Eloise M. from OAK PARK, IL Reviewed on 3/30/2011...
The DVD was in good condition. Thanks for the swap!
0 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jon B. (starlostchild) from RALEIGH, NC Reviewed on 9/3/2009...
As a huge Poirot fan, I seek out every story I can find of this series. Hercule Poirot's Christmas does not disappoint. Poirot is fastidious, the crime is convoluted and the ending as big an "Aha!" moment as you expect. It is a find addition to my collection.
One of the Best
Francis M. Hough Jr. | Charlotte, NC USA | 09/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"David Suchet does a superlative job with the character of Hercule Poirot in all of the BBC productions of Dame Agatha Christie's short stories and novels, but HERCULE POIROT'S CHRISTMAS, one of the lesser known books, has become one of the best of the video adaptations.Loaded with appropriate Christmas atmosphere and sly Poirot humor (getting an unwanted Christmas gift, attempting to eat brown Windsor soup), CHRISTMAS finds Poirot investigating the vicious throat slashing of wealthy Simeon Lee in a locked room, a man who had just the day before hired Poirot to visit him as all of his children come home for the holidays. He suspects there is no love lost for him among several of his kin, and he's right. With a local superintendent and the ever-reliable Chief Inspector Japp present to assist, Poirot and his little gray cells have seldom operated so judiciously and adroitly.Production values are lavish this time around. Period details of the 1930s are accurate, and Lee's manse-like abode offers large, beautifully appointed rooms and lots of shadowy hallways and anterooms for plotting and observing.As has been the case with the other Acorn releases of these television productions, the video is presented in 4:3 ratio. There is marvelous Dolby surround sound in this one, though, and when those wonderful angelic voices begin singing nostalgic carols that wrap around you, you just want to sit back, close your eyes, and listen. Alas, such a plan will cause you to miss some vital clues to the solution of the mystery. The usual and wanting special features have been brought over from previous releases. One longs for a "making of" documentary on these marvelous transcriptions of Christie's masterworks.You can't go wrong with this one!"
An excellent Poirot movie
Kurt A. Johnson | North-Central Illinois, USA | 09/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When the boiler in his building breaks down, Monsieur Poirot (played by David Suchet) faces the prospect of a very cold Christmas. So, when he receives a call from the wealthy Simeon Lee (Vernon Dobtcheff) to come and investigate his suspicion that he is the target of a murder plot, Poirot boards the next train. However, Mr. Lee is a spiteful old man who has left behind him a trail of used and angry people, and when he turns up murdered, it is up to Poirot to find out who did it and how. [Color, released in 1994, with a running time of 1 hour, 43 minutes.]I must admit to having bought this video sight unseen. I am a big fan of David Suchet's Poirot, and had faith that I would like this film as much as the rest. Well, I was not disappointed. Perhaps even more than some, this episode kept me on the edge of my seat, guessing at who did it and what he or she would do next. Plus even though Hastings (Hugh Fraser) wasn't in it, the redoubtable Chief Inspector James Japp (Philip Jackson) was!So, let me just say that this is a very good Poirot movie, an excellent one in fact. If you are a David Suchet/Poirot fan, then I highly recommend this movie to you."
Dianne Foster | USA | 07/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"PBS frequently broadcasts Poirot's Christmas over the holidays, but never mind, the story is so wonderful and filled with so many characters it's fun to watch any time of year. And, it's simply beautiful. I for one am glad to see the DVD arrive.Hercule Poirot is not a religious man, nor a particularly sentimental man. He had planned to spend a quiet Christmas holiday alone. Ms Lemon is away visiting her sister, and Hastings is seeking his fortune in South America. A day or two before the Christmas, a disagreeable and wealthy old man, used to others responding to his bidding, insists Poirot spend his holiday with him at his country estate near a small village. The old man says someone wants to kill him and he wants Poirot to find out who it is and put a stop to it. Poirot declines the job, not only because he would prefer the comfort his own apartment and the cold damp weather outside makes the prospect of traveling unpleasant, but because he instantly dislikes the old man. However, Poirot's apartment heat fails (we see his vintage dripping radiator) and as his landlord cannot make repairs until after the holiday, Poirot is soon on a train out of town. Poirot arrives in the little village via a vintage London train and there he meets the old man's relatives including a prodigal son and a never-seen-before granddaughter who turn out to have been Poirot's train companions. Are these children to be trusted? Why did the newly arrived son return? Can the apparently pleasant and "good" son and daughter-in-law who have been caring for the old man be trusted? Why does the old man keep a large diamond in a safe in his room? Before long, someone is dead and Poirot and a local police inspector are on the case.This story is not the usual game of "clue" played in the big country house. In a preview scene, a pair of young men have been shown sitting before a campfire somewhere in Africa discussing which of them will travel to town to register a diamond claim. Disaster strikes and before long one man is dead and the other dying. The dying young man is rescued by a less than beautiful woman whom he later seduces and abandons. Of course the survivor from Africa is the nasty old man with the fortune who has engaged Poirot to protect him, but how does his past figure into the current plot--or does it? The wily Christie has been known to drop a red herring or two along the way. The mystery takes place in a snowy village from a Currier and Ives print. Poirot stays at a local inn (where he picks up an invaluable clue) where one can almost feel the warm fire in the old fireplace, hear the crackling pine cones, and smell the lovely Christmas greenery and plum pudding. A sweet exchange of sentiments and gifts takes place between Poirot and Japp (who is called in when the local police cannot solve the crime). A vicarious thrill for Anglophiles."
Christmas in Shropshire.
Themis-Athena | from somewhere between California and Germany | 12/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is supposed to be a quiet holiday, Hercule Poirot's Christmas, with a simple repast and a box of exquisite Belgian chocolates. And he's been looking forward to it - unlike Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson), for whom a visit to his wife's Welsh relatives is forecast. "If they start singing again ..." he groans wistfully after the pre-Christmas lunch with Poirot which he expects to be his last decent meal until the beginning of the new year.
But when Poirot is about to sit down for dinner that night, he registers a faint chill in his apartment - first his wine is a tad too cold, then he is even compelled to put on a blazer - and to his horror, he discovers that his radiator has gone cold. What is worse, his landlord informs him that it won't be fixed until after Christmas. And so, when he receives a phone call from cantankerous, wheelchair-bound old Simeon Lee (Vernon Bobtcheff), asking him to spend the holidays at his Shropshire estate Gorston Hall because his life may be in danger, Poirot has only one material question: "Tell to me, if you please, Monsieur Lee: Does your house have the central heating?"
Yet, even after his arrival in Shropshire, Poirot isn't quite sure what is expected of him; and unfortunately Mr. Lee, who made his fortune prospecting diamonds in South Africa, doesn't greatly elaborate - only that he (Lee) intends to make an announcement which will give his family, who already hate and fear him, even greater cause for hatred; and that Poirot is to keep his eyes and ears open. "Bien, what am I looking for? What am I listening for?" the detective inquires. "You'll know when it happens," is Lee's terse response. But later that night, after old Simeon has informed his family that he is about to make a new will to accommodate his just-returned third son Harry (Brian Gwaspari) and his Spanish granddaughter Pilar (Sasha Behar) - which inter alia means scrapping the allowance of Harry's brother George (Eric Carte), a Member of Parliament - and after he has then sent them off again, not without putting them down as "a set of mamby pamby weaklings," a loud crash and a scream reminiscent of the squeal of a slaughtered pig emanates from Simeon's room, and when the door (locked from inside) is finally broken open, they find him lying there with his throat slashed, the room in total disorder and looking like a battlefield - and the diamonds that Simeon had recently ordered to be sent from his company's museum in Pretoria are gone from his safe.
Now, of course, Poirot's task begins in earnest; and since Wales is just across the border, he quickly resolves to save Japp from his over-exuberant, carol-loving in-laws and invite him to join the investigation. Together with Shropshire Police Superintendent Sugden (Mark Tandy) they set out to find a murderer who may equally likely have tried to prevent the alteration of old Mr. Lee's will, steal his diamonds, or have had a different motive altogether - for as Simeon himself had boasted to both Pilar and Poirot, he had been "a very wicked man" and didn't regret it; in fact, he had "enjoyed every moment:" killing, stealing, lying, and producing a legion of sons born "on the wrong side of the blanket" in the process. As Poirot quickly discovers, almost every member of the household has not only a motive for murder but also a flimsy alibi at best: not only George who, like his young wife Magdalena (Andree Bernard) is deeply in debt, but even George and Harry's brother Alfred, who stands to inherit the lion's share of the fortune after having stayed at home and taken care of his father together with his wife Lydia (Catherine Rabett), enduring humiliation upon humiliation over the years. Then there is Pilar who, it turns out, has a few secrets of her own; Harry's reconciliation with his father is only a recent one (and who says it was honestly felt anyway?); valet Horbury (Ayub Khan Din) has yet other reasons to fear the police - and there is also an elderly lady (Olga Lowe) staying at a nearby inn, who likewise shows a peculiar interest in the goings-on at Gorston Hall.
While plot-wise relatively standard Christie fare - complete with locked room, country estate, belligerent patriarch, shockingly young wives, a prodigal son returning home after a promise of "fatted calf" (to the displeasure of his demure "stay at home, stick in the mud" brother(s)), sudden testamentary changes and other motives galore - and although Christie's imagination may have gone a bit overboard, as I am not sure the solution would have worked in reality quite the way it is described here, this adaptation of "Hercule Poirot's Christmas" is a delightful entry in the canon featuring David Suchet, as always the perfect embodiment of the little Belgian with the many "little grey cells" and perfectly waxed moustache, whom a speck of dust would cause greater pain than even a bullet, and who cannot eat his breakfast eggs unless they're exactly the same size. Faithful to Dame Agatha's novel in setting and atmosphere, like a number of other installments this episode cleverly varies the series's distinctive title melody in tune and instrumentation so as to underline its specific seasonal backdrop and Shropshire locale; which to my mind even makes it reminiscent of the title melody of the "Cadfael" adaptations, likewise set in Shropshire and originally broadcast by ITV. Fans of Poirot's sidekick Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser) may be a bit disappointed to find him missing - but this is still a fine Christmas gift from Dame Agatha, David Suchet and company, and as always there is plenty of banter between Poirot and Japp as well ... and an amusing little subplot involving their mutual Christmas presents.
"Ah, Chief Inspector, you have been thinking again - I have warned you of this before ..." (Poirot to Japp, after listening to his theory on the murder.)
Also recommended: The Mysterious Affair at Styles: Hercule Poirot's First Case The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Agatha Christie Collection) Agatha Christie: Five Complete Hercule Poirot Novels - Murder on the Orient Express / Thirteen at Dinner / The ABC Murders / Cards on the Table / Death on the Nile Poirot in the Orient (Hercule Poirot) Hercule Poirot's Casebook Agatha Christie's Poirot - The Classic Collection Agatha Christie's Poirot - The Classic Collection, Vol. 2 Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express Death on the Nile"