Agatha Christie on Suspense

While the works of Agatha Christie have been dramatized on the radio for the BBC; a few have been presented on the American radio mystery series Suspense. In 1949, there was a broadcast of the short story Where There's a Will starring the English actor James Mason and his wife Pamela Kellino. Mason appeared as Odell Gardener in the film version of Evil Under the Sun with Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot.  Then in 1943 and 1946 was a broadcast of the story Philomel Cottage. The first featured Orson Welles and Geraldine Fitzgerald (as Gerald Martin and Alix Martin) and the second featured Lilli Palmer as Alix with the radio actor Elliott Lewis as Gerald.  Welles appeared in a a hour-long version of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd on the series The Campbell Playhouse. Where he not only played the role of Hercule Poirot but also the story's narrator Dr. James Sheppard. (In my opinion, he gives a questionable performance as Poirot but he does a fine job as the narrator. Then in 1943, was a half-hour broadcast of the Poirot novel The ABC Murders with the real-life husband and wife team Charles Laughton as Alexander Bonaparte Cust, and Elsa Lanchester as Lily Marbury.  Also joining them was the English character actor Bramwell Fletcher as Franklin Clarke.  Because it was only a half-hour program and was not a detective series the producer William Spier and Robert Tallman, a radio writer they strip out the characters of Poirot, Hastings,and Japp.  Instead their adaptation focused on the salient points: the murders, their locations, the suspected killer, the real killer, and enough to explain why the prime suspect acts the way he does.  While it may not be entirely faithful to the book it's a pretty good radio drama and an opportunity to hear Laughton and his wife together on the radio.  They are probably memorable in the 1957 film version of Witness for the Prosecution . These are available to hear on the Internet for free.  Some other radio shows that feature Agatha Christie include The Campbell Playhouse, Murder Clinic, and Molle Mystery Theatre.  


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