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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > Telefilm > British TV > Literature > Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Movie Collection – Set 4 (2008/Acorn Media DVD)

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Movie Collection – Set 4 (2008/Acorn Media DVD)


Picture: C-     Sound: C     Extras: C     Episodes: C



Running since 1989, the BBC series based on Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels has been almost as successful as the source material.  Starring the impeccable David Suchet as the eponymous detective Hercule Poirot, Set 4 of The Movie Collection contains two feature-length episodes from Season 11, “Mrs. McGinty’s Dead” and “Cat Among the Pigeons.”


The series is set in 1930s England with a great deal of effort made to show off the sumptuous ultra-modern style of the era among the monied elite of Britain.  Each episode encapsulates one case in which Poirot is called upon to investigate a murder.  Due to the episodic nature of the series, new watchers can jump in at any point without fear of missing anything.  Much of the joy of the series though, as with most crime series that follow the same detective, is in the repetition and iterative schemes between episodes.


Poirot himself is a meticulous little Belgian gentleman, and while he is the very model of urbane metropolitan charm, his status as a foreigner in Britain gives him, and therefore the viewer, a certain outsider perspective on British culture.  After nearly twenty years playing the character, David Suchet has his performance down to a science, though the lack of the side characters Hastings, Miss Lemon, and Inspector Japp rob these later episodes of some of the wit and playfulness of the early series.


The picture, in 16:9 widescreen, has that very distinctive grayed look seen in almost every BBC production and is somewhat soft.  Likewise, the sound has just a touch of echo which makes it sound a bit manufactured.  The audio is presented in Dolby Digital Stereo.


The first two discs each contain one episode with a forty five-minute documentary on the third disc.  Special features on the first disc include text biographies of Agatha Christie and David Suchet along with Cast Filmographies and a list of all the Poirot novels.  The second disc only contains Cast Filmographies.  The documentary on the third disc is surprisingly entertaining with interviews from cast, crew, relatives of Agatha Christie, and several mystery novelists.  The documentary discusses Christie’s life and work, the series, its attitude towards adaptation, and its potential end.


These episodes are nowhere near the height of the Poirot series, but even as the episodes fall into a sort of stiff repetition, as though operating on habit rather than enthusiasm, there is a certain inescapable charm to Hercule Poirot that makes these episodes entirely worth watching.  Newcomers would be well advised to begin with the earlier seasons, but once they do, they’ll more than likely end up working their way through the seasons and find themselves at these episodes eventually.



-   Matthew Carrick


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