Appointment with Death (1988)

PG | 102 mins | Mystery | 15 April 1988

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HISTORY

       An article from the 3 Mar 1979 DV reported that EMI Films Inc. had the film scheduled for production and release in 1980. However, over seven years later, a 31 May 1986 Screen International item stated that the Cannon Group delayed the film’s planned 1987 shooting schedule at England’s Elstree Studios while producer John Brabourne, director Richard Goodwin and Screen Entertainment were negotiating a deal to work on the project. There were no further reports of their participation in the production.
       Five months later, on 7 Oct 1986, HR announced that Michael Winner had been hired as director and was in Jerusalem, Israel, location scouting for Appointment with Death. A 3 Nov 1986 DV brief reported a car accident, in which Winner and two other individuals “were bruised (but not badly hurt)” when their Jeep slid into a ravine.
       While the 16 Dec 1986 HR reported that principal photography was scheduled to begin during Apr 1987 in Israel, a 24 Feb 1987 HR announcement listed May 1987 as the start date; the 16 Apr 1987 HR and 23 May 1987 Screen International confirmed filming started 24 May 1987. According to an item in the 28 Jul 1987 HR, production in Israel was completed in nine weeks, and a 6 Jun 1987 Screen International article stated filming was completed on 17 Jul 1987. As reported in the 29 Nov 1986 Screen International, portions of the film were to be shot at Cannon’s GG Studios located in Israel. The 6 ... More Less

       An article from the 3 Mar 1979 DV reported that EMI Films Inc. had the film scheduled for production and release in 1980. However, over seven years later, a 31 May 1986 Screen International item stated that the Cannon Group delayed the film’s planned 1987 shooting schedule at England’s Elstree Studios while producer John Brabourne, director Richard Goodwin and Screen Entertainment were negotiating a deal to work on the project. There were no further reports of their participation in the production.
       Five months later, on 7 Oct 1986, HR announced that Michael Winner had been hired as director and was in Jerusalem, Israel, location scouting for Appointment with Death. A 3 Nov 1986 DV brief reported a car accident, in which Winner and two other individuals “were bruised (but not badly hurt)” when their Jeep slid into a ravine.
       While the 16 Dec 1986 HR reported that principal photography was scheduled to begin during Apr 1987 in Israel, a 24 Feb 1987 HR announcement listed May 1987 as the start date; the 16 Apr 1987 HR and 23 May 1987 Screen International confirmed filming started 24 May 1987. According to an item in the 28 Jul 1987 HR, production in Israel was completed in nine weeks, and a 6 Jun 1987 Screen International article stated filming was completed on 17 Jul 1987. As reported in the 29 Nov 1986 Screen International, portions of the film were to be shot at Cannon’s GG Studios located in Israel. The 6 Jun 1987 Screen International and 30 Jun 1987 HR listed the following locations: Qumran, Israel; the Dead Sea; the United Nation headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel; Jaffa, Israel; Nazareth, Israel; and the old Acre located in Israel.
       While the 16 Dec 1986 HR stated that the film was set in the 1920s, a 21 Apr 1987 HR article listed the time period as the 1930s, and reviews in the 15 Apr 1988 LAT and NYT specified the year as 1937. As the time period of the film is 1937, the setting of the Holy Land, including the city of Jerusalem, was located in the region of Palestine; the state of Israel was not established until 1948.
       According to a 16 Dec 1986 HR news item, actress Maggie Smith was considered for one of “the main roles,” but she did not remain with the project. Items from the 1 May 1987 DV and 17 Jun 1987 Var listed actor Michael Sarrazin as a cast member, although he is not credited onscreen. Although the 30 Jun 1987 HR reported actress Carrie Fisher was cast as the “niece/secretary” to actress Lauren Bacall’s character “Lady Westholme,” she is credited onscreen as “Nadine Boynton,” daughter-in-law to “Emily Boynton,” played by actress Piper Laurie.
      End credits state: “The Producers thank: The Association for The Development of Old Acre Ltd.; East Jerusalem Development Ltd.; Old Jaffa Development Co. Ltd.; National Park Authorities, Israel."
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 May 1987.
---
Daily Variety
3 Mar 1979
p. 51.
Daily Variety
3 Nov 1986
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Apr 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 1988
p. 3, 9.
Los Angeles Times
15 Apr 1988
p. 28.
New York Times
15 Apr 1988
p. 4.
Screen International
31 May 1986.
---
Screen International
29 Nov 1986.
---
Screen International
23 May 1987.
---
Screen International
6 Jun 1987.
---
Variety
17 Jun 1987.
---
Variety
23 Mar 1988
p. 39.
Variety
13 Apr 1988
p. 21.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
The Cannon Group Inc presents
a Golan-Globus Production
A Michael Winner Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Prod mgr, London office
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Focus puller
Clapper loader
Clapper loader
Stills photog
Key grip
2d unit dir of photog, Israel
2d unit dir of photog, London
2d unit dir of photog, Italy
Stedicam op
Cam and lenses by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Exec ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Const mgr
Const mgr
Const coord
Prop master
Asst prop master
Draughtsman
Asst set dec
Prop buyer
Prop buyer
Propman
Propman
Propman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward coord
Ward mistress
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus ed
Orch cond
Arab source mus comp
European source mus comp & arr
Addl mus from
Mus rec at
Rome
Mus rec at
London
SOUND
Boom op
Re-rec
Sd ed
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup asst
Makeup asst
Makeup asst
Makeup asst
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist asst
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Loc coord
Camp mgr
Camp mgr
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Post prod supv
Prod secy
Prod asst
Period car supv
Period car mechanic
Asst to the dir
Casting dir
Casting dir (Israel)
Crowd marshall
Transportation capt
Animal handler
Exec asst to Mr. Winner, London office
MA (Oxon) M Phil
Accountant, London office
Secy to prod, London office
Asst, London office
Tech adv period cars, London office
Prod services in Israel
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Appointment with Death, A Poirot Mystery by Agatha Christie (New York, 1938).
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 April 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 April 1988
Production Date:
24 May--17 July 1987 in Israel, England, and Italy
Copyright Claimant:
Cannon Films, Inc., & Cannon International
Copyright Date:
10 June 1988
Copyright Number:
PA371967
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
102
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28815
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1937 at the Boynton Residence in New Jersey, lawyer Jefferson Cope informs Emily Boynton that her late husband has two wills. The first bequeaths his money and estate to her, but the second divides everything equally between herself and the adult Boynton children: her stepson, Lennox; her younger stepson, Raymond; her stepdaughter, Carol; and her daughter, Ginevra. After Mrs. Boynton threatens to blackmail Cope over a past professional indiscretion, she convinces him to burn the second will. She then informs the Boynton children, including Lennox's wife, Nadine, that she is treating them to a tour of Europe and the Holy Land. While waiting in Italy to board an ocean liner heading for the Holy Land, the Boynton family meets Dr. Sarah King. Moments later, Sarah hears her name called by her friend, Detective Hercule Poirot. Meanwhile, Cope arrives unexpectedly to join the Boyntons, and Nadine, Lennox Boynton's wife, secretly kisses him. Cope hands her a cigarette case engraved with a declaration of his love. Elsewhere, Lady Westholme, an American expatriate married to an English Lord and member of the British Parliament, arrives with Miss Quinton, an archeologist. By evening all are aboard the ship. In her stateroom, Mrs. Boynton confronts Cope about his affair with Nadine, and he reminds her about his knowledge of the second will. Later, Poirot walks along the deck and overhears Carol and Raymond talk about killing Mrs. Boynton. In the dining room that evening, Nadine sends Lennox to fetch her watch from their room as Cope joins the Boyntons' table. When no one is looking, Mrs. Boynton pours a lethal ... +


In 1937 at the Boynton Residence in New Jersey, lawyer Jefferson Cope informs Emily Boynton that her late husband has two wills. The first bequeaths his money and estate to her, but the second divides everything equally between herself and the adult Boynton children: her stepson, Lennox; her younger stepson, Raymond; her stepdaughter, Carol; and her daughter, Ginevra. After Mrs. Boynton threatens to blackmail Cope over a past professional indiscretion, she convinces him to burn the second will. She then informs the Boynton children, including Lennox's wife, Nadine, that she is treating them to a tour of Europe and the Holy Land. While waiting in Italy to board an ocean liner heading for the Holy Land, the Boynton family meets Dr. Sarah King. Moments later, Sarah hears her name called by her friend, Detective Hercule Poirot. Meanwhile, Cope arrives unexpectedly to join the Boyntons, and Nadine, Lennox Boynton's wife, secretly kisses him. Cope hands her a cigarette case engraved with a declaration of his love. Elsewhere, Lady Westholme, an American expatriate married to an English Lord and member of the British Parliament, arrives with Miss Quinton, an archeologist. By evening all are aboard the ship. In her stateroom, Mrs. Boynton confronts Cope about his affair with Nadine, and he reminds her about his knowledge of the second will. Later, Poirot walks along the deck and overhears Carol and Raymond talk about killing Mrs. Boynton. In the dining room that evening, Nadine sends Lennox to fetch her watch from their room as Cope joins the Boyntons' table. When no one is looking, Mrs. Boynton pours a lethal amount of her heart medication, digitalis, in Cope's wineglass. Meanwhile, Lennox finds his wife's new cigarette case, and realizes she is having an affair with Cope. He returns to the Boynton table and punches Cope before he can drink the poison. As the two men fight, Poirot notices a couple of cockroaches drinking from Cope's spilled glass. When the men are separated, Poirot looks down again and sees dead roaches. The next morning the ship makes port, and Col. Carbury meets his old friend Poirot, and Sarah. Meanwhile, Cope asks Miss Quinton about her plans and she states she is going to an archaeological dig. Later Poirot and Sarah arrive at the hotel and see the Boyntons and Lady Westholme. The next day, Raymond approaches Sarah and asks her to dinner, to which she agrees. That evening as Sarah waits at a café, Carol arrives, reporting that Raymond is not coming because Mrs. Boynton forbade him. Carol explains how Mrs. Boynton controls the family like the wardress of a prison, her former job. The next day, as Poirot visits Col. Carbury at British Military Headquarters, they are informed that Cope is missing near an archaeological site in Qumran, and Poirot offers his detective services. Returning to the hotel, Poirot overhears Raymond and Mrs. Boynton arguing about Sarah. Just then, Poirot invites Sarah to join him at the archaeological site and Lady Westholme invites herself to come along. At the site, they learn Miss Quinton is also missing. Suddenly, Cope and Miss Quinton arrive with a group of horsemen, stating they had spent the night in a nearby valley. As the horsemen leave, the Boyntons arrive. During lunch, Raymond confesses his love to Sarah, but she rejects him because he refuses to stand up to his stepmother. After lunch, Poirot departs the site to return later in the afternoon. Mrs. Boynton instructs her stepchildren to take a walk as Ginevra naps in a nearby tent. When Carol requests to tour the site with Miss Quinton instead, Mrs. Boynton suggests inviting Sarah and Cope, as she would like to speak to Lady Westholme privately. Later, Lennox heads back to the site during their walk. As Nadine and Cope continue ahead, Raymond stops to kiss Sarah. After awhile, Raymond tells Sarah he needs to return to the site alone. Sometime later, Sarah returns to the archeological dig at the same time as Poirot. She notices a site worker trying to awaken Mrs. Boynton from her chair and realizes the woman is dead. Examining the body, Poirot notices puncture wounds on one wrist. He asks Sarah for her medical opinion, and she declares that Mrs. Boynton suffered from heart failure hours earlier. They then notice Sarah's ransacked medicine case and an empty digitalis bottle. Poirot concludes that Mrs. Boynton was murdered. Returning to headquarters, Poirot informs Col. Carbury that he will disclose the killer's identity in two days. Later, Poirot encounters Sarah at a marketplace and questions her about the previous day. After she tells him about her walk with Raymond, Poirot says heard the young man talk about killing his stepmother. Later on, Poirot questions Lady Westholme and Miss Quinton about the murder. Lady Westholme states that she and Mrs. Boynton had a disagreement. However, she recalls seeing her argue with an unidentified Arab man. When Lady Westholme is called away, Poirot asks Miss Quinton if she too saw an Arab man, but she only remembers picking up a box with a syringe and that Carol Boynton claimed it. Later, in the hotel courtyard, Poirot approaches Lennox, who says he returned from the walk, checked on Ginevra, and spoke to Mrs. Boynton. Afterward, Poirot meets Nadine, who reveals she was formerly Mrs. Boynton's nurse. Knowing of Mrs. Boynton's heart condition, Nadine believes she died from shock when she learned Nadine was leaving her stepson, Lennox, for Cope. Later, Poirot questions Cope about his alibi, and he claims he did not speak to Mrs. Boynton after returning to the archeological site. Returning to headquarters, Poirot asks Col. Carbury and his officers to question the worker who found Mrs. Boynton, as well as other site workers. After leaving, Poirot finds Carol exploring a cave. She says that after walking with Miss Quinton, she spoke to Mrs. Boynton, then awakened Ginevra, who told her a sheik had been in her tent. When Carol finishes her narrative, Poirot spots Raymond, who claims he spoke to Mrs. Boynton about Sarah, but left when she grew angry. Returning to the hotel, Poirot is beckoned by a young site worker, Hassan, who says he will provide the detective with information about the murderer the following day. Poirot joins Col. Carbury and Capt. Rogers, the colonel's assistant, to discuss the site worker interviews, and Poirot gives Capt. Rogers the name of an American to investigate. The following morning, all associated with Mrs. Boynton's murder receive an invitation to tea at a nearby spring. Sarah and Poirot leave the hotel and see Hassan suddenly run away. Sarah chases after him, but as she rounds a corner, she finds Hassan shot dead, with a gun on the ground. British officers arrive at the scene and arrest her. Later, at headquarters, Poirot attests to Sarah's innocence and asks for her release. That afternoon, the Boyntons, Sarah, Lady Westholme, Miss Quinton, and Cope arrive at the spring for tea. There, Poirot explains that Raymond had found her dead, but didn't tell anyone, and Carol claimed the syringe as her own because she feared Raymond killed Mrs. Boynton by injecting her with air. Poirot continues that Nadine wanted to kill Mrs. Boynton to free Lennox from his stepmother's control. Nadine still loved Lennox, but threatened to leave him to force him to stand up to his stepmother. Lennox unexpectedly found her dead when he intended to confess his plans to leave with Nadine. When Poirot concludes that Lennox was so shocked by finding his stepmother dead that he remained silent, Lady Westholme interrupts, declaring that she needs to prepare for the Coronation Ball that evening. Col. Carbury then invites everyone to attend. Before the ball, Capt. Rogers delivers Poirot his findings on the American. That night at the ball, Poirot tells the Boyntons, Cope, Sarah, and Col. Carbury that Lady Westholme murdered Mrs. Boynton by disguising herself as a sheik with linen, sneaking into a tent to steal Sarah's medical syringe and digitalis, and injecting Mrs. Boynton. Her motive was that Mrs. Boynton recognized her as Laura Vansittart, a former inmate from an American prison. As guests adjourn for fireworks, Poirot follows Lady Westholme as she flees for her room. There, he claims that only Col. Carbury can arrest her. Poirot goes outside, where a gunshot is heard after the fireworks. Poirot and Col. Carbury arrive at Lady Westholme's room to find her dead by a gunshot. In an attempt to avoid delving into a suicide investigation, Poirot ruminates that she must have accidentally shot herself. The next morning, Sarah informs Poirot that she is moving to the U.S. with Raymond, and Miss Quinton reveals she too is going to the same destination for another archaeological excavation. The Boyntons bid their acquaintances farewell and return home, free of Mrs. Boynton's overbearing control. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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