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Agatha Christie's Poirot: Death in the Clouds
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The locked-room murder mystery takes flight in this adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel Death in the Clouds. A poison dart gun, aristocratic blackmail, and the unexpected appearance (and disappearance) of the murder victim's illegitimate daughter add an exotic flavor to a story that is perfectly complemented by David Suchet as the world-famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. His European manners and unconventional investigating methods provide a delightful foil to Chief Inspector Japp's straightforward Scotland Yard manner. Death in the Clouds also features some of the most lavish scenery of any of the Poirot mysteries: aerial shots of English fields and the white cliffs of Dover, as well as elegant art deco interiors and the increasingly implausible hats worn by the female characters. It all culminates in a classic drawing room "whodunit" scene that Suchet handles so masterfully it never descends into cliché.
The DVD transfer contains some minor compression artifacts but on the whole has excellent picture and sound quality. Special features include biographies of David Suchet and Agatha Christie, Poirot trivia questions, a filmography of all the Poirot Mystery! episodes, and a link to the official Agatha Christie Web site. --Larisa Lomacky Moore
From the Back Cover
Having captured the imagination of millions of fans as the most-watched sleuth on the PBS Mystery! series and a stellar hit on A&E, Agatha Christie's Poirot proves once again why the dapper Belgian sleuth is indeed the world's greatest detective. Set amidst the glamour of 1930s Europe, Agatha Christie's Death in the Clouds stars David Suchet as the fastidious and brilliant investigator who shrewdly tidies up the most confounding of cases. In this classic mystery, Christie offers up murder in the skies as an inscrutable blackmailer is killed on board a plane full of likely suspects. Unfortunately for the culprit, a certain Belgian detective is also traveling on board. Also starring Philip Jackson as Chief Inspector Japp. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES AND EXTRAS INCLUDE interactive menus, scene indexing, biographies of Agatha Christie and David Suchet, production notes, Poirot trivia, Agatha Christie reading list, Agatha Christie Society information and link to the official Agatha Christie website.
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1. Acorn Media did not preserve the widescreen format. 2. I disagree with previous posts that this is David Suchet at his best. 3. You can tell that they spent more on this feature because of the plane shots and crowd shots (plus it's set in Paris), but the flow of it is slow, almost boring, compared to the book. 4. The acting is pretty horrible, especially in the supporting roles.
Don't be fooled, if you want it for your collection, look for it on A&E or better yet, just read the book.
It is these people, along with a young archeologist and detective novelist Daniel Clancy (Roger Heathcott), who share the plane with Poirot on his flight back to London. By the time they arrive, the older woman, now identified as the moneylender Marie Giselle (Eve Pearce), has been murdered, apparently with a poison dart. Needless to say, Poirot is embarrassed to have allowed a murder to take place 10 meters away while he slept. Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson) of Scotland Yard meets the plane at the airport to interview the passengers and search their luggage. The Inspector and Poirot return to Paris, each with his own theory, to solve the crime.
It's fun to get a look at the early years of commercial air travel, though I'm not sure how they would have had time to serve a meal and several cups of tea between Paris and London. It must have been slow going. Christie's parody of detective novelists in Daniel Clancy is also fun. He's an eccentric man who converses with his fictional detective and insists the character makes all the decisions in his books. It's a baffling case and among Poirot's most entertaining, though I'm not sure about the solution. According to the timeline presented in the film, it seems like the murderer was in two places at once. Perhaps there is a better explanation in the book.
The DVD (Acorn 2000): Bonus features include a brief text bio of David Suchet and list of selected film credits, a brief text bio of Agatha Christie, a list of Poirot books, plugs for The Agatha Christie Society and a Christie web site, a list of Poirot "Mystery!" episodes from Series 1-8, and 4 Poirot trivia questions without answers. No subtitles.
I watched this movie without reading the 1935 Dame Agatha Christie novel that it is based on. I'm glad I did this! Why? Because it forced me to really watch the movie in order to try and deduce who the murderer was.
As a brief synopsis, the murder takes place on a plane in flight and involves an insect (wasp) as well as a poison dart. Also on the plane is (you guessed it) the great sleuth himself, Hercule Poirot (David Suchet). The actual murder takes place "not 10 metres [or about 30 feet] away from him." As a result, Poirot has to "restore his reputation" by solving the crime. He is aided in his investigation by Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson). Eventually another person that was on the plane is killed but it appears to be a suicide.
One thing both Poirot and Japp are sure of is that the murder on the plane is not your "normal" murder. Poirot has trouble "sinking his teeth" into this case.
Who are the passengers and workers on the plane? There are nine altogether besides Poirot and they are as follows:
1. Ex-actress Lady (Cicely) Horbury (Cathryn Harrison)
2. Socialite and money lender Madame Giselle (Eve Pearce)
3. Archaeologist Jean Dupont (Guy Manning)
4. Crime Novelist Daniel Clancy (Roger Heathcott)
5. Stewardess Jane Grey (Sarah Woodward)
6. Steward Michael (John Bleasedale)
7. Dentist Norman Gale (Shawn Scott)
8. Maid to Cicely (Jenny Downham)
9. Friend to Cicely, Venetia Kerr (Amanda Royle)
Of the eleven actors above, Suchet's performance stands out. I feel he does a stellar job in his performance as Poirot. His interactions with Japp are sometimes comical. Another performance to look for is that of Cathryn Harrison as the now seemingly wealthy Lady Horbury.
The cinematography of this movie is visually stunning. This movie takes place in Paris and we are shown close-ups of major landmarks. The costumes are authentic looking. As well, the background music adds to each scene.
The DVD (where the movie is in full screen format) has four extras. Of these, I found three interesting: biographies of Suchet and Christie as well as the one entitled "Poirot Trivia."
Finally, the only problem I had with this movie was with the final scene where Poirot deduces who the killer is. If you've been keeping track there are now seven suspects. But in this final scene there are only five shown! There is a sixth person in this scene but that person was not even on the plane when the murder was committed. One of the missing suspects is briefly assumed to be innocent (no explanation is given as to why). The other missing suspect is not even mentioned! Thus, I found this final deduction scene somewhat disappointing.
In conclusion, this is a fun movie, even if you have read the novel!!
(1992; made for TV; 100 min; British drama; 10 scenes; color)
Most recent customer reviews
Very Nice, well done, the plot is wonderfull, the acting too.
Go Poirot !!!