began production as a series in 1989 and there has been to this day a
combination of over 60 episodes and TV movies. This represents a major
accomplishment. Poirot has been one of the most popular detectives of
in literature and it makes a great degree of sense that he should be
successfully adapted by gifted film-makers as well. For Hercule Poirot
a great detective! The Movie Collection:
Set 6, herein reviewed, contains the following three films: Three Act Tragedy, The Clocks, and Hallowe'en
Christie is highly regarded as one of the greatest mystery writers our
has ever been blessed to know and her writing has a massive following
day. All around the world there is an audience still waiting to
mystery gems she delivered again and again. The best option to discover
brilliance may be to pick up one of her books with a willingness and
to absorb her words as brilliant poetry.
option might be to watch some of these wonderful adaptations that have
on Masterpiece Mystery! (which is an ongoing
series that collects various mystery programs to air on PBS). One of the greatest things about these stories
is that they tend to work on such an exquisite standalone level that
presented on this box-set release represent a great place for newcomers
started. Each film could definitely be enjoyed by those who are
other Poirot mysteries. Certain details may be left untouched, such as
and shifting friendship - if one can truly call it that -- between
Ariadne Oliver (Zoe Wanamaker) and Poirot in the Hallowe'en
Party. For the most part these are the kinds of details
that won't even negatively affect the experience (if one isn't
familiar). The standalone
mysteries themselves and the incredible wit and skill of Poirot keep
stories interesting without fail.
Act Tragedy begins by focusing
on the seemingly strange death of a guest at a dinner party. The guest
was elderly and many of the other guests assumed the death was a result
Evidence also suggested that the guest had simply passed away untimely.
when another person dies similarly (with the same group of guests at a
different party) Poirot then agrees to help Sir Charles Cartwright
Shaw) in solving the mystery and uncovering the truth. This was perhaps
greatest of the three mysteries. It was certainly the one I found the
to try and solve. There is also a nice little twist of sorts at the end
is surprisingly well done). The twist won't be easy to spot either (so
might not want to even try - but I'm betting most will want to anyway
Clocks was the
lavishly presented production of the three movies. It focuses on a
surrounding an unknown person found dead in the home of a blind woman.
suspect is a young woman seen fleeing from the house (but in apparent
of finding the body). There is also a strange connection to four clocks
were stopped with identical times. Poirot must make a visit to Dover to
the neighbors and suspect, but he thinks there might be an easier way
the mystery of the crime. This is one of the more complicated mysteries
films included on this release (not necessarily because of solving
it but in the way in which the story and plot-threads weave
Party is easily the most
complicated mystery of the bunch when it comes down to trying to figure
everything before the reveal. I didn't come anywhere close to getting
figured out early! There are many links created in the story to several
people, and the plot thickens repeatedly to the point where it's a
difficult just to try to keep track of it all. It's a head-scratcher
to (nearly) finish. The story begins at a (you guessed it!) Halloween
are several guests at the party talking about murder mysteries when a
girl starts proclaiming that she saw a murder once, but that she just
realize it at the time. The girl (just a young kid) insists on telling
story to everyone. Later that evening (after the party had ended) the
found to have been drowned at the party. This incredibly disturbing
leads into a complicated storyline and while it will confuse many
first it does wind up being a well told story in the end.
best thing about these television episodes and movies is the perfection
David Suchet as Hercule Poirot. This gifted actor can fully embody the
by presenting those various quirks and mannerisms that are so
to the character Poirot. Indeed, it is
difficult to even imagine other performers in the role now to some
(despite the fact that there have been other interpretations from
production elements that represent each film are surprisingly
exceeded my expectations. Early episodes of the Poirot series look less
in cinematography which prevented some of the finer elements on display
feeling quite as thoroughly realized. Productions in recent years
to go above and beyond. The make-up, costumes, sets, and locations may
well done and never fail to impress and yet the added benefit of
camerawork with stronger (more lively) cinematography makes all the
These elements seem much more visually impressive and it ultimately
to the way in which the series is now filmed and presented. It's
more fulfilling to experience these stories that way. The direction and
screenwriting remains a gloriously satisfying part of the equation.
note that the three included made-for-TV films are presented out of
this release as the films premiered in a different sequence. Viewing
of order won't make any difference in the experience storytelling-wise
sure this information will still be useful to those who would rather
them in the order in which they aired on television.
order is: The
Act Tragedy, Hallowe'en Party.
followers of David Suchet as Hercule Poirot should consider this movie
an easy enough purchase (despite the large price-tag Acorn
to place on these sets). This is a set containing some excellent
each one is told with great craftsmanship. Newcomers will also find
that it's a
joy to discover the world of Poirot.
picture quality is impressive enough that the
often stunning production elements are able to shine through on this
release. Each film is presented in the original broadcast aspect ratio
(with anamorphic widescreen enhancement). The often lush sceneries and
sets or costumes look appropriately beautiful. The set isn't perfect
the productions tend to appear somewhat soft. It appears as though this
likely due to the original source. The black levels featured on these
productions are pretty strong as well. Not perfect -- but certainly
complimentary to the rest of the color palette.
included audio is presented in stereo for this English language British
The series presents the dialogue with crisp and clear clarity that is
distinguish and serves the series presentation well enough. The musical
also sounds rather lovely on these discs and manages to make an
despite the 2.0 audio. This is not a series where a 5.1 surround sound
would seem entirely necessary. English subtitles are provided for the
hard of hearing.
remains a mystery as to why this Agatha Christie Poirot:
Movie Collection set doesn't include any extras
collection of three Poirot films (as aired on PBS's Masterpiece
Mystery!) is worth a look for longtime devotee and newcomers alike.
mystery is considerably engaging and the films are extremely well made.
Suchet remains a perfect Poirot. The PQ/AQ is solid (if never stellar)
lack of any bonus materials is certainly a disappointment. Despite a
release shortcomings this is an amazing collection due to the high
the films included. Highly Recommended.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.