Poirot: The Complete Collection (2000-2001) – DVD Review

Poirot: The Complete Collection DVD cover

Film:
DVD:

Written by: Clive Exton, Anthony Horowitz, based on original stories by Agatha Christie
Directed by: Tom Clegg, Andrew Grieve, & David Farnham
Starring: David Suchet and Hugh Fraser

Features:

  • Full index of Agatha Christie Poirot stories
  • Agatha Christie bio and bibliography
  • David Suchet bio
  • Includes “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” “Lord Edgeware Dies,” “Murder in Mesopotamia,” and “Evil Under the Sun.”

Released by: A&E Home Video
Region: 1
Rating: NR
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format

My Advice: Own it.

Agatha Christie‘s immaculately-dressed Belgian detective returns in this collection of four feature-length mysteries, Poirot: The Complete Collection, originally broadcast on A&E. Beginning with “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” Poirot is drawn out of retirement when his none-too-lovable neighbor is murdered. Donning his gloves and hat, Poirot leaps at the chance to do something more stimulating than whiling away the days in his flower garden, and in short order he is back in top form. His post-retirement adventures continue in “Lord Edgware Dies,” when a lord’s bitter marriage comes to an even more bitter end, leaving no shortage of suspects with motive and opportunity. It seems murder follows the little guy around, as even his excursion to an archaeological dig in Iraq is interrupted by the death of the head researcher’s wife. In what I can only assume is a desperate last-ditch attempt to get away from death, Poirot books an island vacation, only to stumble into the middle of more murder and mayhem.

If I were Poirot, I think I’d buy a cabin somewhere VERY remote, and hope to live out the rest of my days without seeing any more corpses. But Poirot thrives on the challenge of bringing killers to justice, and employing his “little grey cells” in order to outwit the murderous minds of his opponents is precisely how he seems to wish to live out his retirement. These four stories are all classic Christie, typically involving the dark corruption in the heart of high society (though sometimes the lower classes make a play based on simple greed). Her knack for constructing interesting conundrums and hurling even more interesting detectives against them shines in all four of these tales, which survive the translation to screenplay quite well (thanks in no small part to the screenwriters’ willingness to employ as light a touch as possible in adaptation).

The performances are universally superb, with Suchet and Fraser setting the bar for their supporting players, all of whom rise to the occasion. Suchet is as much the quintessential Poirot as Jeremy Brett is Sherlock Holmes, and any other actor that ever attempts to play the stocky little Belgian is in for quite a tough road by comparison. Hugh Fraser brings a great deal of life and depth to a character obviously intended as little more than a sidekick, making Hastings as integral to these stories as Poirot himself. In addition, the chemistry between the two is excellent, providing a real sense of lasting friendship between two old investigators that have seen the darkest parts of human nature, and kept their kindness nonetheless.

David Suchet and Hugh Fraser as Poirot and Hastings

David Suchet and Hugh Fraser

The DVD presentation is solid, with good picture, good audio, and a dash of features for those more interested in Christie or Suchet’s career. Some commentary tracks would have been an excellent addition to the set, or perhaps some interviews with Suchet and Fraser, but no such luck. Outside of the bios, there’s nothing much to speak of in terms of extra material. But four full-length Poirot adventures is really enough to make the set worth having. You won’t find a better portrayal of the character anywhere, and you’d be hard-pressed to find another mystery series with as much style and substance.

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By | 2017-09-25T00:01:29+00:00 December 7th, 2003|Reviews, TV|0 Comments

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