Poirot Set 4 [Import]
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In two of the three episodes included in this boxed set, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot tries to solve a crime before it's even happened. In "Wasps' Nest," it's a murder--but the victim isn't the person you'd expect. In "The Million-Dollar Bond Robbery," it's the theft of American bonds en route from London to New York. But even the most devious criminal mind is no match for Agatha Christie's famous detective. These videos, originally produced for the BBC, are sure to delight old fans and enchant new ones. David Suchet's portrayal gives Poirot a depth of character often missing from other screen versions; Suchet's Poirot is charming, witty, finicky, and sometimes downright testy. Yet he is always compassionate, especially in the more somber "Plymouth Express," in which a mining magnate's daughter is killed for her jewels. The series' producers spared no expense with the set, re-creating mid-1930s London from Poirot's well-appointed art deco apartment to the seedy side streets where bookies and jewel thieves ply their trade. In "The Million-Dollar Bond Robbery," black-and-white footage of Poirot and his associate, Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser), has even been worked into a historical newsreel of the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary. With details like these, the series brings to life not only one of the most famous detectives in fiction, but also an entire bygone era. --Larisa Lomacky Moore
Top Customer Reviews
On the plus side, all three stories in Set 4 are lavishly produced with period attire and fully-elaborated sets, and thoughtful cinematography. On the minus side, nothing close to the same competence went into the plots.
"The Million Dollar Bond Robbery" recounts how bearer bonds disappear en route from London to New York aboard the Queen Mary. The story is so full of implausibilities and outright holes that one wants to weep. (Quasi plot spoilers ahead.)
For starters, the mise en scene is unconvincing. What bankers in their right mind would ship such a quantity of bonds (worth over $20 Million in today's money) in a mere briefcase left unattended by a solitary bank official in his stateroom? These people never heard of armored vaults or professional security guards?
Much is also made of the fact that only a few people have keys to the briefcase (thereby supposedly limiting the list of possible culprits), when in fact any thief would simply take the whole briefcase. Once you appreciate that the bonds could be stolen without benefit of one of the authorized keys, the whole storyline is revealed as a Rube Goldberg concoction of gross proportions, using a pathetically convoluted scheme entailing many risks, when a much simpler plan would have done the job much more easily and safely (for the thief).
Then there's the person who needs to be in two different places at once, and is able to shift from Place A to Place B and back again with truly impressive ease, like Captain Kirk beaming up.Read more ›
Collector's set 4 contains two similar and one quite unusual episode from the immensely popular British television series. Without wanting to reveal the solutions, I can only say there is a marked similarity in those of "The Million Dollar Bond Robbery" and "The Plymouth Express." The former is quite different in detail from the short story, which runs only 8 pages in my "Hercule Poirot's Casebook" and thereby pretty well represents the changes necessitated by inflating short mysteries into full hour episodes.
The second is a few pages longer and the television version is more faithful to the original. Although you do not have too much sympathy for the murder victim in this one, the shot of the body and Poirot's description of the deed itself is chilling. One of the better entries, to be sure.
"Wasps' Nest" is the most unusual of all the mysteries in this series. Again, I must not reveal too much, but we have a very nasty Poirot suffering from having no case at hand and berating himself for looking at a new situation concerning a friend in a most negative light. Of course, his suspicions are confirmed and he sets out not to solve a killing but to prevent one. But I must say no more. What is doubly fascinating is that the original story takes place only between Poirot and the person in question. So what you see in the final scene of the video is pretty much how the original story is handled. It is also one of the slower moving of the episodes.
Do not forget that the most excellent <ABC Murders> and <Death in the Clouds> are available on DVD.
The Million Dollar Bond Robbery - This is actually the highlight of the trio and features much enjoyable footage with the Queen Mary. As well as a rather good solution. - 4 stars.
The Plymouth Express - This is very well done and draws more emotion out of you than most episodes, but is still lacking. The plot just seems too simplistic when set against other episodes. Still the footage of the murder is chilling and you really feel for the victim's living relatives by the end. - 3.5 stars
Wasp's Nest - It's always nice to see them try something different, but this episode just didn't click with me. I've seen them all many times and I just can't get used to this one, even though I like the "solution." - 3 stars
Box Set Overall score (Not an Average) - 4 stars
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