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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Poirot - The Movie Collection 2
Poirot - The Movie Collection 2
Acorn Media // Unrated // June 4, 2002
List Price: $59.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Holly E. Ordway | posted May 19, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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Attention Agatha Christie fans! If you've been looking forward to adding to your collection of Hercule Poirot films, you'll get your fill with Poirot: The Movie Collection 2. This boxed set contains four new Poirot films starring David Suchet as the idiosyncratic Belgian detective: Dumb Witness, Murder on the Links, Hickory Dickory Dock, and Hercule Poirot's Christmas.

One of the things I like about the Poirot series is that the films can be watched in any order. Certainly, it's entertaining to see the repeated characters of Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser) and of course Poirot himself solving different mysteries, but the primary focus is on the story itself, with each film being self-contained in this regard. The Poirot Movie Collection 2, then, is perfectly enjoyable whether or not you own the titles included in the first collection.

To give a brief flavor of what you'll get content-wise in this set, let's take a look at each of the individual films included:

Dumb Witness: Poirot stumbles across a murder that doesn't look like one, with the key witness not just unwilling but unable to speak: "Bob" the fox terrier could expose the murderer, if only he could talk. But Poirot may be able to understand what Bob has to say nonetheless... Dumb Witness struggles somewhat with the problem of introducing a large cast of suspects in a fairly short time, but the overall story is entertaining, with the mystery developing and then unfolding nicely from start to finish.

Murder on the Links: While staying at the "Hotel du Golf" with his friend Captain Hastings, Poirot stumbles upon a curious kidnapping-murder case that resonates with one that made the headlines many years earlier. Murder on the Links isn't bad, but it's certainly not one of the better Poirot mysteries, lacking the characteristic Christie plot full of twists and turns.

Hercule Poirot's Christmas: In this mystery, Poirot discovers that family get-togethers can be positively murderous. He's been invited to spend his holiday at the home of a very dysfunctional family. The old man knows that his children hate him, but they put up with him in hopes of inheriting his fortune; he has something up his sleeve to discomfort his scheming children... but it turns out that there may be more than one deadly scheme involved. It will be fun for Poirot fans but probably not the one to show to someone who's not already enthusiastic.

Hickory Dickory Dock: While Poirot has solved mysteries all over the world, this film finds him tackling a puzzle that's close to home. His secretary has confided to him that her sister has been troubled by a series of puzzling thefts at the London student hostel where she's the housekeeper. Poirot knows an interesting situation when he sees one, so he's more than happy to investigate. But as theft turns to murder, he realizes that there's more at stake than anyone realized. This film is clearly the highlight of the Movie Collection 2, with a classic Christie plot full of interesting twists and turns that will keep you guessing the identity of the perpetrator until the very last moment.

Video

All four of the films included in this set are presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. There's some variation in image quality between the different films, but on the whole it is quite satisfactory, especially considering that they were made for television. Colors are natural-looking and fairly robust; contrast suffers occasionally in very dark scenes but for the most part is quite good as well. Some (not all) of the films exhibit a touch of graininess in the outdoor scenes; all of them look excellent in interior shots. The picture is clean and free of noise, and in general is very clear and moderately sharp.

Audio

There's not much call for surround sound in movies like the Poirot films, where dialogue is key, so the Dolby 2.0 soundtrack is more than sufficient. The music soundtrack is kept fairly low-key, complementing the dialogue and action nicely while never overpowering it. Dialogue is presented clearly and cleanly.

Extras

All of the DVDs contain about the same slim selection of extras: some Poirot trivia, text offering some background on Agatha Christie and David Suchet, and cast filmographies.

For the boxed set, the four individual DVDs, in the same packaging as when they are sold separately, are enclosed in an attractive slipcover.

Final thoughts

It's definitely worth picking up the Poirot Movie Collection 2 if you are a fan of the series of films starring David Suchet. They're enjoyable mysteries offered in an attractive presentation.
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