Customer Reviews


84 Reviews
5 star:
 (40)
4 star:
 (21)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (9)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


230 of 230 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David Suchet Returns as Agatha Christie's Poirot
In the latest installment of A&E Network's Poirot film series comes four new mysteries based upon the classic Agatha Christie novels that until now had never been produced before for television or the silver screen. Hence, this is the "Classic Crimes Collection," starring David Suchet as the formidable Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot.

Before delving into the...
Published on March 25, 2006 by Amazon Customer

versus
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why EDITED versions, A&E?
My poor rating has nothing to do with the adaptations (which I thought were well done and atmospheric.) It's always a pleasure to see David Suchet as Poirot. On the contrary, I have a beef with the presentation on these DVDs. They were clearly cut to fit into A&E time slots - with annoying dips to black in the middle of music cues - and censored for language. At one point...
Published on June 21, 2006 by Agatha


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

230 of 230 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David Suchet Returns as Agatha Christie's Poirot, March 25, 2006
By 
Amazon Customer (Meridian, ID, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection (The Mystery of the Blue Train / After the Funeral / Cards on the Table / Taken at the Flood) (DVD)
In the latest installment of A&E Network's Poirot film series comes four new mysteries based upon the classic Agatha Christie novels that until now had never been produced before for television or the silver screen. Hence, this is the "Classic Crimes Collection," starring David Suchet as the formidable Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot.

Before delving into the four new titles, please note that this glossy A&E series thus far does not resemble the earlier British-produced TV episodes and films of the 1990's that David Suchet starred in as Poirot. These newer A&E films move seemingly at a much brisker pace and employ some flashy camera techniques, but retain only a modest helping of the traditional British flavor that made Suchet's earlier Poirot efforts feel so genuine in representing the 1930's and 1940's England. Still, no matter your opinion of which style is superior (the British productions vs. A&E), Suchet's timeless portrayal of Hercule Poirot makes both imminently entertaining for mystery lovers of all ages.

First up in this collection is "The Mystery of the Blue Train," as Poirot delves into the baffling death of a young heiress aboard a train bound for the French Riviera.

Next is "After the Funeral," in which a wealthy patriarch has been murdered, but Poirot's subsequent investigation only leads to yet another fiendish murder with possibly more to come.

"Cards on the Table" (a personal Christie favorite of ours) pits four of Christie's famous detectives (Poirot, Inspector Battle, Colonel Race, & Ariadne Oliver) in a race against time vs. four 'perfect' murderers that leads them from the bridge table into a deadly game of wits as the villain won't be content with just one victim.

Lastly, there comes "Taken at the Flood," where Poirot encounters a young, enigmatic widow who has become entangled in a web of deceit, blackmail, and murder after her husband has been killed in the London Blitz.

The bonus features evidently include a bibliography of Christie's Poirot novels, as well as some standard biographical information about the author and actor David Suchet.

At its current sale price, this collection of Suchet's latest Poirot films, appropriately enough, is an absolute steal!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


123 of 124 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new look at an older, stouter Poirot, with David Suchet making it all work, June 7, 2006
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection (The Mystery of the Blue Train / After the Funeral / Cards on the Table / Taken at the Flood) (DVD)
This latest in the long-running Hercule Poirot television series, with Poirot played by David Suchet, has been released on DVD with the cumbersome title Agatha Christie Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection. This series 12, from 2005-06, and series 11, from 2003-04 and released as Agatha Christie Poirot: The New Mysteries Collection, is a somewhat different look at Poirot than we've been used to.

Although the time period is approximately the same, the mid-to-late Thirties, Hercule Poirot is noticeably older and stouter. Suchet, who was 43 when he began Poirot in 1989, is now 60. No longer part of the stories are Captain Hastings, Miss Lemon and Inspector Japp. Captain Hastings and Miss Lemon gave Poirot opportunities to express affection and gentle amusement. They in turn, by their devotion to him, gave us a chance to see him through their eyes as not simply a person confident about his little grey cells, but as a somewhat eccentric individual we could like. Japp showed us how the police could come to respect and even defer to this brilliant, prim and unselfconsciously egotistic little foreigner. Poirot, now with no friends, seems at times a lonely figure. The mysteries remain intricate, but they sometimes lack warmth and a friendly insouciance. There is a heavy-handedness about the production which takes some getting used to.

As usual, Poirot spends much of his time catching murderers among Britain's upper crust, which gives us many opportunities to see how our betters live, behave and dress. His deep outrage over privileged people who believe murder is simply a way to deal with life's inconveniences remains strong. With little opportunity for small touches of humanity and friendship, however, the series now seems a bit glum. The trademark conclusion to each Poirot mystery, where all the suspects gather together (usually in a drawing room) and listen while Poirot dissects the case, explains the implacability of his logic and then one by one rules out the innocent until only the guilty party is left squirming, is still an effective dramatic device.

The new Poirot mysteries work as elegant puzzles. They may be a bit rougher at times with strong language now and then and some sexually-motivated plots, but they are well-written and well-acted. David Suchet is still a wonder at being Poirot; he inhabits the role and is great fun to watch. But perhaps this older, more serious Poirot is just a little too self-contained. He needs a friend or two.

The mysteries in this collection include murder on an elegant train, murder in an elegant country home, murder in another elegant country home and murder in an elegant town house. Amongst the characters working with Poirot to solve the town house murder is one played by Zoe Wanamaker. She's a first-rate actress and her pungent performance gives Suchet some real competition.

The DVDs all have great looking transfers. Each of the four mysteries runs approximately 1' 40" on separate discs. The extras include biographies of Agatha Christie and David Suchet.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why EDITED versions, A&E?, June 21, 2006
This review is from: Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection (The Mystery of the Blue Train / After the Funeral / Cards on the Table / Taken at the Flood) (DVD)
My poor rating has nothing to do with the adaptations (which I thought were well done and atmospheric.) It's always a pleasure to see David Suchet as Poirot. On the contrary, I have a beef with the presentation on these DVDs. They were clearly cut to fit into A&E time slots - with annoying dips to black in the middle of music cues - and censored for language. At one point a character exclaims "God Dammit, Poirot" but the sound drops out where he says "God." That's all well and fine for A&E's standards and practices, but when I spend the money on a DVD, I want the full length, uncensored presentation as it was meant to be seen - without artificial breaks in the continuity for commercials. Shame on you, A&E - you can do much better!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars David Suchet returns in four dramatized Christie Novels, March 8, 2007
By 
L. E. Cantrell (Vancouver, British Columbia Canada) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection (The Mystery of the Blue Train / After the Funeral / Cards on the Table / Taken at the Flood) (DVD)
This set, "Agatha Christie's Poirot - Classic Crimes Collection," consists of four of Dame Agatha's Poirot novels dramatized at TV feature length. The four novels are "The Mystery of the Blue Train" (1928), "Cards on the Table" (1936), "Taken at the Flood" (1948) and "After the Funeral" (1953). Four other novels are dramatized in the companion set, "Agatha Christie's Poirot - The New Mysteries Collection." The two sets display the output of the new A&E production team.

The new series diverge from the old in a number of ways. They concentrate on Christie's novel-length works rather than her short stories. Far more important to Amazon reviewers, though, seems to be the change in casting. The dim but endearing Captain Hastings, the hyper-efficient Miss Lemon and that stolid plod, Chief Inspector Japp are all gone. We find Poirot alone in his new, smaller, gloomier, distinctly less impressive flat--although he's apparently still in the same building. Some reviewers note that the new scripts make references to modern sexual sensibilities in ways that certainly, unquestionably, indubitably did not appear in Dame Aggie's writings. Typical reactions among those who mention this change involve one or all of dismay, disgust and disdain. Others have drawn attention to production values for the new series. One reviewer put it this way: "[T]he production value of the films has gone through the roof. Simply put, these are the best looking Poirot films made so far, particularly with regards to `film moment' shots and the use of color in regards to theme." Finally, there has been the obvious effect of all-devouring time; the now portly Suchet is sixty-ish and he looks it.

Let's consider that point, the older Poirot. In 1920, Hercule Poirot appeared in Agatha Christie's first book, "The Mysterious Affair at Styles," a novel set in the middle of the First World War. Captain Hastings, wounded on the Western Front, is on leave to recover back in England. He happens to meet an odd little man named Hercule Poirot (a name plainly impossible for any self-respecting Englishman to pronounce correctly.) Poirot is described as an elderly Belgian refugee who is a retired policeman. Considering the events that took place in Belgium in the late summer of 1914, it must be assumed that he retired no later than the first half that year. If Poirot retired at sixty--Christie writing at age 30 would probably have considered that to be elderly--he was born no later than 1854. If at sixty-five, then 1849. The earlier his retirement, the earlier his birth date.

Poirot's career in England stretched from the horrors of the Western Front to what he and his creator clearly regarded as the only slightly less baleful era of rock 'n roll. For convenience, the original series was notionally set in 1935. 1937 seems to be the date for this series, considering that the name of a certain Mrs Simpson appears in the newspapers. In 1937, Hercule Poirot must have been at least 83 years old. All things considered, David Suchet was and still remains entirely too young for the part.

In 1916, Agatha Miller Christie was thinking about writing a book for pin money. (Monetary considerations aside, her older sister had made a bet with her that she couldn't do it!) She and her dashing husband Archie Christie were bright young things, but on their beam ends financially. She once wrote a self-pitying letter in which she complained she could afford only two servants. She decided to write a mystery. At the time, there was only one true pattern for a detective and its name was S. Holmes, still very much a living literary figure, with twelve stories of his Canon yet to be written. After collecting a set of galling rejections, Agatha's first book, "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" and Hercule Poirot finally saw print in 1920.

Holmes had a biographer named Watson, plodding colleagues at Scotland Yard, beginning with Inspector Lestrade, and a landlady-housekeeper, Mrs Hudson. Following the set pattern, Christie gave Poirot his biographer in Captain Hastings--the complete boob that Watson NEVER was--and he introduced Inspector Japp. Later, Poirot would find his London flat and enjoy the ministrations of Miss Lemon, a background figure in all but a single short story.

In the older TV series, Hastings got into everything. Miss Lemon's role expanded beyond anything in Christie's writings. All police detectives combined into Chief Inspector Japp. All this, I presume, to humanize the little Belgian detective and to ease the endless task of explaining plot points.

In 1926, Christie hit the big time with her seventh book, "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd." She was acknowledged as the great successor to Conan Doyle. But Hastings wasn't even in "Ackroyd." She realized that she had no need to follow Holmes anymore, so she sent the now-tedious Hastings off to molt in some remote South American exile, bringing him back only on a rare sentimental occasion.

In this Hastings-, Lemon- and Japp-free series, the new producers have done no more than follow Christie's lead. Nevertheless, I miss them. The producers really ought to bring the trio back for at least one show in each season.

Regarding post-Christie sensibilities on sexual matters, heaven knows it's mild enough stuff in these productions, but why do they bother? The stories are set in 1937, not 2007 or even 1977. Whatever people were doing then, they certainly were not talking about it freely, as here. (And yes, I am aware of such people as Sackville-West and Trefusis, but that was a juicy scandal, not a casual aside, as in "The Hollow" in the companion series.)

Finally, there are the production values. Some reviewers are impressed. I am not. Whatever the current producers are paying, they are not getting their money's worth. The old series was a well-designed gem. Remember those opening graphics? And that annoying but unforgettable theme music? The old series showcased Art Deco artifacts and architecture. The Deco movement peaked, then fell away in hardly more than a decade--two at most. I am convinced the old series showcased every good example of Art Deco architecture to be found in all of Britain. By contrast, the new series is flat, uninteresting. Instead of bright, clean-lined Art Deco, we see nothing but the same-old-same-old Masterpiece Theater/A&E Presents visuals blahs that turn up a dozen times a week on PBS. Even worse is the rhythm of the new series. With the regularity--not to mention the soul of a stopwatch, everything periodically comes to a lurching halt. (Why they do not display a black card saying "Insert Commercial Here" I cannot imagine.) And the music! That old tune is still there, but almost inaudible in the background. What a waste! Let's not even talk about the opening credits.

In summary, these are acceptable productions of (sometimes VERY) loose adaptations of Christie's mid-career novels. They're good enough, but not the visual treats they used to be. On the other hand, even mediocre Poirot is better than no Poirot at all.

Four stars wit' ze little grey cells.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Huge Disappointment, Flawed Adaptations, June 9, 2006
By 
William (Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection (The Mystery of the Blue Train / After the Funeral / Cards on the Table / Taken at the Flood) (DVD)
After the wonderful quality of the earlier Poirot films starring David Suchet, it is very disappointing to see these poorly adapted productions. While Mr. Suchet plays Poirot with his usual perfection the pacing of the stories develops unevenly and drags frequently. The plots have been shredded to give the supporting actors more to do with their characters but to the point of destroying the original plot. The characters are no longer human but caricatures. In one scene a male servant gropes a female servant under the dim eyes of the aged butler. In another scene a "party girl" character rescues a friend from an attack by leaping on the back of the attacker and biting the attacker's neck, grinning with wild eyed abandon like some sort of vampire. It confuses and distracts from the story line as do so many other unnecessary additions in these adaptations, especially when the relevant point is made again and again. The overall mood is erratic and disturbing, even the sets seem overly loud and unpleasant. There is no charm, no gentle humor and certainly no understanding of human folly. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend anyone who really loves Agatha Christie's work purchase these severely flawed adaptations.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT AS GOOD AS PREVIOUS POIROT'S, June 17, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection (The Mystery of the Blue Train / After the Funeral / Cards on the Table / Taken at the Flood) (DVD)
These 4 dvd's----Mystery of the Blue Train; After the Funeral; Taken at the Floor; Cards on the Table----were a disappointment because of the expectation that follows all the previous in the superb & highly enjoyable Piorot series (all of which we have.) Firstly, Miss Lemon, Hastings, and Japp are missing, which is a huge loss, as they inform the personal aspect of Piorot. Granted, they are also not present in the novels these DVD's cover, but as there is already so much license with the the novels, they could certainly have been included-----and continued the dimensionality of showing Piorot's personal life. These supporting characters gave continuity, humor, and soul to the shows, so are sadly missed. Piorot also has a new flat (albeit it appears to be in the same building) with no reason given----------so dedicated viewers are left to feel as if they have missed a DVD that would have explained all these changes.

Equally disturbing is the new direction/format: the weird camera cuts, the jumping in editing--------as if some new director or editor is right out of film school and could not wait to try new tricks. Very amateurish.

And the characters------save the always brilliant and accurate David Suchet-------seem charactitures, grossly over-acting and so sterotypical. The beauty of the Christie novels and the previous Piorot DVDs is that the characters were so "normal" and believable----and such brilliant actors----that the murder and mayhem that follows is in such contrast. Isn't that Christie's whole theme: that underneath normal life is a deep, dark side. Well, most of the characters in these new DVDs are so theatrical is all comes off as summer stock in the provinces.

Please bring back the old Piorot, the old cast, and the old direction and editing!!! PLEASE!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Who ruined Poirot, a real mystery, October 24, 2007
This review is from: Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection (The Mystery of the Blue Train / After the Funeral / Cards on the Table / Taken at the Flood) (DVD)
I was anxious to view these episodes as I love the traditional Hercule Poirot series. I found myself VERY disappointed that the old Poirot character and story dramatization style was gone. The new version is chaotic and nothing but emotional bedlam. I found The new production style featuring extreme closeups distracting and overly sensational. Seemingly every character in these stories is out of control. Trying to follow these stories gave me a headache. I miss the old introspective, rational, calculating character that is Hercule Poirot.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing but beautiful, August 5, 2006
By 
This review is from: Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection (The Mystery of the Blue Train / After the Funeral / Cards on the Table / Taken at the Flood) (DVD)
I am completely dumbfounded by the way these movies are edited. I actually was quite sure I was watching "abridged" editions of much longer and probably more satisfying movies. But from what I have read here these are the complete product. I think the editing is very poor, jumping from scene to scene and often back to the same actors in a completely different setting so you are left to wonder - same day? However, they are beautifully filmed. The atmosphere is wonderful, the tone and feeling, sets etc are as always very well done. I do miss Poirot's cohorts. I loved the actors and their on screen personalities.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still fun to watch, but lower quality than earlier ones, June 1, 2006
By 
it (Sunnyvale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection (The Mystery of the Blue Train / After the Funeral / Cards on the Table / Taken at the Flood) (DVD)
As you would expect, when novels by an author are being considered for dramatization the best ones are selected first. As the number being dramatized increases the novels left to chose from are less adaptable to dramatization or are not as well written or have plot defects.

This is what has happened with Poirot. After many dozen dramatizations the bottom of the barrel is being scraped for material. Another problem with these is that the characters, even though wealthy, are portrayed as culturally lower class.

That said, the technical details of the dramatizations are very good. The period costumes are correct, the casting makes the characters believable.

One disappointment is that Poirot is on his own and his three sidekicks from other episodes, like Captain Hastings, are not in the program.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Adapted" from the Agatha Christie books only, August 26, 2007
By 
A. Reader (Boise, Idaho United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection (The Mystery of the Blue Train / After the Funeral / Cards on the Table / Taken at the Flood) (DVD)
Agatha Christie's books have been amazingly popular, but that didn't stop the producers of this series to substantially alter each plot. As a die-hard A. Christie fan, I found this set more annoying than enjoyable.

During the later movies, there has been a trend of introducing homosexuality as subplots, even when it doesn't make sense and wasn't in the books. In "Cards on the Table," the doctor no longer had an affair with the wife--it's the husband. And the policeman seems to have been involved with some homosexual photographs, even though it has nothing to do with the book and doesn't advance the story at all. What is the point? I'm all for portraying characters honestly and certainly support gay rights, but what did it have to do with these books?? Only Hollywood would find it necessary to alter the plots of one of the most popular writers of all time.

For faithful portrayals of the book, look to the older movies. For odd, Hollywood-mangled versions of what used to be great stories, this set is for you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.