Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Poirot - The New Mysteries Collection |
Death on the Nile / Sad Cypress / The Hollow / Five Little Pigs
Actors: David Suchet, Elisabeth Dermot Walsh, Rupert Penry-Jones, Kelly Reilly, Paul McGann
Directors: Andy Wilson, Dave Moore, Paul Unwin, Simon Langton
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
This set will contain the following four Poirot movies (A&E September 2004 premieres): Death on the Nile, Sad Cypress, The Hollow, Five Little Pigs
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Dianne Foster | USA | 04/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The new POIROT series produced by A&E is excellent and I encourage all Poirot and David Suchet fans to purchase the DVD 4-pack. Suchet has literally grown into the part so he seems more natural than ever as Poirot. Pals from the earlier episodes, Japp and Hastings, are missing. I thought their absence and the fact that England has changed so much since the BBC first began airing these `cozy mysteries' might put a damper on my viewing experience but it did not. The filmography is beautiful. Most of the shots were taken in areas where knowledgeable Anglophiles know the past is fairly well preserved, including some lovely old estates. The BBC does it's best as ususal with lavish sets, costumes, and wonderful old automobiles for each production.
DEATH ON THE NILE - When it comes to this particular story, I still prefer the Peter Ustinov version with Mia Farrow, Betty Davis and Maggie Smith. The original film with Ustinov showed a good deal of actual footage shot in Egypt. This issue of `Death on the Nile' appears to have some shots in Egypt, but to tell you the truth, they could have shot most of the film elsewhere...for example Central or South America. Population growth and war have altered the terrain in Egypt considerably since Agatha Christie wrote her novel, which takes place around the 1930s following her travels to the Middle East with her husband, the great archeologist Mallowan.
Poirot - THE HOLLOW - The plot of this episode involves a two-timing husband who may or may not have been done in by his "stupid" wife. The wife, a doe-eyed creature who appears unable to harm a fly is soon incarcerated by the police who feel they have `got their man' but Poirot sets about trying to find the truth and unravel the obviously flawed case the police have constructed. Is the murderer the lady of the manor who stupidly placed a revolver in a basket of eggs, or is it the butler who was seen carrying a gun fitting the death weapon's description through the hallway (the lord has a gun collection, so there are plenty of guns about the place). Perhaps the mistress fired the fateful shot? She was two-timed by the dead husband who could not keep his hands off an old flame who suddenly appeared at dinner. Or was it the old flame herself who pulled the trigger? She was overheard arguing with him and wishing him dead only hours before the crime was committed.
SAD CYPRESS. Viewers of BRIDESHEAD REVISITED will recognize Diana Quick whose character from that earlier production could be the aged version of her younger self, now lying on her deathbed. Visited by her nearest kin and heirs, she soon succumbs to whatever ails her. Or does she. Has she had help? A cast of suspects soon emerges, but is all this `bother' a tempest in a teapot? Poirot is called in a soon deduces that not only has murder been committed, but the police may have locked up an innocent person. Soon the pressure is on, and Poirot must act quickly or someone else will die..perhaps at the end of a noose.
THE FIVE LITTLE PIGS is the most sad of all the new series developed by A&E, because a person has been wrongfully executed when the story begins. Perhaps this and other tales based on real life events brought the death penalty to an end in Britain. Gemma Jones stars in this episode involving a young woman named Lucy who seeks to clear her dead mother's name. Lucy's mother was executed some years before for a crime the girl believes she did not commit, and Lucy writes a letter urging Poirot to help her clear her mother's name. Poirot agrees to take her case but advises Lucy that she may not like what he uncovers. As ususal, the cast of characters is composed of excellent actors, many with familiar faces and the plot is excellent.
A mystery lover from Bethesda, Maryland
a reviewer in Bethesda, MD. | BETHESDA, MARYLAND USA | 02/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first entry in this collection ("Death on the Nile") starts off a little slowly, but the pace picks up about midway through, and there is real suspense as the story unfolds. As for the other three films ("The Hollow," "Five Little Pigs," and "Sad Cypress"), they are vintage Poirot: as richly atmospheric and enjoyable as any of the earlier Poirot films, with David Suchet in top form as the eccentric Belgian sleuth.
Also, these latest Poirot mysteries have terrific production values, as you'd expect: the elegant sets and costumes provide lots of period detail that delight the eye. If you're a fan of stylish whodunits, this is definitely a worthwhile addition to your film library!"
David Suchet returns in four dramatized Christie Novels
L. E. Cantrell | Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 03/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This set, "Agatha Christie's Poirot - The New Mysteries Collection," consists of four of Dame Agatha's Poirot novels dramatized at TV feature length. The four novels are "Death on the Nile" (1937), "Sad Cypress" (1940), "Five Little Pigs" (1942) and "The Hollow" (1946). Four other novels are dramatized in the companion set, "Agatha Christie's Poirot - Classic Crimes Collection." The two sets contain the output of the new A&E production team.
The new series diverge from the old in a number of ways. They concentrate on Christie's novel-length works rather than her short stories. Far more important to Amazon reviewers, though, seems to be the change in casting. The dim but endearing Captain Hastings, the hyper-efficient Miss Lemon and that stolid plod, Chief Inspector Japp are all gone. We find Poirot alone in his new, smaller, gloomier, distinctly less impressive flat--although he's apparently still in the same building. Some note that the new scripts make references to modern sexual sensibilities that certainly, unquestionably, indubitably did not appear in Dame Aggie's writings. Typical reactions among those who mention this change involve one or all of dismay, disgust and disdain. Others have drawn attention to production values for the new series. One reviewer put it this way: "[T]he production value of the films has gone through the roof. Simply put, these are the best looking Poirot films made so far, particularly with regards to `film moment' shots and the use of color in regards to theme." Finally, there has been the obvious effect of all-devouring time; the now portly Suchet is sixty-ish and he looks it.
Let's consider that point, the older Poirot. In 1920, Hercule Poirot appeared in Agatha Christie's first book, "The Mysterious Affair at Styles," a novel set in the middle of the First World War. Captain Hastings, wounded on the Western Front, is back in England to recover. He happens to meet an odd little man named Hercule Poirot (a name plainly impossible for any self-respecting Englishman to pronounce correctly.) Poirot is described as an elderly Belgian refugee who is a retired policeman. Considering the events that took place in Belgium in the late summer of 1914, it must be assumed that he retired no later than the first half that year. If Poirot retired at sixty--Christie writing at age 30 would probably have considered that to be elderly--he was born no later than 1854. If at sixty-five, then 1851. The earlier his retirement, the earlier his birth date.
Poirot's career in England stretched from the horrors of the Western Front to what he and his creator clearly regarded as the only slightly less baleful era of rock 'n roll. For production convenience, the original series was set in 1935. 1937 seems to be the date for this series, considering that the name of a certain Mrs Simpson appears in the newspapers. In 1937, Hercule Poirot must have been at least 83 years old. All things considered, David Suchet was and still remains entirely too young for the part.
In 1916, Agatha Miller Christie was thinking about writing a book for pin money. (Monetary cpnsiderations aside, her older sister had bet her she couldn't do it!) She and her dashing husband Archie Christie were bright young things, but on their beam ends financially. She wrote letter to a friend in which she whined that they could afford only two servants. She decided to write a mystery. At the time, there was only one true pattern for a detective and its name was S. Holmes, still very much a living literary figure. Twelve stories of his Canon were yet to be written and they wouldn't be published between hard covers until 1927 with "The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes." After collecting a set of galling rejections, Agatha's first book, "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" and Hercule Poirot saw print in 1920.
Holmes had a biographer named Watson, plodding colleagues at Scotland Yard, beginning with Inspector Lestrade, and a landlady-housekeeper, Mrs Hudson. Following the set pattern, Christie gave Poirot his biographer in Captain Hastings--the complete boob that Watson NEVER was--and he introduced Inspector Japp. Later, Poirot would find his London flat and enjoy the ministrations of Miss Lemon. In all but a single short story, she is a background figure.
In the older TV series, Hastings got into everything. Miss Lemon's role expanded beyond anything in Christie's writings. All police detectives combined into Chief Inspector Japp. All this, first to humanize the little Belgian detective, then to ease the endless task of explaining plot points.
In 1926, Christie hit the big time with "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd." She was universally acknowledged as the great successor to Conan Doyle. But Hastings wasn't even in "Ackroyd." She realized that she had no need to follow Holmes anymore, so she sent the tedious Hastings off to molt in some remote South American exile, bringing him back only on a rare, sentimental occasion.
In this Hastings-, Lemon- and Japp-free series, the new producers have done no more than follow Christie's lead. Nevertheless, I miss them, just as I sometimes miss them in the written versions. The producers really ought to bring them back for at least one show in each season.
Regarding post-Christie sensibilities on sexual matters, heaven knows it's mild enough stuff in these productions, but why do they bother? The stories are set in 1937, not 2007 or even 1977. Whatever people were doing then, they certainly were not talking about it freely, as here. (Yes, I am perfectly aware of such people as Sackville-West and Trefusis, but that was a juicy scandal, not a casual aside as in "The Hollow.")
Finally, there are the production values. Some reviewers are impressed. I am not. Whatever the current producers are paying, they are not getting their money's worth. The old series was a gem. Remember those opening graphics? And that annoying but unforgettable theme music? The old series showcased Art Deco artifacts and architecture. The Deco movement peaked, then fell away in hardly more than a decade--two at most. I am convinced the old series showcased every good example of Art Deco architecture to be found in all of Britain. By contrast, the new series is flat and uninteresting. Instead of bright, clean-lined Art Deco, we are shown nothing but the same-old-same-old Masterpiece Theater/A&E Presents visual blahs that turn up a dozen times a week on PBS. Even worse is the rhythm of the new series. Several times in each episode, with the regularity--not to mention the soul--of a stopwatch, everything comes lurching to a halt. (Why they do not display a card saying "Insert Commercial Here" I cannot imagine.) And the music! That old tune is still there, but almost inaudible in the background. What a waste! Let's not even talk about the opening credits.
In summary, these are acceptable, if sometimes VERY loose adaptations of Christie's mid-career novels. They're OK, but they are not the visual treats they used to be. On the other hand, even mediocre Poirot is better than no Poirot at all.
Four stars wit' ze little grey cells."
A&E Please keep those Poirot/Suchet mysteries coming!
Aleta M. Daley | Norwich, CT | 03/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
If you love Agatha Christie's Poirot as portrayed so vividly and effectively by David Suchet, then you will want to buy this newest collection. True, Inspector Japp, Captain Hastings and Miss Lemon are missing, but the substance and themes of these four mysteries more than compensate for their absence. One of the gratifying aspects of Christie's mysteries for me has always been the importance of character, motivation and "the psychology" in all of her stories. In "Five Little Pigs," "Sad Cypress," "The Hollow," and "Death on the Nile," the emphasis is on character, both in the dramatic and figurative sense. The characters are given choices; they make choices that reverberate in those lives around them. Each of these mysteries interestingly enough also treats the theme of love in greater depth and complexity.
Poirot as portayed by David Suchet, the directing, the ensemble acting, the sets and, for me, just as importantly the music all contribute to create a perfect movie experience. I stress the music because its quality never falters, never becomes saccharine or distracting, but rather intensifies and enhances the tone and development of the plot and themes.
Let's hope that A&E, the inimitable David Suchet, the director, producers and well everyone involved continue to bring us more cinematic treasures based on Agatha Christie's timeless mystery creations."