Movie Review: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (1981)

“Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?” is a 1981 British mystery film directed by John Davies, based on the novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The film is a classic whodunit, full of twists and turns, and features an all-star cast of British actors. It is a faithful adaptation of the novel, and fans of Agatha Christie’s work will surely enjoy it.

The film follows the story of Bobby Jones (played by John Moffatt), a young man who witnesses a man fall off a cliff while playing golf. The man, who is dying, says the cryptic phrase “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” before he passes away. Intrigued by the mystery, Bobby sets out to solve it with the help of his friend, socialite Lady Frankie Derwent (played by Francesca Annis). Together, they embark on a quest to uncover the identity of the dying man and the reason for his cryptic last words.

The film is set in the idyllic English countryside and features stunning landscapes and period costumes. The setting is perfect for a classic whodunit, and the film captures the essence of Agatha Christie’s work. The pacing is slow and deliberate, allowing the audience to fully immerse themselves in the mystery and the characters.

The acting in the film is superb, with each actor bringing their character to life with skill and nuance. John Moffatt is excellent as the curious and tenacious Bobby Jones, and Francesca Annis is equally impressive as the glamorous and intelligent Lady Frankie. Both actors have great chemistry on screen, and their interactions are a joy to watch.

The supporting cast is also top-notch, with notable performances from James Warwick as the dashing Dr. Thomas Royde, Eric Porter as the enigmatic Roger Bassington-ffrench, and Madeline Smith as the seductive Moira Nicholson. Each actor brings their character to life with skill and nuance, and their performances are a highlight of the film.

One of the strengths of the film is its attention to detail. The period costumes and sets are meticulously crafted, transporting the audience back to the 1930s. The film also features an excellent score by Christopher Gunning, which adds to the atmosphere and tension of the film.

The plot of the film is classic Agatha Christie, full of twists and turns that keep the audience guessing until the very end. The mystery is complex and multi-layered, with a range of suspects and motives. The film does an excellent job of staying true to the novel while also adding its own unique touches.

However, the film does have some weaknesses. The pacing may be too slow for some viewers, and the film may not be as action-packed as some modern thrillers. Additionally, some of the clues and red herrings in the film may come across as contrived or far-fetched to some viewers.

“Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? is an excellent adaptation of an Agatha Christie classic. The film captures the essence of the novel, and the all-star cast delivers top-notch performances. The film is a slow-burn mystery that will keep viewers engaged until the very end. While it may not be as fast-paced or action-packed as some modern thrillers, it is a classic whodunit that is sure to please fans of Agatha Christie’s work.


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