Friday, April 22, 2016

Agatha Christie’s Poirot

David Suchet as Hercule Poirot.
Premise:  Agatha Christie’s famous fastidious Belgium sleuth, Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) works for private clients and occasionally lends his services to Scotland Yard. The majority of his cases take place in England in the 1920s and 1930s. He is assisted, principally in the early episodes, by his secretary, Miss Felicity Lemon, and friend, Captain Arthur Hastings. In later episodes, Poirot has a valet named George. Many cases climax with Poirot assembling the suspects in a room, describing how the crimes were committed, and identifying the culprit.

Running Time:  60 minutes (37 episodes); 90-105 minutes (33 episodes).

Status:  There were 13 seasons broadcast between 1989 and 2014. Agatha Christie’s Poirot is available on DVD in the U.S.

Production Notes:  In a 2013 interview, David Suchet said: “In the books, as opposed to some of the films that have been made, he (Poirot) is not a comic character. I was told by Agatha Christie's daughter and her husband over lunch, 'If you're going to make him a joke, then you are not going to play him; people can smile with him, but never laugh at him'. That was a very strict order I was given, and when I started reading the novels, I realized exactly what they were saying, because he's not just a figure of fun. He could never be with that brain."

Our Review:  David Suchet is superb as Poirot and his portrayal of Christie’s sleuth is the one constant throughout this long-running series. However, the quality of the mysteries varies from excellent (Lord Edgware Dies, Death in the Clouds) to mediocre (Cards on the Table, The Mystery of the Blue Train). The best episodes are generally those that adhere to the plots of Agatha Christie’s novels and stories. We prefer the cases that feature the amiable Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser), who adds a dash of humor and also provides Poirot with a confidant (which helps when reviewing clues for the viewer). We also favor the longer episodes simply because they work better for the more complex mysteries with a surfeit of suspects. The bottom line is that Agatha Christie’s Poirot provides an opportunity to savor Suchet as Poirot—and to watch him use his “little gray cells.”

Our Grade:  B+.

3 comments:

  1. I was never able to get "into" the David Suchet Poirot series. After watching Peter Ustinov as the Belguim genius, I got spoiled. Although, I'm sure Suchet's portrayal is closer to the original book character.

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  2. I was never able to get "into" the David Suchet Poirot series. After watching Peter Ustinov as the Belguim genius, I got spoiled. Although, I'm sure Suchet's portrayal is closer to the original book character.

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  3. It's interesting that some of the most famous books were the weakest translations. For instance, "Murder on the Orient Express" was terrible. The script was bad and the key character of Ratchett was badly miscast(Sorry, Toby Jones -- good actor but not Ratchett. Yet, "Halloween Party" comes together very well and was a lesser book. Suchet is consistent as are Hugh Fraser (Hastings), Pauline Moran (Miss Lemon), and Philip Jackson(Japp). The hour stories with those four were some of the TV shows made.

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