Agatha Christie, one of the world’s most popular writers of detective fiction, utterly disappeared for 11 days in 1926. She was later discovered at Hydro Harrowgate, a spa in Yorkshire, England.
More than 15,000 persons searched high and low for the novelist who allegedly ran away after her husband Archibald told her he was leaving her for his secretary. Upon her return, Christie stated that she remembered nothing, such was the shock of her matrimonial break. That is the only story known.
AGATHA is “an imaginary solution to an authentic mystery,” speculating on what happened to Christie during the 11 days she was missing. More than succeeding as a mystery, the film works as a romance between Christie (Redgrave) and American reporter Wally Stanton (Hoffman) who is searching for her.
Timothy Dalton, who would in 1987 find fame as James Bond in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, plays Christie’s adulterous husband. Thanks to production designer Shirley Russell and cameraman Vittorio Storaro, post-WWI Britain is beautifully recreated.
The New Yorker was not quite convinced though saying ‘It has a general air of knowingness, but seems to be missing the scenes which would explain why it was made.’
UK / Warner – First Artists – Sweetall / 105 minutes / 1979
Director: Michael Apted
Script: Kathleen Tynan, Arthur Hopcraft,
Dustin Hoffman as Wally Stanton
Peter Arne as Hotel Manager
Vanessa Redgrave as Agatha Christie
Alan Badel as Lord Brackenbury
Helen Morse as Evelyn Crawley
Timothy Dalton as Col. Archibald Christie
Christopher Fairbank as Luland
Hubert Rees as Official at Luncheon
Celia Gregory as Nancy Neele
Paul Brooke as John Foster
Carolyn Pickles as Charlotte Fisher
Timothy West as Kenward
Liz Smith as Flora
Tim Seely as Capt. Rankin
David Hargreaves as Sgt Jarvis
Tony Britton as William Collins
Barry Hart as Supt MacDonald
Sandra Voe as Therapist
Robert Longden as Pettelson
Yvonne Gilan as Mrs Braithwaite
Stan Richards as Hotel Porter