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Agatha Christies Poirot

David Suchet , Hugh Fraser    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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This beautifully packaged A&E set marks the return of David Suchet as Hercule Poirot in two feature films. Although the films are based on two early Christie novels, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Lord Edgware Dies, the stories have been rewritten to take place after previously filmed episodes in the Agatha Christie's Poirot series, thus accounting for the slightly older-looking cast.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd opens with a retired Poirot cursing at vegetable marrows in his country garden. When his old friend is found stabbed in the neck, Poirot begins an investigation that reunites him with Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson) and uncovers a chain of furtive phone calls and secret romances. Unfortunately, the restructuring necessary to adapt the story from text to film takes away some of the shock value of Christie's original ending, which caused quite a controversy when the book was first published in 1926.

Lord Edgware Dies finds Poirot reopening his London office with the help of Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran) and Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser). As they celebrate their reunion, Japp quips that there's "only one thing missing... the body." Right on cue, a corpse turns up just moments later. Most of the suspects are actors by profession, but Poirot's "little gray cells" are able to penetrate the murderer's disguise--though only after two more victims heighten the suspense.

The acting is impeccable and the sets are as lavish as ever in both of these adaptations. The main characters' delight in being reunited is sure to be matched only by the delight of Agatha Christie fans who now have two more episodes to add to their collection. --Larisa Lomacky Moore

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poirot in Perfection. Nov. 14 2004
Hercule Poirot is one of the most famous detectives in literary history. Yet, strangely, except for his portrayal by Albert Finney in the star-studded movie version of "Murder on the Orient Express," for a long time, there did not seem to be an actor who could convincingly bring to life the clever, dignified little Belgian with his unmistakable egg-shaped head, always perched a little on one side, his stiff, military, slightly upward-twisted moustache, and his excessively neat attire, which had reached the point that "a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet," as Agatha Christie introduced him through his friend Captain Hastings's voice in their and her own very first adventure, "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" (1920). But leave it to British TV to finally find the perfect Poirot in David Suchet, who after having had the dubious honor of playing a rather dumbly arrogant version of Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Japp in some of the 1980s' movies starring Peter Ustinov as Poirot, was now finally allowed to move center stage.
And the match is spot-on, not only physically but also, and most importantly, in terms of personality. Suchet shares Poirot's inclination towards pedantry: "I like things to be symmetrical ... If I put two things on the mantelpiece, they have to be exactly evenly spaced," he once said in an interview, comparing his real-life persona to that of Poirot, but adding that unlike his on-screen alter ego, "I don't need the same sized eggs for breakfast!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's baaaaaaaack... Sept. 3 2000
Hyper-intelligent, hyper-finicky Hercule Poirot is back, in two great adventures that I enjoyed. Suchet is in particularly good form, the role that I think he does best.
"Murder of Roger Ackroyd" takes place in a little village, where an old friend ends up dead, dead, dead. Poirot and his friend Chief Inspector Japp (I miss Hastings *sniffle*) must deduce whodunnit. I disagree with the Amazon review: I found the ending to be most enjoyable, even though it has been a while since I last saw this.
"Lord Edgeware Dies" is one of my favorite Poirots! In movie form, that is, I didn't like it too much in book form. Angelically lovely Lady Edgeware wants a divorce from her emotionally abusive, proud, jealous husband, but he won't give it.
When Poirot is sent to Lord Edgeware, the man claims that he already sent a letter, agreeing to the divorce. The ecstatic Lady Edgeware goes off to a party--and the next morning, her husband turns up dead, stabbed through the neck.
Did Lady Edgeware kill her husband? Was she framed? Or was it his angry daughter? Or his penniless nephew? Or the peculiar actress? Plenty of people have motives, and Hercule Poirot has to unravel who is the best actor of all, the one who can cold-bloodedly kill so well.
I particularly applaud the "Lady Edgeware" actress--she's really spectacular, shifting from one personality shade to another.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! June 25 2001
I loved these films! The story arch of Poirot moving back to his apartment and then in the next being rejoined by Miss Lemon and Hastings was brilliantly done!
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Not the best and most intriguing murder ever done, but seeing Japp and Poirot back in action was done, and the climax was just plain thrilling! - 4 stars
Lord Edgware Dies - This is probably one of my three favorite Poirots ever! (The other two are "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" and "Yellow Iris") The case is great, complex, intriguing, fascinating, and I love the drum beat music when someone's about to be killed! If this is the finale to the whole series, it's a great one! Brave! - 5 stars
- I heard they're still making more though, so that's good news!
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3.0 out of 5 stars New Poirot not up to earlier efforts Feb. 21 2002
I won't bother to get into details of the stories, since that is already well-covered by other reviews on this site.
This two DVD set includes "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" and "Lord Edgeware Dies". The producers set these stories as taking place after previous episodes. This decision was probably made on account of how much older the actors look. While Poirot and Inspector Japp have aged gracefully, both Captain Hastings and Miss Lemon show their years.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is one of Agatha Christie's most famous novels, but it translates poorly on the screen. It is impossible to go into details without giving away who the murderer is, but suffice it to say that the surprise of the novel is greatly diluted here. There is also a wistful sort of sadness that permeates the entire story, with none of the charm of the earlier episodes. There is also a feeling that the production was rushed, and that the actors feel uncomfortable in their roles.
Thirteen at Dinner is a much better production. All the old favorite characters are re-united here and some of the charm/humor missing in the first story is present here. There is also a greater sense of locale. This episode feels more populated and the variety of locations along with the complexity of the story helps keeps this moving along at an entertaining clip.
If you have the opportunity to purchase the two DVDs seperately, definately choose Thirteen at Dinner and forget about Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
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