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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Poirot - Collector's Set 4
Poirot - Collector's Set 4
Acorn Media // Unrated // April 8, 2003
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Holly E. Ordway | posted March 14, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The movie

Poirot: Collector's Set 4 brings viewers three more excellent episodes of Agatha Christie's Poirot, starring David Suchet as the diminutive Belgian detective. Acorn Media has been consistently releasing this series on DVD, much to the satisfaction of Poirot fans: so far we've seen Collector's Sets 1, 2, and 3 containing the fifty-minute episodes, as well as the Movie Collection and Movie Collection 2 with the feature-length episodes.

The three episodes included in this volume pick up where Set 3 left off, with "The Million Dollar Bond Robbery," "The Plymouth Express," and "Wasps' Nest" from the series' third season in 1990-1991. All three are adaptations of short stories written in the 1920s, and are fine examples of how Christie's short mysteries lend themselves well to the 50-minute format. All three stories are entertaining and well paced, with interesting plots that develop over the course of the episode and result in an interesting, and always surprising, conclusion.

Interestingly, all three stories in this collection have Poirot involved in some way before a crime actually takes place. "The Million Dollar Bond Robbery" gets Poirot tangled in the world of high finance, with a London bank setting out to transport the title sum without it being stolen... a crime that would ruin the bank if it occurred. In "The Plymouth Express," a rich and aging father implores Poirot to check up on the highly suspicious suitor of his only daughter. And in "Wasps' Nest" Poirot sets his little gray cells the task of solving a devious and complex crime before it happens. Needless to say, Poirot is in fine form in all three stories, and the entertaining secondary characters of Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser), Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran), and Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson) also appear.

Watching these episodes, it's easy to see how Agatha Christie became the "Queen of Crime," with her deftly sketched, memorable characters, and entertaining plots. It's also very easy to see David Suchet as the archetypal Hercule Poirot, capturing his fussiness and eccentricities while also his essential good-heartedness and, of course, his extremely sharp mind. Poirot ranks up there with Sherlock Holmes as one of the most memorable fictional sleuths, and Suchet carries off the role with aplomb.

The DVD

Video

While the content is excellent, I confess to a great deal of disappointment when it comes to the image quality of these episodes. I wouldn't have thought that the prints would have degraded extensively in only about ten years since their original broadcast, but whatever the reason, the DVD transfers are decidedly lackluster.

The overall image tends to be brownish or grayish, with colors looking very bland. Edge enhancement is apparent, and a fairly large number of print flaws appear in the form of small speckles and flecks in the image.

The episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.

Audio

The overall audio quality was quite good for all three episodes. The Dolby 2.0 soundtrack provided a clear, accurate presentation of the dialogue with no background noise or distortion apparent. The lively theme music was well-balanced with the rest of the track.

Extras

We get a short text piece on the various actors who have played Poirot, and the same minor assortment of features as on the other Poirot DVDs: biographies of Agatha Christie and David Suchet, and cast filmographies.

Final thoughts

Any viewer who has enjoyed the earlier Poirot DVDs will find this set a necessary addition to their collection; the disappointing transfer but certainly watchable. The episodes on Set 4 can certainly be viewed out of order, though, and may very well prove to be a good starting point for viewers who are considering joining Hercule Poirot on his cases. Recommended.

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