David Suchet. Includes The Mystery of the Blue Train (2005/100 min.), Taken at the Flood (2006/94 min.), After the Funeral (2005/100 min.) and Cards on the Table (2005/94 min.) . 4 DVDs. B&w-color/NR/fullscreen.
The incomparable David Suchet reprises his role as Agatha Christie's indefatigable Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot in this collection of four A&E teleplays. Poirot is older now, and mostly solo in solving his crimes, without his previous sidekicks Hastings and Japp. Yet the world-weary Suchet is as compelling as ever to watch, surrounded by the decadent rich who seem to find murder an easy solution to life's inconveniences. The Mystery of the Blue Train
, for instance, features a young, and suddenly very dead, heiress, with a dissolute husband, an overprotective father (a fabulously blustery Elliott Gould), greedy cousins, and all sorts of scheming money-owing hangers-on--all cocooned and coddled on a luxury train on the French Riviera. Indeed, one of the many pleasures of this collection is its very high production values; sets, costumes, and locations are detailed and opulently believable. (Though one annoying tic from the films' TV roots inexplicably remains: some "naughty" words, like the "God" in "God-damned," are edited out; surely we home viewers could handle a teensy bit of upper-crust rough talk?) The supporting casts are rich and varied, and the suspects deliciously numerous. And at the center of it all is the ever-refined, driven Poirot, who will not rest until the evil-doers are exposed. Extras include biographies of Agatha Christie and of David Suchet. --A.T. Hurley