You're in good company with Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov), Agatha Christie's impeccable Belgian sleuth who's always at his best at chic soirees where the hospitality is warm...and the corpses are cold. Match wits with the... more » master in this full-course banquet of mystery involving a country-house game of murder turned real (Dead Man's Folly), a move star turned amateur detective (Murder in Three Acts), and a dinner part turned deadly (Thirteen at Dinner). Bon appetit!« less
"Peter Ustinov basically plays himself with an outrageous accent in his Poirot films. For those of us who like Ustinov that may be enough. But you can't help comparing him with David Suchet, which isn't really fair, since Suchet is the quintessential Poirot. Hastings, whom Christie herself didn't care for, is played as a real idiot in these films, and it is grating to see Ustinov put him down so dreadfully. How is Hastings supposed to have worked in intelligence with half a brain? Suchet manages to keep some kindness in dealing with Hastings in his series. And Hastings is better played there.
So why do I think these films are entertaining? First, the scenery. There was a real effort put forth by the art and location departments. Very seldom do you feel like you are looking at a stage set. There is also the nostalgia of seeing stars of yesteryear - Jean Stapleton, Tony Curtis, Faye Dunaway, etc., ham it up in their parts. But for me, the real treat is to see David Suchet play Inspector Japp in "Thirteen at Dinner". That's why this set is a keeper for me. Suchet is a great actor and he does a good job with Japp (though not as good as the rumpled, loveable Japp in his own series), with only a mannerism here and there foreshadowing his later portrayals of Poirot. The mysteries are no mystery for those of us who have read Christie and watched all the renditions of Christie, but they're fun to watch portrayed differently. As another reviewer said, Ustinov's 'Evil Under the Sun' and 'Death on the Nile' are probably better done. But these are entertaining as well. You might want to rent them first to see if you really want to own them."
Poirot Does not Belong in the 1980s!
maskirovka | Alexandria, Virginia | 11/02/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I really regret buying this collection without reading the only other one star review given to it here. Peter Ustinov is a great actor and he can do a fine Poirot (only David Suchet is better apart from Albert Finney).
But putting Poirot in the setting of 1980s does not work. It does not work because Agatha Christie wrote her Poirot stories decades before. A gentleman detective who solved crimes through the power of his "little gray cells" made sense in the setting of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. But in the 1980s with its modern forensics, pathology, and criminal science, Poirot is an enormous anachronism.
About the only people who might like this are those who enjoy things like productions of Shakespeare with bizarre settings (like a production of MacBeth set in the 1930s in the Louisiana Bayou that I walked out on once). For people who think the series of movies and shorts starring David Suchet is perfection, watching this desecration will be as much fun as a root canal. Avoid, avoid, avoid."
The one and only Poroit
Reviewer | USA | 01/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Peter Ustinov is Hercule Poroit, without question. In this three dic set, as well as in all other Poroit movies he has played in, Ustinov is the witty, funny French, I mean Belgian detective that he has always been. Overall, the three movies do not quite compare with Death on the Nile, or Evil under the sun(mostly because of the fact that these three were filmed in the 80s), but it is definately a set of movies any mystery fan would want on their shelves. I just wish he made more."
3 of Ustinov's 6 Poirot Films in One Set
a | 01/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Between 1978 and 1988, Peter Ustinov portrayed Agatha Christie's detective Hercule Poirot in three theatrical films and three made-for-television movies. This slim-line box set includes all three of his TV efforts, which are arguably the weakest of his Poirot films -- not because of Ustinov but because of the production value, which was naturally lower for 1980s made-for-television movies.
Unlike the three theatrical films, the made-for-TV efforts with Ustinov updated the stories to the 1980s, though Ustinov kept the "classic" costume, language, and mannerisms. The result is a bit of an anachronistic mess, and I suspect that the updates were done solely to avoid the added expense of providing period cars and costumes. Nevertheless, Ustinov remains for many, including myself, the definitive Hercule Poirot, and this set features half--albeit the lesser half--of his output.
For collectors, Ustinov's first two theatrical films as Poirot are available in a fine box set from Anchor Bay, alongside a rather weak 1980 Miss Marple movie. The remaining film, his last effort as Poirot from 1988, is available as a Region 2 DVD but is not apparently readily available in the U.S."
Ustinov at His Finest
Sandra Schaub | Rockville Centre, NY USA | 04/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many people are only acquainted with Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot, but I recall his memorable performances in "The Egyptian" and "Quo Vadis." His Hercule Poirot is delightful. Of equal enjoyment is the actor portraying his long-time (and sometimes long-suffering) friend Arthur Hastings.
Here, as in the other full-length films of Ustinov's Poirot, the casts are an excellent cross-section of American and British actors and actresses, such as Faye Dunaway and Tony Curtis. Incidentally, you will discover that David Suchet (whose Poirot was highly successful on the TV "Mystery" series) appeared in "Thirteen at Dinner" as Inspector Japp.
These TV movies are just the right length and sustain your interest from first minute to last. The locations, which range from a stately manor in England to a cliff-top home in Acapulco, are breathtaking. It would be a crime if you didn't own this excellent collection."