Agatha Christie's Poirot - Collection 8 [DVD]
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This DVD contains four new Poirot mysteries.
The Three Act Tragedy
Martin Shaw guest stars as a world renowned actor alongside David Suchet in Three Act Tragedy, a new Poirot film. Shaw (George Gently, Judge John Deed) takes on the role of Sir Charles Cartwright, a retired actor who relishes the opportunity to assist Poirot with his investigations after the death of a guest at his home.
Poirot visits Cornwall to attend a dinner hosted by his friend, the retired actor Sir Charles Cartwright. But when an amiable local Reverend chokes to death on his cocktail Poirot cannot see how murder could have been committed. With the exception of Sir Charles’s doctor friend Sir Bartholomew Strange and the enigmatic Miss Egg Lytton Gore, any one of the eclectic mix of guests might have taken the glass - the inquisitive playwright, vulnerable ex-jockey, celebrated dressmaker, faithful housekeeper or young suitor of Miss Lytton Gore’s. When, weeks later, Sir Bartholomew Strange chokes to death at a dinner party he is hosting with many of the same guests, Poirot and Charles are not surprised to discover that Strange was poisoned. The motives seem plentiful - could a missing butler, mysterious telephone message or secret tunnel be the key to solving the case?
The Halloween Party
In this new mystery, Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) is reunited with his good friend Ariadne Oliver, (Zoë Wanamaker - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone). Crime writer Ariadne attends a children's Halloween party where young Joyce Reynolds boasts about witnessing a murder. The Woodleigh Common locals, including her stepmother (Sophie Thompson - Doc Martin), refuse to take her seriously. The girl is renowned for telling tall tales, and it is Halloween after all. However, when Joyce is found drowned in an apple-bobbing bucket that very same evening, Ariadne asks Poirot to investigate. There are many suspects - any one of the guests could have slipped out during a game of Snapdragon. Then, in a shocking development, Joyce's younger brother Leopold is also found drowned. Amid rumours of a curse on the village, Poirot knows it is only a matter of time before the killer strikes again and he sets out on a quest for the truth.
Murder On The Orient Express
This eagerly anticipated adaptation of Agatha Christie's best-loved murder mystery is a star-studded production. Directed by BAFTA winner Philip Martin (Wallander), David Suchet returns as eccentric Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. Travelling from Istanbul to London on the famous Orient Express, Poirot is approached by ruthless businessman Samuel Ratchett, (Toby Jones - Frost/Nixon), who offers him $10k to watch his back. Poirot refuses, but when Ratchett is stabbed to death he vows to find the killer. Aided by amateur sleuth Dr Constantine, (Samuel West - Desperate Romantics), Poirot assembles an extensive list of suspects, including Ratchett's manservant Edward Masterman, (Hugh Bonneville - Bonekickers), elderly Princess Dragomiroff, (Dame Eileen Atkins - Cranford), and pushy Mrs Hubbard, (Barbara Hershey - The Mountain). The stakes are raised when the train gets stuck in a snowdrift. Cut off from civilization, Poirot's skills are tested to the limit. What was Ratchett frightened of? More importantly, is the assassin still on the train?
Poirot (David Suchet) arrives in Dover to help Lieutenant Colin Race determine if Sheila Webb is responsible for the murder of a middle aged man found stabbed at 10 Wilbraham Crescent. Could there be a connection with the recent discovery of a German mole within the Navy?
• Murder on The Orient Express based on the Novel By Agatha Christie--Behind The Scenes
• David Suchet On The Orient Express--60 mins long programme
David Suchet (Agatha Christie’'s Poirot) investigates the mystery, history and romance of the Orient-Express. Since its first journey from Paris to Vienna in 1883, the train has become synonymous with luxury. It not only carries passengers through stunning scenery, it transports them to a charming bygone era. As well as speaking to travellers enjoying the trip of a lifetime, David goes behind the scenes to meet the people who keep the fantasy on track. Relax into the glamour of the Roaring Twenties, and find out what inspired the classic Murder on the Orient Express.
The DVD contains English subtitles for the hard of hearing.
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Top Customer Reviews
The issue I have is that the film deviates from the story as it is told in the book quite a lot. It focuses on the themes of religion and justice and whether this man deserved to die (rather than who murdered him and how). This took away from the mystery and more time should have been given to looking at how the crime had been committed - issues like the passenger's movements on the night of the murder for example (which there is plenty of detail of in the book) were glossed over quite quickly here.
The atmosphere in this version is also quite dark - this comes through in the background music and in the mood of Poirot (who seems to be a bit narked throughout). This was another alteration that wasn't really necessary.
It may be that they made these changes in order to try and bring the story 'up to date', but great stories are timeless and don't really need to be changed that much. Overall, it's not bad (but with David Suchet as Poirot it was never going to be) and it's certainly worth a watch, but a truer reflection of the story as it is told in the book would have been better.
However, the production quality is very high in all four episodes, and certainly worth getting.
The pick of the this season is Murder on the Orient Express. I was hoping that this book would be reserved for Poirot's swansong and given the luxury of a two and a half hour special, which is what it would take to tell the story adequately. Alas, it was not to be. However, the producers have solved the problem of the book by down-playing the mystery (which Poirot solves quite quickly) and highlighting his subsequent moral dilemma. Although I am a little sceptical about using Christie's artificial puzzles as a basis for morality tales, I think this approach actually works quite well.
Hallo-een Party is very atmospheric but is slightly undermined by a highly implausible plot twist towards the end. Nonetheless, it is a good addition to the Poirot canon.
Three Act Tragedy has a somewhat disjointed structure that is dictated by the nature of the story. It is the most conventional of the three shows, but is still good fun.
Overall, Poirot fans should be well satified with this collection (I was) and there is the bonus of some good extras on the DVD.