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Poirot - The Mysterious Affair at Styles

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Product Details

  • Actors: David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson, Beatie Edney, David Rintoul
  • Directors: Ross Devenish
  • Writers: Agatha Christie, Clive Exton
  • Producers: Brian Eastman, Nick Elliott
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: February 6, 2001
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056C0I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,936 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Poirot - The Mysterious Affair at Styles" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description



The murderer isn't the only one with a secret to hide in this television adaptation of Agatha Christie's first novel. With the (often unwitting) help of his friend Arthur Hastings (Hugh Fraser), retired Belgian supersleuth Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) arranges the pieces of a puzzle, which include a broken coffee cup, spilled candle grease, untidy mantel ornaments, a fake beard, and a chief suspect who seems almost eager to be arrested.

Place all these clues on the grand estate of a murdered matriarch as World War I draws to a close, and you have not only a fine mystery but also a quiet elegy to a way of life that would soon fade away. What this adaptation sacrifices in the romantic intrigues that flesh out the novel, it makes up for in setting. As with all the Poirot episodes, there is a sumptuous attention to detail, from the furnishings of Styles Court to the white spats on Poirot's shoes as he interrupts a military war game to give his fellow Belgians a lesson on local botany. Suchet's characterization of Poirot here verges on caricature at times, but it is still difficult to resist his charms as he skillfully peels away the layers of deception to reveal the truth.

The DVD special features include biographies of David Suchet and Agatha Christie, challenging Poirot trivia questions and classic quotes, and a link to the official Agatha Christie Web site. --Larisa Lomacky Moore

Customer Reviews

The ensemble cast is superb.
Amanda Fitton
In conclusion, this is a fun movie, even if you have read the novel!!
Stephen Pletko
This is high quality and well worth repeated views.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Charles S. Tashiro on February 14, 2001
Format: DVD
Fans of the London Weekend Television Poirot series may be surprised by this adaptation of the first of the novels. While ingredients familiar from the rest of the series are here, the feel is rather different, probably because the story is set in 1917. The Art Deco backgrounds that are a hallmark of the rest of the series are missing. We are treated instead to the dark, cluttered luxury of an English country estate, improbably well appointed for war time, as a familiar cast of suspects move in and out of the ample shadows.
The episode is a little unusual in the central role played by Hastings, and even more unusual in its concentration on character. Most of the LWT Poirot adaptations focus on the puzzle, garnish it with playful character touches, lush backgrounds, and superb cinematography. This segment, probably because it is establishing the relationship between Poirot, Hastings and Japp (in a relatively modest role), spends more time on the interaction between people. As a result, the pace of the segment is also slower than most, perhaps also in an attempt to convey the feel of a vanished way of life.
The episode is a particularly beautiful example from a series that specialized in gorgeous period evocations, with ample response to lush green landscapes, the creeping darkness of an early summer evening, or the harsh light slipping through the blinds of a shuttered room. The Moderne look of the thirties episodes here gives way to a slightly seedy Edwardianism, obviously past its prime, but still holding on to remembered glories. (One of the nicest touches is that the victim, an elderly matriarch, dresses in a manner more appropriate to some fifteen years earlier.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert North on December 3, 2001
Format: DVD
Some actors play characters and some become them. Suchet is Poirot...or is Poirot Suchet? Missing is the greasiness that Albert Finney injected into the character in Murder on the Orient Express. Also missing is the familiarity that Ustinov brought--that feeling that Ustinov as Poirot was similar to Ustinov as anybody. Suchet is an original.
One warning before I say more: I've read only a couple of the books, and am no expert to say the least.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles is a good place to begin this series of DVDs, as it shows how Poirot and Hastings met. Especially memorable is the suggestion of a greater degree of depth of experience with Hastings than usually found in the shorter episodes. Don't worry though, you still get the enjoyable Hastings goofiness. Check out his marriage offer and the woman's response as an example.
The story itself isn't as memorable as some, though I think it does do an excellent job with redirection that sets it apart from most. Specifically, I think it does an excellent job of playing on the jaded assumptions we often make as we leap ahead with our guesses; I admit that I was more smug in the middle than accurate in the end. In addition, the settings, from buildings to countryside, are wonderful and the dialog is engaging.
However, I can only give the Acorn series 4 out of 5 stars. Why? Because until DVDs become the sole way people watch movies at home, expectations must be higher. I have no complaints about the audio or the picture, but where are the multimedia extras? The features that make owning (and paying more for) a DVD worthwhile. Except for some text-based items, this DVD is bereft of goodies. Shame on you, Acorn! How about a 10 minute interview with the actors? Behind the scenes footage?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Francis M. Hough Jr. on March 10, 2001
Format: DVD
If you're at all familiar with the wonderful series of BBC adaptations of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, then you don't need me to tell you that David Suchet is the walking embodiment of the character. Though the case, Christie's first published mystery, isn't one of her most baffling (go to THE ABC MURDERS also available on DVD for that), it is certainly full of the author's well-known devices: a murder by poisoning (Christie was a poison expert having worked in a dispensery during World War I), a suitable cast of suspects who we inevitably learn all had reason enough for wanting the victim dead, and the studied investigation by our Belgian sleuth with the usual endearing incompetence of his friend Arthur Hastings.
These BBC adaptations are beautifully made, faithful in their period touches (though, of course, Hastings and Poirot don't look any younger here than in their later adventures which take place at least ten to fifteen years later), and the casting as always couldn't be better.
Though lacking much in the way of supplements (the information on Agatha Christie and David Suchet is repeated on each disc in the series), the clarity of the picture and clear sound (alas mono) make owning these DVDs a must for mystery lovers.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on February 13, 2001
Format: DVD
It was in 1920 that Hercule Poirot's egg-shaped head first appeared in print. He was a Belgian refugee living in a small English town near a manor house named Styles, at which there was a mysterious affair. Told from the point of view of Hastings, a recent participant in the Great War, the story tells of a poisoning through a cup of coffee that was never drunk, a cup of cocoa that contained no poison, and several possible wills. This and the usual "crowded murder scene" all add up to a superior murder mystery called <The Mysterious Affair at Styles>.
As soon as I finished viewing the DVD version released by Acorn Media, I reread the novel and marveled at how closely the script adheres to the original. Even the dialogue is, for the most part, drawn from the pages of the novel and the casting of the film seems just right, especially the despicable Mr. Inglethorpe (Michael Cronin). One prominent character in the book is gone from the film; and my rereading showed how dispensable he was originally.
As always, a few comic touches are added to the film, such as Poirot's trying to Anglicize a group of fellow "Belgies" who are more interested in the local pub than in British marching songs. Also, while Poirot's lust for neatness will be a running joke throughout his many novels and short stories, here it actually leads to the solution. Of course, there is that old routine of the Watson character (Hastings, played as always by the excellent Hugh Fraser) making a chance comment that provides the "missing link" needed to close the case; but we can forgive that cliché in an old mystery where it would be laughed out of court in a modern one.
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