Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e03 Dead Man’s Folly (2013) – 4/10 period crime detective murder mystery TV review

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Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Nick Dear
James Anderson: Michael Weyman
Rosalind Ayres: Mrs. Warburton
Sinéad Cusack aka Sinead Cusack: Mrs. Folliat
Tom Ellis: Detective Inspector Bland
Rebecca Front: Miss Brewis
Emma Hamilton: Sally Legge
Martin Jarvis: Captain Warburton
Sam Kelly: John Merdell
Stephanie Leonidas: Hattie Stubbs
Sean Pertwee: Sir George Stubbs
Daniel Weyman: Alec Legge
Nicholas Woodeson: Detective Sergeant Hoskins
Ariadne Oliver: Zoë Wanamaker aka Zoe Wanamaker
Producer: David Boulter
Director: Tom Vaughan

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e03 Dead Man’s Folly (2013)

Ariadne Oliver has been hired to organise a murder hunt for a fete being hosted by Sir George Stubbs but she has a nasty, niggling feeling that real crime is in the air and calls upon the services of Hercule Poirot to bristle his moustache in evil’s general direction. Certainly not to prevent any murders, good heavens, no.

4/10

Taking nearly half its running time to get to the first murder, this adaptation suffers, as so many of the feature-length Poirot‘s by choosing not to be interesting, fun or informative. The second half has trouble maintaining interest as there aren’t enough clues to construct a theorem and, somehow, there aren’t any suspects; reeling from the shock of seeing a black man in a Christie adaptation, they just send him to the gallows and congratulate themselves on a job well done. When Poirot reveals the solution, it turns out most of the information he gives is brand new and not derived from the clues supplied. In a nice touch, this was filmed on location at Greenway in Devon: Agatha Christie’s home.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains violence

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e05 Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (2013) – 8/10 period crime detective murder mystery TV review

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Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Kevin Elyot
Helen Baxendale: Elizabeth Cole
Shaun Dingwall: Doctor Franklin
Claire Keelan: Nurse Craven
Anna Madeley: Barbara Franklin
Aidan McArdle: Stephen Norton
Matthew McNulty: Major Allerton
Alice Orr-Ewing: Judith Hastings
John Standing: Colonel Toby Luttrell
Captain Hastings: Hugh Fraser
Anne Reid: Daisy Luttrell
Philip Glenister: Sir William Boyd Carrington
Producer: David Boulter
Director: Hettie MacDonald

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e05 Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (2013)

Hastings travels to Stiles, location of his and Poirot’s first murder case together, to visit an ailing, wheelchair-bound Poirot. Fortunately, Poirot’s moustache and little grey cells are in as good condition as ever, but evil is here once more and Poirot aims to stop it.

8/10

Along with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and, arguably, The Murder on the Orient Express, this is one of Agatha Christie’s most unforgettable and surprising murderers. Fortunately, screenplay writer Kevin Elyot didn’t remove that (like ITV did with Roger Ackroyd) and the episode is crisp, involving and emotional. After the highly variable quality of the feature-length episodes, it’s nice to report that the series ends on a high. Oh, and yes, of course, ITV interrupted SPOILER Poirot’s death for adverts and, of course, the ITV announcer talked all over the deliberately silent end credits.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains adult dialogue, gory and unpleasant scenes, distressing scenes

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s02e04 The Lost Mine (1990) – 6/10 period crime detective drama TV review

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Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Captain Hastings: Hugh Fraser
Chief Inspector Japp: Philip Jackson
Miss Lemon: Pauline Moran
Writer (Dramatisation): Michael Baker
Writer (Dramatisation): David Renwick
Anthony Bate: Lord Pearson
Colin Stinton: Charles Lester
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Edward Bennett

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s02e04 The Lost Mine (1990)

Poirot’s struggles in the early running of a game of Monopoly versus Hastings is mirrored in the real world with financial problems with his bank account (he’s £60 overdrawn, much to his fury and protestations). Meanwhile, he is engaged by his bank to find the owner of a map to a lost mine who failed to arrive at a crucial business meeting.

6/10

You don’t often see Poirot get the wrong end of the stick but writers Michael Baker and David Renwick deliver a delightful scene early on when Lord Pearson arrives to ask for Poirot’s help while Poirot thinks he’s come to apologise for a mistake in his account balance. It’s also great to see characters doing something other than their principle activity; in this case, Hastings and Poirot are playing Monopoly. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the plot but it is a tremendous amount of fun and reinforces the friendship between our two heroes. Sadly, the mystery aspect of the episode is uninvolving.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains mild gory and unpleasant scenes, opium abuse

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s10e04 Taken at the Flood (2005) – 7/10 period crime detective drama TV review

Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Guy Andrews
Jenny Agutter: Adela Marchmont
Patrick Baladi: Rowley Cloade
Eva Birthistle: Rosaleen / Eileen
Elliot Lowan: David Hunter
Amanda Douge: Lynn Marchmont
Penny Downie: Frances Cloade
Claire Hackett: Beatrice Lippincott
Supt. Harold Spence: Richard Hope
Celia Imrie: ‘Aunt’ Katy Cloade
Nicholas Le Prevost: Major James Porter
Tim Pigott-Smith: Dr. Lionel Cloade
Elizabeth Spriggs: Mrs Leadbetter
Pip Torrens: Jeremy Cloade
Tim Woodward: Enoch Arden / Charles
David Yelland: George the Butler
Producer: Trevor Hopkins
Director: Andy Wilson

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s10e04 Taken at the Flood (2005)

When the Cloade family can’t get financial support from their father’s widow – a very young American actress that none of them had met before the marriage – they, rightly, blame her extremely controlling brother. As their lives were predicated around a certain amount of income, having it cut off has brought them into desperate straits but then it appears that the young actress was married before and her first husband didn’t die. The Cloade’s enlist the help of family friend and world’s greatest detective, Hercule Poirot – no, not Batman – to find evidence of bigamy. Naturally, as soon as Poirot takes on the case, someone dies.

7/10

After awkward character introductions, Guy Andrews’ adaptation improves on some details of Christie’s novel while retaining the plot that sees deaths cleverly disguised as other kinds of deaths and revelling in the energetic odiousness of the Cloade family of suspects. Acceptable changes include how Rowley identifies Arden, the nature of the explosion and Rosalie and Lynn’s fate at the end. The cast is good, especially Elliot Lowan as David Hunter and David Suchet’s Poirot is a cheerful presence.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains adult dialogue, bad language, substance abuse, violence, gory and unpleasant scene

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e02 The Big Four (2013) – 6/10 period crime detective drama TV review

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Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Mark Gatiss
Screenplay Writer: Ian Hallard
Tom Brooke: Tysoe
Nicholas Burns: Inspector Meadows
Jack Farthing: Gerald Paynter
Patricia Hodge: Madame Olivier
Simon Lowe: Dr Quentin
Sarah Parish: Flossie Monro
Captain Hastings: Hugh Fraser
Miss Lemon: Pauline Moran
Chief Inspector Japp Assistant Commissioner Japp: Philip Jackson
Producer: David Boulter
Director: Peter Lydon

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e02 The Big Four (2013)

As the world appears to be tottering into war, the Peace Party organise a symbolic chess match between America and Russia. On his third move, however, the Russian Grandmaster keels over dead. You know, this never would have happened if Poirot hadn’t been invited to attend; he is a little egg-shaped Belgian bad luck magnet. Still, if he wasn’t there, they also wouldn’t have discovered that the death was far from accidental and, according to the papers, a mysterious organisation calling themselves The Big Four was responsible.

6/10

Though it ends up being rather silly and features a critical centrepiece explosion that has atrocious effects, this is largely a snappy, murderful couple of hours with the first death (at the chess game) being particularly ingenious. It uses manipulation of an eagerly sensationalist press as a key theme; something that certainly applied to the understandably partisan industry at the time this is set (shortly before the outbreak of World War II) but also applies to the contemporary grab for ratings through ever more explicit and intrusive coverage of scandals and disasters. It seems that BBC News can get George Alagiah to any place on Earth before local governments can get water or emergency services and supplies there.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains unpleasant scenes

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e04 The Labours of Hercules (2013) – 4/10 period crime detective drama TV review

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Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Guy Andrews
Orla Brady: Countess Rossakoff
Simon Callow: Dr. Lutz
Morven Christie: Elsie Clayton
Rupert Evans: Harold Waring
Nigel Lindsay: Francesco
Sandy McDade: Mrs. Rice
Fiona O’Shaughnessy: Katrina
Eleanor Tomlinson: Alice Cunningham
Tom Wlaschiha: Schwartz
Producer: David Boulter
Director: Andy Wilson

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e04 The Labours of Hercules (2013)

After a case goes horribly wrong, a depressed Poirot takes a long car ride with a young man who bursts into tears and runs away and then tells him about a lost love and Poirot goes to Switzerland to find this lost love and, unpredictably, there is a connection to the case that went horribly wrong and a chance for redemption and a character arc and there’s a twist and it’s all WRITTEN BY CHILDREN.

4/10

"They say Poirot is so intelligent, he is scarcely human, but, you know, he does not listen to this ‘they’" – Poirot

Once more eschewing any recognisable humanity or warmth or fun, this feature-length episode suffers from a complete lack of atmosphere, a surprisingly offensive pot-pourri of accents, the baffling insistence on making everything unspeakably serious and a weak central mystery (where the identity of the killer is immediate from the moment they appear largely because it obviously isn’t anyone else; it is inexplicably changed from the original short story). It also might contain the single most embarrassing scene in the entire series (not involving Zoe Wanamaker) when a young man is supposed to burst into tears and run away from a car. Christie’s stories are largely fun, generally very well-paced and these feature-length episodes are not. And I miss Hastings. It will be interesting to see if his return in the next and last ever episode of Poirot will make good use of him.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains gory scene, adult dialogue

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Columbo s01e04 Suitable for Framing (1971) – 6/10 crime detective drama TV review

Cast / crew
Lieutenant Columbo: Peter Falk
Ross Martin: Dale Kingston
Don Ameche: Frank, the lawyer
Kim Hunter: Edna
Director: Hy Averback
Writer: Jackson Gillis
Producer and Series Creator: Richard Levinson
Producer and Series Creator: William Link

Columbo s01e04 Suitable for Framing (1971)

When art critic Dale Kingston murders his uncle in order to get his hands on a valuable art collection before it is given away to charity he plans everything including a perfect, watertight alibi and a perfect stooge to blame. Lieutenant Columbo knows that nothing is perfect and presumed inheritee Kingston is quickly his prime suspect, though his efforts to prove it keep falling flat.

6/10

Despite having an annoying and charisma-free villain, Peter Falk’s typically brilliant performance as Columbo and a gleefully cunning climax make this a memorable episode. Falk delivers a best-in-class embarrassed by a naked lady, one of his better popping-up-in-unexpected-places (the suspect’s apartment as he’s returning with stolen paintings) and a brilliant attempt at a macho rant down a phone at a colleague (“CHARLIE! I sent that stuff over half-an- oh.”). Don Ameche adds a bit of class as a lawyer and makes one wish that he could have played the murderer. The bad points come from guest murderer Ross Martin who is dull, drab and distinctly aggravating as the murderer. That said, I suppose that makes it all the more sweet when Columbo nails him. The direction is also flat, lifeless and feels full of tension-deflating mistakes but there’s a lot of good Columbo and an ingenious finalé and that’s what we watch for.

This Columbo episode contains inferred violence

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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