A new look at an older, stouter Poirot, with David Suchet ma
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 06/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This latest in the long-running Hercule Poirot television series, with Poirot played by David Suchet, has been released on DVD with the cumbersome title Agatha Christie Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection. This series 12, from 2005-06, and series 11, from 2003-04 and released as Agatha Christie Poirot: The New Mysteries Collection, is a somewhat different look at Poirot than we've been used to.
Although the time period is approximately the same, the mid-to-late Thirties, Hercule Poirot is noticeably older and stouter. Suchet, who was 43 when he began Poirot in 1989, is now 60. No longer part of the stories are Captain Hastings, Miss Lemon and Inspector Japp. Captain Hastings and Miss Lemon gave Poirot opportunities to express affection and gentle amusement. They in turn, by their devotion to him, gave us a chance to see him through their eyes as not simply a person confident about his little grey cells, but as a somewhat eccentric individual we could like. Japp showed us how the police could come to respect and even defer to this brilliant, prim and unselfconsciously egotistic little foreigner. Poirot, now with no friends, seems at times a lonely figure. The mysteries remain intricate, but they sometimes lack warmth and a friendly insouciance. There is a heavy-handedness about the production which takes some getting used to.
As usual, Poirot spends much of his time catching murderers among Britain's upper crust, which gives us many opportunities to see how our betters live, behave and dress. His deep outrage over privileged people who believe murder is simply a way to deal with life's inconveniences remains strong. With little opportunity for small touches of humanity and friendship, however, the series now seems a bit glum. The trademark conclusion to each Poirot mystery, where all the suspects gather together (usually in a drawing room) and listen while Poirot dissects the case, explains the implacability of his logic and then one by one rules out the innocent until only the guilty party is left squirming, is still an effective dramatic device.
The new Poirot mysteries work as elegant puzzles. They may be a bit rougher at times with strong language now and then and some sexually-motivated plots, but they are well-written and well-acted. David Suchet is still a wonder at being Poirot; he inhabits the role and is great fun to watch. But perhaps this older, more serious Poirot is just a little too self-contained. He needs a friend or two.
The mysteries in this collection include murder on an elegant train, murder in an elegant country home, murder in another elegant country home and murder in an elegant town house. Amongst the characters working with Poirot to solve the town house murder is one played by Zoe Wanamaker. She's a first-rate actress and her pungent performance gives Suchet some real competition.
The DVDs all have great looking transfers. Each of the four mysteries runs approximately 1' 40" on separate discs. The extras include biographies of Agatha Christie and David Suchet."
Why EDITED versions, A&E?
Agatha | Los Angeles | 06/22/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"My poor rating has nothing to do with the adaptations (which I thought were well done and atmospheric.) It's always a pleasure to see David Suchet as Poirot. On the contrary, I have a beef with the presentation on these DVDs. They were clearly cut to fit into A&E time slots - with annoying dips to black in the middle of music cues - and censored for language. At one point a character exclaims "God Dammit, Poirot" but the sound drops out where he says "God." That's all well and fine for A&E's standards and practices, but when I spend the money on a DVD, I want the full length, uncensored presentation as it was meant to be seen - without artificial breaks in the continuity for commercials. Shame on you, A&E - you can do much better!"
Huge Disappointment, Flawed Adaptations
William | Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee USA | 06/09/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"After the wonderful quality of the earlier Poirot films starring David Suchet, it is very disappointing to see these poorly adapted productions. While Mr. Suchet plays Poirot with his usual perfection the pacing of the stories develops unevenly and drags frequently. The plots have been shredded to give the supporting actors more to do with their characters but to the point of destroying the original plot. The characters are no longer human but caricatures. In one scene a male servant gropes a female servant under the dim eyes of the aged butler. In another scene a "party girl" character rescues a friend from an attack by leaping on the back of the attacker and biting the attacker's neck, grinning with wild eyed abandon like some sort of vampire. It confuses and distracts from the story line as do so many other unnecessary additions in these adaptations, especially when the relevant point is made again and again. The overall mood is erratic and disturbing, even the sets seem overly loud and unpleasant. There is no charm, no gentle humor and certainly no understanding of human folly. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend anyone who really loves Agatha Christie's work purchase these severely flawed adaptations.
Suchet is still the Best!!
Arjun | Cary, NC | 07/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I do agree with other reviewers that the new producers have taken certain liberties with the actual text, and it is obvious that the old Poirot episodes with Hastings etc were much better, but Suchet still makes these films worth owning. I wish that these movies weren't "adaptations" as they now call them but actual films of the books as they used to be. I don't know how anyone thinks they can write Agatha Christie's plot better than the queen of crime herself, but I refuse to give David Suchet and this great series anything less that 5 stars. You have to have this set for your collection!! Overall, still great movies! Buy them!"