'Agatha Christie's Poirot: Movie Collection 5'
(David Suchet, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / Acorn Media)
Overview: David Suchet is back as Hercule Poirot. The dapper Belgian detective takes on three more cases in these wildly popular adaptations of Christie’s acclaimed classics. As seen on the PBS Mystery! series.
DVD Verdict: In 'Murder on the Orient Express,' whilst on board the famous train after being recalled unexpectedly back to the UK, Poirot finds himself (as is his way) called upon to figure out the ins and outs of the murder of one if its most unsavory travelers (here played by the brilliant Toby Jones).
But, the opening to this Poirot is like nothing that I've ever witnessed before, for in just under 2 minutes you our left open mouthed by what has unfolded! You then follow that up with the stoning of a woman who is carrying the child of another man other than her husband, and, well, it's all go at the head of this done-to-death Christie murder tale!
Anyway, and back on track (every pun intended!), and as much as we all know by now who murdered the man, why, and the ending thereafter; and as much as unfolding the tale takes an agonizingly long time too, come its finale and, well, the pain of consequence to Poirot is etched horribly, heartbreakingly on his face; as he walks away from the snowbound train.
The star-studded cast includes Barbara Hershey, Hugh Bonneville, and Dame Eileen Atkins. And, the special feature here on this disc, 'David Suchet on the Orient Express,' is truly wonderful to behold. For Suchet as Suchet hosts a guided tour of the Orient Express whilst on the Orient Express (with regular paying customers too!) and delves deeply into it's wondrous history.
In the 'Third Girl,' Poirot collaborates with crime novelist, and diligent friend, Ariadne Oliver (the lovely Zoë Wanamaker) to help a young heiress - who thinks she may have committed a murder - to find her way out of the madness she seems so neck deep in.
Another fine old British actor is on display here in the form of Peter Bowles (To The Manor Born) as a blind Lord, who can not only play snooker but skeet shoot - and hit them too! For some reason that I didn't get, everyone keeps telling Poirot he's too old throughout the episode, but aside from that the tale unfolds beautifully.
But, in the course of his investigations, when the woman’s childhood nanny is also found dead, Poirot believes there is more to the case than meets the eye. Which is truly brought to the fore come the big reveal when two twists are presented - one of which even had me shaking my head!
Also, Poirot reveals his own greatest fear - that he will never know the Nature of Love. Ahhh, my friend, welcome to the club!
In the third and final episode of the collection, 'Appointment with Death,' we get given some of the most breathtaking of cinematic Poirot mysteries yet. Indeed, in the special features under David Suchet's Notes, he claims that it was the best Poirot that has has ever had the experience to work on - and that the fort they used in Morocco to film was beyond magnificent.
In this tale, Poirot is visiting an archaeological dig in the Syrian Desert when the wife of Lord Boynton (the every lovable, if not looking older these days, Tim Curry) is murdered. Of course, Poirot carefully sorts through the woman’s many enemies to unearth the truth about her death.
Also starring the always-brilliant, and sans any Mummy John Hannah and Elizabeth McGovern, this is a GREAT whodunnit. And one in which once the final reveal is made, well, I for one was amazed at its simplistic complexity! Truly, as Suchet himself says, this is one of the most incredible Poirot episodes to have been shot/produced in a long, long time. These are all Full-Screen Presentations (1.66:1) and come with the Special Features of:
David Suchet on the Orient Express: David Suchet hosts a guided tour of the Orient Express and it history (47 min.)
Biographies of Agatha Christie and David Suchet