The Alphabet Murders

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This article is about the film. For the poem, see John Tranter. For the 1970s serial killings in Rochester, NY, see Alphabet murders.
The Alphabet Murders
Alphabet murders223.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Frank Tashlin
Written by David Pursall (screenplay)
Jack Seddon (screenplay)
Agatha Christie (novel)
Starring Tony Randall
Anita Ekberg
Robert Morley
Music by Ron Goodwin
Cinematography Desmond Dickinson
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • August 1965 (1965-08) (UK)
  • May 17, 1966 (1966-05-17) (U.S.)
Running time
90 min
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Alphabet Murders is a British detective film based on the novel The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie, starring Tony Randall as Hercule Poirot.


Albert Aachen, a clown with a unique diving act, is found dead, the murder weapon a poison dart. When a woman named Betty Barnard becomes the next victim, detective Hercule Poirot suspects that Sir Carmichael Clarke could be in grave danger.

As he and Captain Hastings look into the crimes, a beautiful woman with an interesting monogram named Amanda Beatrice Cross becomes the focus of their investigation, at least until she leaps into the Thames.


Production background[edit]

The part of Poirot had originally been intended for Zero Mostel but the film was delayed because Agatha Christie objected to the script. The film varies significantly from the novel and emphasises comedy, the specialty of director Frank Tashlin. Poirot is given buffoonish characteristics, while still remaining a brilliant detective.

The film features a cameo appearance by Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple and Rutherford's husband Stringer Davis as Mr. Stringer.

In popular culture[edit]

This book is referenced in the Detective Conan story "The Red Horse within the Flames".

External links[edit]