Crooked House

Crooked House

DVD - 2018
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In Agatha Christie's most twisted tale, a spy-turned-private-detective is lured by his former lover to catch her grandfather's murderer before Scotland Yard exposes dark family secrets.

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Janice21383
Mar 06, 2019

In a world where every other Christie book has been filmed, remade, re-written, updated, altered, and filmed again, why is this the first filmed adaptation of Crooked House? Because it's not the usual Colonel Mustard in the library with a candlestick story. No eccentric but beloved and ultimately reassuring detective will appear. Thus it's tricky to write and market to both Christie fans, and to audiences that like dramas and thrillers, which is what Crooked House really is. The script is by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame, and the production is sumptuous and authentic, Ironically, it would be better if it had a lower budget, as they would have had to tighten things up. The same observation applies to the cast, which is almost too star-studded. Individual performances are good (the exception being dull Max Irons), but taken together, instead of coming across as members of a family, they sometimes appear to be actors having a Big Moment at an audition. This includes Glenn Close, whom I love, but she could be less arch. On the other hand, the character of the murderer has been toned down, which is a bit disappointing, but inevitable. It would have made the murderer too easy to spot, which might not have been the case in 1949 when the book was published. [There's a clue! -- or is it? ;) ]

j
jaldrich
Mar 04, 2019

I’m a huge Agatha Christie fan, but haven’t read this book. However, this movie does not have the feel of a Christie story. The filmmakers are trying too hard to make it spooky, and the characters too mysterious. No believable characters, except maybe the one played by Glenn Close. Just a lot of melodrama.
I won’t watch it again. It does, however, make me want to read the book!

s
SAPL454
Feb 25, 2019

Agatha Christie packs a punch in this movie!

d
DASTardlyGal
Feb 18, 2019

I read the book and really enjoyed it. Saw that there was a movie to it, so, decided to check it out. I thought it was a very good movie, but, I have so many questions about why the screenplay writers or adapters decided to go the way they did with the movie, since, I found all the added tension, character changing around, character hateful personalities, did nothing to add to it. If they thought all that was going to add something to the film, in my humble opinion, it failed. The questions I would ask the person/s who wrote the screen play: The widow, Brenda, was a brunette, from the contempt some of the family members had for her, would probably describe her mousy at best, AND, she worked at a tea house as a waitress. Ok, so, why did you find Christina Hendricks to play her, and change the character to be a voluptuous red headed, Las Vegas show girl dancer and American??? Strange. Very strange. The oldest brother, married to the scientist, their apartment was white, white, white, and blank and antiseptic, yet, the set decorators made it a nice place, that was warm and inviting. And, speaking of the oldest brother, in the book, he's a goofy, clumsy guy, very affable and nice, and yet, for some reason that I can't figure out, because it added nothing to the story, the screenwriters made him a rude, stuck up, pompous git who didn't have time for anything and anyone because he was too important, except for his wife. And then, we have, Magda. NOW, in the book, she's the titian, flaming redheaded actress, and they have Gillian Anderson playing her with a black wig. Why? Her red hair was mentioned plenty of times in the book. Another thing, they made Sophia stuck up and angry with Charles because he spied on her during the war. In the book, they were in love and both of them decided to wait until after the war was over to see if they really were in love, and they didn't depart on bad terms, like they did in the movie. What did that little "device" add to the screenplay to make them adversarial? Again, nothing. I guess I can live with the fact that in the movie, Charles is a private detective instead of a police officer and that his father died in the movie, but, is alive in the book. I can live with those little things, but, I question, what did it do to enhance the story line? Nothing that I could find. I found Eustace over the top obnoxious in the movie. Maybe I just didn't get that from the book, he was a rebel, sure, but, the movie made him out to be so over the top, I couldn't help think that kid was a future criminal and convict. Other than those questions and perhaps others that I can't think of now, but, probably will think of later on after I push the send button, I found the movie enjoyable, because, it helped with the visualization of what I had read. Of course, they could never find a house to even remotely resemble what the house in the book looked like in the book, I found what the director and location director found was pretty cool and how they did whatever cinematic magic they did to enhance it. Other than all those nagging things, I did enjoy the movie, and even though I had read the book and was surprised at the ending, it was still surprising to see who the murderer really was, and the end was heartbreaking. I would recommend the movie, but, just realize, the movie has a more hostile feel to it than the book did, and that's because the screenplay writers chose to make everyone hateful and uncooperative, whereas in the book, the majority of the characters aren't. I didn't mean to, but, gave it four and a half stars, I really meant to give it four stars. Sorry. I might check it out again just for the heck of it some time down the line.

m
MomofMac
Jan 31, 2019

Read the book. These were all fine actors, and I don't know whether any others could have done a better job, but these were all caricatures. Spectacular sets.

b
bookworm1961
Jan 21, 2019

Thoroughly enjoyed it. The sets and home where the main house shots were done is incredible. The slow pace allowed me to savour the moments and the twists kept me entertained.

j
jnewday
Nov 15, 2018

Actors are caricatures, no real depth. Entertaining and engaging, sweeps you along with the story.

b
Born2Weed
Nov 12, 2018

Plodding story and ultimately you didn't care about any of the characters. Waste of the actors skills and my time watching it.

a
ajs4books
Sep 10, 2018

Disappointing. Read the book!

m
misatim
Aug 02, 2018

The last Agatha Christie story. This is very well done from acting, costumes, etc but the best is the sets. They used many homes to make up the Crooked House and they are all spectacular. This director is amazing with wonderful shots, and no wonder with such a great cast.

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Quotes

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j
jimg2000
Mar 03, 2018

And these people relish their privacy as much as they relish their money.
===
Sophia has never been run away with in her life. By a horse or anything else, come to that.
-Charles likes to think he rescued me.
===
Anything you'd like to tell me?
-Not yet. You see, I read detective stories. And a good detective will take the time to gather evidence and question everyone before solving a case. Because the murderer is never the one you initially suspect.
===
I drank far too much claret last night. Gives me headaches. Burgundy suits me so much better.
-Well, perhaps you should take an aspirin.
Aspirin? Pah! Hmpf! Hair of the dog, darling. Yeah. Cure evil with evil.

j
jimg2000
Mar 03, 2018

Yes, my little brother is the man, despite having the business sense of a mongoose.
-But you are not in actual need of... Money?
No one in this house is in actual need of money.
-Why on earth would you stay here?
Because that was the deal. Besides, who actually wants to work for a living, Mr. Hayward?
===
So tell me, how does it work? All of you living in this house together?
-Who told you it works?
===
Your husband has a very sharp temper.
-Oh, he'd never hurt a fly. Loving your father is quite natural, of course. But this borders on idolatry. Being the favorite child isn't all jam.
===
Are you done with your interrogation?
-Mm. For today.
Did you find many clues?
-You know, Josephine, the first round of interrogation is not so much about finding clues, as it is about getting a sense of who you're dealing with.
===
I know lots of things. I listen at doors. People don't pay attention to me in this house. They're way too selfish for that. But I pay attention to them.

j
jimg2000
Mar 03, 2018

May I ask you a blunt question?
-They're the only interesting kind.
What's wrong with people in this house?
-Heh. It is a blunt question indeed.
Sorry.
-Don't be. Passion. It is a hothouse of suppressed passion. This is what happens when the person you love the most in the world, who you would give your life for, is actually the same person that you hate the most.
===
But if he died intestate, then... Then the primary beneficiary of the will is, of course, the second Mrs. Leonides.
===
My past? In Cairo. I was a diplomat.
-Of course. And I am a duchess.
===
Any one of them could have done it. They all had means. They all had opportunity.
-Motive?
Oh. Anger, jealousy, love, greed. Take your pick.
-So no communist, no Las Vegas mafia, no CIA conspiracy?
===
It's highly likely that when he selected Laurence for the post of tutor to his grandchildren, he was also selecting him as Brenda's... Yes. To keep Brenda happy.

j
jimg2000
Mar 03, 2018

I know you know things. Sometimes people don't know what they know.
===
When Brenda was first introduced into the household, did it rather upset the apple cart?
-The apple cart remained upright, as I recall. Nor was there any tasting of forbidden fruits, if that's what you're insinuating.
===
Did you realize then there'd never be any escape from this place until your father-in-law was dead?
-Yes. That exact thought went through my mind.
But now he is.
-So we can.
===
During the war, he branched out. Bombs. First you destroy a city, then you go in afterwards and rebuild it. I'm not sure the world needs to know about that. That and other things.
-And that's for you to decide, is it?
Yes, it is.

j
jimg2000
Mar 03, 2018

Sometimes I wonder why you bothered to have children at all, Magda. Soon as they were born, you were off to repertory in the remotest provincial theater you could find.
===
What are murderers like?
-Well, um, you. And me. Everyone. Hot-blooded. Cold-blooded. They do share one or two traits. Vanity. A distorted morality. A lack of empathy. And murderers tend to feel that they are above the rules and laws that govern ordinary mortals.
Heh. Well, that description fits every member of this family.
===
Surely we don't need a PI in the house for us all to tell each other the truth.
===
There's nothing like a real heart-to-heart.
-Assuming one could find any real hearts under this roof.
===
You know, Charles, they're trained combat dogs. They could kill you in an instant if they really wanted to.
-Meaning?
Like the rest of us, they like you.

j
jimg2000
Mar 03, 2018

You are an extremely clever woman. And you are a de Haviland. I have seen what it takes to operate at a certain level, and it is not always pretty. So I want you to remember that lineage will help you find what's most important in life. A sense of balance.
===
Grandfather always said fortunes don't last if they get split between the weak members of a family. They should be concentrated in the hands of the strong.
===
These vampires. They set us up because we're not part of their world. … We never stood a chance against them.
===
The evidence is almost entirely circumstantial.
-Usually is in a murder case. A lot depends on the impression they make on the jury.
===
Why on earth would we want to poison a nice old woman who had never done us harm?
-Perhaps she wasn't the intended target.

j
jimg2000
Mar 03, 2018

SPOILER ALERT:
Well, now is the time for Holmes to enlighten not only Watson, but Lestrade.
-I shan't tell the police anything. They're stupid.

I dare say you are extremely clever. It won't be much good to you if you're not alive long enough to enjoy the fact. Don't you understand, you foolish child, that so long as you insist on keeping your little secrets, you put yourself in imminent danger?
-Of course I do. But in some books, person after person is killed. And you end by spotting the murderer because he or she is practically the only person left. We must wait and see what happens next.
===
He thought she was beautiful and gracious. But he said there was no point in me having any more ballet lessons because I would never be good enough or gracious enough. He said it wasn't so much swan lake as duck pond.
===
I hate stupid people. "They're useless, apart from dying during wars" like grandpapa used to say.

Notices

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Gwen904
Jun 27, 2018

Coarse Language: A few occasions of taking the Lord's name in vain, one unmannerly reference to screwing someone.

g
Gwen904
Jun 27, 2018

Other: Drinking, smoking.

g
Gwen904
Jun 27, 2018

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Younger children may be frightened or disturbed by the identity of the killer.

g
Gwen904
Jun 27, 2018

Sexual Content: Kissing. Some revealing clothing worn by women. Suggestion of an extramarital affair. Sexual comments/references.

g
Gwen904
Jun 27, 2018

Violence: Two murders, one via injection with a needle, the other by a poisoned drink. Suicide and a resulting explosion. Guns and shooting at moles. Arguments.

Age Suitability

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b
brambleclaw_06
Jun 27, 2018

brambleclaw_06 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

g
Gwen904
Jun 27, 2018

Gwen904 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Summary

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g
Gwen904
Jun 27, 2018

Detective Charles Hayward is hired by his former love to solve the murder of her grandfather in a truly crooked house filled with crooked suspects. Charles must piece together the scattered clues and decide the killer's identity… before it's too late.

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