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
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!" Although previously not interested in mysteries, his habitually meticulous research allowed him to quickly become intimately familiar with Christie's Belgian sleuth and the workings of his little gray cells - and to slip so much into Poirot's skin that I, for one, can no longer pick up a Poirot book without instantly hearing Suchet's voice as that of the great little detective.
This collection contains feature-length dramatizations of two mysteries. As usual, Philip Jackson stars as a rather sturdy, down-to-earth incarnation of Chief Inspector Japp, Pauline Moran is Poirot's epitome of a secretary, Miss Lemon; and Hugh Fraser takes on the role of Captain Hastings, whom the screenplays, unfortunately, make come across as more of a well-educated but vacuous gentleman than do the novels narrated from his point of view, such as "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" and "Lord Edgware Dies." (And this although the same station, ITV, did so well in debumblifying Sherlock Holmes's friend and chronicler Dr. Watson!)
"The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" (1926) is one of the most remarkable entries in all of Christie's collection, not least because of its completely unexpected turntable conclusion, and (I would always have thought) darn near unfilmable because of the way it's told. This version moves the story towards the end of Poirot's career to better explain his retirement to King's Abbot, an archetypal English village like those that later became so crucial to Christie's Miss Marple mysteries (the first of which, "Muder at the Vicarage," dates from 1930). Roger Ackroyd is an industrialist, the richest man around and "more impossibly like a country squire than any country squire could really be," as village doctor James Sheppard describes him in the novel. When he is found murdered, Poirot steps out of his retirement to investigate his death - and its connection to that of Ackroyd's friend, the recently widowed Mrs. Ferrars.
In "Lord Edgware Dies" (a/k/a "Thirteen at Dinner," 1933), Poirot is asked to intervene on behalf of beautiful young actress Jane Wilkinson, Lady Edgware by marriage, who now seeks her husband's consent to a divorce. When shortly thereafter Lord Edgware is found murdered, Lady Edgware is Inspector Japp's obvious suspect. Rightly so? Poirot, somewhat dazzled by the Lady, is not sure - and unfortunately, his little gray cells do not work quickly enough to prevent a second murder, that of American actress Carlotta Adams, and even a third one, of a young playwright.
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!
"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.