Poirot Classic Crimes Collecti
The incomparable David Suchet reprises his role as Agatha Christie's indefatigable Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot in this collection of four A&E teleplays. Poirot is older now, and mostly solo in solving his crimes, without his previous sidekicks Hastings and Japp. Yet the world-weary Suchet is as compelling as ever to watch, surrounded by the decadent rich who seem to find murder an easy solution to life's inconveniences. The Mystery of the Blue Train, for instance, features a young, and suddenly very dead, heiress, with a dissolute husband, an overprotective father (a fabulously blustery Elliott Gould), greedy cousins, and all sorts of scheming money-owing hangers-on--all cocooned and coddled on a luxury train on the French Riviera. Indeed, one of the many pleasures of this collection is its very high production values; sets, costumes, and locations are detailed and opulently believable. (Though one annoying tic from the films' TV roots inexplicably remains: some "naughty" words, like the "God" in "God-damned," are edited out; surely we home viewers could handle a teensy bit of upper-crust rough talk?) The supporting casts are rich and varied, and the suspects deliciously numerous. And at the center of it all is the ever-refined, driven Poirot, who will not rest until the evil-doers are exposed. Extras include biographies of Agatha Christie and of David Suchet. --A.T. Hurley
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Before delving into the four new titles, please note that this glossy A&E series thus far does not resemble the earlier British-produced TV episodes and films of the 1990's that David Suchet starred in as Poirot. These newer A&E films move seemingly at a much brisker pace and employ some flashy camera techniques, but retain only a modest helping of the traditional British flavor that made Suchet's earlier Poirot efforts feel so genuine in representing the 1930's and 1940's England. Still, no matter your opinion of which style is superior (the British productions vs. A&E), Suchet's timeless portrayal of Hercule Poirot makes both imminently entertaining for mystery lovers of all ages.
First up in this collection is "The Mystery of the Blue Train," as Poirot delves into the baffling death of a young heiress aboard a train bound for the French Riviera.
Next is "After the Funeral," in which a wealthy patriarch has been murdered, but Poirot's subsequent investigation only leads to yet another fiendish murder with possibly more to come.
"Cards on the Table" (a personal Christie favorite of ours) pits four of Christie's famous detectives (Poirot, Inspector Battle, Colonel Race, & Ariadne Oliver) in a race against time vs. four 'perfect' murderers that leads them from the bridge table into a deadly game of wits as the villain won't be content with just one victim.
Lastly, there comes "Taken at the Flood," where Poirot encounters a young, enigmatic widow who has become entangled in a web of deceit, blackmail, and murder after her husband has been killed in the London Blitz.
The bonus features evidently include a bibliography of Christie's Poirot novels, as well as some standard biographical information about the author and actor David Suchet.
At its current sale price, this collection of Suchet's latest Poirot films, appropriately enough, is an absolute steal!
the stories. The implied (and implicit) homosexual implications, and tne change in having the explorer more interested in the weak, fearful not very intelligent girl caused the entire thing to be unfocused and a little like a mixed cocktail created with every left over drink one finds in the bar And why is Rhoda a sociopathic sadist?. I give the actors credit for attempting to overcome this mess. Zoe Wanamaker is particularly good. More acerbic & interesting than te original Mrs. Oliver. Agatha Christie's plots are really quite good. Why not let them alone? If anything, sometimes there are too many characters to fit into anything but a 120 min. film, so cleaning up rather than adding more nonessential stuff would seem more fitting. As would adding more richness & reality to stereotypical characters (the colonial, the maid, the effete collector, the ingenue, etc). The Mystery of the Blue Train was not only disappointing, but not memorable. In fact, I can barely remember it.
During the later movies, there has been a trend of introducing homosexuality as subplots, even when it doesn't make sense and wasn't in the books. In "Cards on the Table," the doctor no longer had an affair with the wife--it's the husband. And the policeman seems to have been involved with some homosexual photographs, even though it has nothing to do with the book and doesn't advance the story at all. What is the point? I'm all for portraying characters honestly and certainly support gay rights, but what did it have to do with these books?? Only Hollywood would find it necessary to alter the plots of one of the most popular writers of all time.
For faithful portrayals of the book, look to the older movies. For odd, Hollywood-mangled versions of what used to be great stories, this set is for you.
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