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Agatha Christie's Poirot (UK TV)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
David Suchet, et al
David Suchet is the brilliant Belgian sleuth in movie-length episodes of the popular TV series seen on PBS and A&E. Impeccably attired, meticulously mustached, he roots out evil with old-fashioned brainpower and a little help from his friends. Set 4 is 2 cases and a behind-the-scenes bonus feature; SDH subtitles; approx. 233 min.
Agatha Christie's Poirot (UK TV) | Review
Blu-ray Series 1-4
I first read stories about Hercule Poirot when I was a pre-teen. I was a fan of Christie's novels, and from the first time I saw one of her stories turned into a movie (And Then There Were None or Ten Little Indians in black and white), I found them to be suspenseful and intriguing, without the slightest hint of objectionable content. Looking back, it let me explore some darker territory with my parents' permission, but the stories are still clever and thought-provoking today. And if you're a big fan of a mystery you actually get to solve as you go, then you should be considering the wonderful world of our little Belgian, Mr. Hercules Poirot.
Poirot (played to the hilt by the one and only David Suchet) is a weird duck. He's to British mystery-solving what Columbo (David Falk) is to American crime-solving, although I fear people have fallen out of proximity since Falk's death (which probably means we're due for a remake... with Paul Giamatti?) But to see Suchet in action is to see a man who is as clever as a fox, as meek as a dove (most of the time), and yet as dangerous as a snake to those who have done wrong. He's sympathetic to those in danger, to those who are bereft of a loved one, or who are simply down on their luck, but he simply has no patience for liars, thieves, and, as is usually the case in these stories, murderers.
Suchet is joined by a few "regulars" who appear in some, but not all, of the mysteries. There's Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser), Chief Inspector Japps (Philip Jackson), and Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran). But this time out, even if you caught these movies before, you can now see them in exquisite high-definition, emphasizing the colors and often the scenery, of the picturesque locales that we follow Suchet's Poirot to in quests of vacation (usually) and, sometimes, adventure.
The mysteries included over the four discs:
Series 1 (originally 1989): The Adventures of Clapham Cook, Murder in the Mews, The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly, Four and Twenty Blackbirds, The Third Floor Flat, Triangle at Rhodes, Problem at Sea, The Incredible Theft, The King of Clubs, The Dream
Series 2 (originally 1990): Peril at End House, The Veiled Lady, The Lost Mine, The Cornish Mystery, The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim, Double Sin, The Adventure of the Cheap Flat, The Kidnapped Prime Minister, The Adventure of the Western Star
Series 3 (originally 1991): The Mysterious Affair at Styles, How Does Your Garden Grow?, The Million Dollar Bond Robbery, The Plymouth Express, Wasps' Nest, The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor, The Double Clue, The Mystery of the Spanish Chest, The Theft of the Royal Ruby, The Affair at the Victory Ball, The Mystery of the Hunter's Lodge
Series 4 (originally 1992): The ABC Murders, Death in the Clouds, One,Two, Buckle My Shoe
That means there are still thirty-one more Poriot mysteries to uncover in high-definition, but you can count on Acorn Media releasing one series every few months. They make for good entertainment, and good gifts for Christie fans who have switched over into high-definition. Seriously, I like my Columbo comparison for American audiences, but Poriot is a little less annoying, much better dressed, and certainly more sophisticated. He's settling the problem and solving the mystery using his logic, his God-given ability, and his unrelenting desire for the truth. And he does it all rather violence-free; that is, he rarely shows temper or appears to be solving the crime for his own sake, but rather for the deceased's and those who mourn that person's loss. He does so with an immense amount of pressure (as his legend grows) and sometimes at a loss to himself (time, attention, public perception) but his vindication comes when the criminal is behind bars, and justice is served.
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