was made and the Dave Brubeck jazz score was just right for the film as Agatha Cghristie set the story in the late 50,s and this was the music of the time. Donald Sutherland was superb in the title role and he was well supported by a star -studded cast throughout.
I highly recommend it as a great late night film to watch with a glass of whisky in your hand!
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on 2 November 2010
Excellent adaptation of one of Agatha's most underrated novels - no Poirot, no Miss Marple, but plenty of tension and intrigue.

The atmosphere is very edgy, the camerawork excellent. Personally, I find Dave Brubeck's score rather over-insistent, but others may disagree.
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on 13 September 2013
This movie is not a masterpiece, but Agatha Christie is always the best for mysteries.
The actors are very good, and the soundtrack magic
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on 11 February 2013
I really love Agatha Christies's films, this film has good actors and lovely plot. So makes a very enjoyable entertainment
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on 21 August 2013
This dvd was very loosely based on the book. I enjoyed Donald Sutherland's character, but Christopher Plummers character was so uncaring that it was disappointing. Also in the book Donald Sutherlands character ends up with Hester, but in the film she is a teenage child...just things like this made this disappointing to ok for me to watch
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