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Showing 1-10 of 89 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 107 reviews
on March 25, 2006
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!
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on February 17, 2015
I usually dislike film adaptations of books because so often there are unnecessary, destructive and just plain silly changes that alter the tone, fabric and nature of the story. Sadly, the otherwise excellent Poirot series has fallen victim to frivolous and often ruinous changes.

The Mystery of the Blue Train: A simply awful story, Christie herself hated it and considered it her worst story. The film adaptation is a morass of ill-timed comedy and overplayed characters (and hairdos...poor Lenox). Elliot Gould overacts as always and the not-so-subtle changes to the story (Lady Tamplin & co meeting Katherine on the train); the ridiculous juxtaposition of the party at the villa with the tragedy) made for a terrible storytelling. Also the casting of Knighton and Mason was horribly off -- the two actors, fine in other roles, were all wrong for the parts.

After The Funeral made several unnecessary changes and some that actually benefited the story.. (Cora's name was Lansconet, not Gallacio. Her husband was dead, not alive and, far from being a world famous art appraiser, Lansconet had been a 3rd rate artist). Characters were eliminated or condensed and Mrs. Leo Abernathy was sullied in this version, creating drama for her son George, and a side mystery involving missing papers and a substitute will. Cousin Susan is unmarried in this version, which imho improved the story.

Despite these many changes, this production is well acted, beautifully filmed and turned out very well. In particular, standout performances by Lucy Punch and a chilling turn by the brilliant Monica Dolan as Miss Gilchrist.

There has been an unfortunate penchant for the producers of this series to inject homosexual subplots, undertones and relationships where none was originally conceived, included or written by the author. The only story I can think of where a homosexual relationship was even implied was in A Murder Is Announced" (Murgatroid and Hinchfliffe). Unfortunately this trend continues in this series with the thoroughly butchered "Cards on the Table" -- a story that was so mangled in film as to be unrecognizable. Mrs. Lorrimer was not killed! This change caused the omission of one of Poirot's best denouements! Rhoda and Anne's roles are completely reversed... why? The very motivation for the murders ... changed! Why? No reason. This is a complete pass.

Taken at the Flood, a horrible story to begin with, was not much improved by film. Christie was a hopeless romantic, but absolutely nothing on earth could make me believe that anyone would find David attractive in the least, let alone, Lynne. Overall, the story was forgettable; the abortion bit was gratuitous and unnecessary; why can't filmmakers just tell the story as written? In addition, the title, taken from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, refers to how sometimes, one man's tragedy is another's opportunity. The authors of this film version either missed that, ignored it or just decided to discard this main theme and change things so that the antagonist makes their own fortune. NOT. Probably they should have changed the title as well, because as told on film, the title was incongruent, but not as the author intended.

Overall I give this set a C- and such a high rating only because of the authentic sets and costumes.
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The numbers of reviews submitted for the various packages of David Suchet's portrayal of Agatha Christie's beloved Belgian detective Hercules Poirot is testament enough as to its popularity, with many going into considerable detail about each episode covered.

I'm not about to clog up the reviews with more of the same. If you know who Poirot is there's no need, and if you don't, many of these other great reviews will fill you in nicely. I simply wish to say that each meticulously portrays the time period (1920s to 1940s before the series reaches its end) as only British productions can, and with actors who do not overplay their roles in sticking as closely as possible to Agatha Christie's books.

As some have noted, the original episodes have more of an Art Deco and often brighter and less-brooding look to them with the semi-regular characters of his aide, Captain Arthur Hastings (Hugh Fraser), his secretary Miss Felicity Lemon (Pauline Moran), and Scotland Yard Chief Inspector James Harold Japp (Philip Jackson), each of whom more or less faded from Christie's books after entering the mid- to late-1930s.

These later episodes, some of which were produced by the A&E Network but still stuck flawlessly to the period in appearance, began to take on a darker side in their storylines (as did her books), with the only recurring characters being George, his valet, and detective fiction writer Ariadne Oliver (played by the brilliant actress Zoë Wannamaker).

The only episodes not yet available on DVD are those of the final season, which were filmed the past year - Elephants Can Remember, The Big Four, The Labours Of Hercules, Dead Man's Folly, and Curtain. The last, which brings our favourite detective, now wheelchair-ridden, back to Styles (now a retirement residence), but where it all began, also sees his death.

I have them all to date, and can't wait for these to be broadcast and then finally made available on DVD.
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on August 26, 2007
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.
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on July 30, 2013
These are good mysteries on their own, however the book plots were obviously changed with the sole purpose to accommodate modern politics (without giving any thought to the target audience or writer of the stories.) I would like to give it 5 stars, but I can't when the screenplay has deviated so far from the original plot.

Modern politics should have no place in period work, period. If the entertainment industry wants to be respected or taken seriously as a social medium, it should first respect and take others seriously - especially the authors' work they seek to recreate.
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on November 3, 2009
Both The Mystery of the Blue Train and Cards on the Table were too complex,filled with side issues that in no way added to
the stories. The implied (and implicit) homosexual implications, and tne change in having the explorer more interested in the weak, fearful not very intelligent girl caused the entire thing to be unfocused and a little like a mixed cocktail created with every left over drink one finds in the bar And why is Rhoda a sociopathic sadist?. I give the actors credit for attempting to overcome this mess. Zoe Wanamaker is particularly good. More acerbic & interesting than te original Mrs. Oliver. Agatha Christie's plots are really quite good. Why not let them alone? If anything, sometimes there are too many characters to fit into anything but a 120 min. film, so cleaning up rather than adding more nonessential stuff would seem more fitting. As would adding more richness & reality to stereotypical characters (the colonial, the maid, the effete collector, the ingenue, etc). The Mystery of the Blue Train was not only disappointing, but not memorable. In fact, I can barely remember it.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon November 25, 2008
I have all the David Suchet Poirot mysteries, including this set, and I like them all. But the stories in this set are not as good as the earlier shows. For one thing, the absence of Miss Lemon and the redoubtable Hastings is sorely felt. The three of them worked so well together, and Hasting's bumbling brought an excellent touch of comedy to the show. The stories in this set are well done and excellently acted. But they are darker in general. There is little humor or lightness. Now, that can be just what some people would rather watch. These stories spend little time on the character interactions and foiables of Poirot and his cohorts. There are just the stories - a couple of them quite stark. As I said, I like them all, and I'm still rating this four-stars. But the flavor is a little different from earlier Suchet Poitot's.

Happy Reader
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on June 11, 2014
other than Miss Marple, Poirot takes the prize
many of Christies Miss Marple books were rewritten per the publisher into Poirot books, because of his popularity
David Suchet is the best modern Poirot and portrays the character with excellence
Peter Ustinov the best "overweight comic" Poirot, and
Albert Finny the best first Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express - along with the rest of the prestigious cast
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on July 20, 2008
The A&E Poirot series is very different from the earlier, more light-hearted series that most Poirot fans are familiar with. It lacks the light-hearted playfulness of the earlier series. It is MUCH more melodramatic - much darker in plot, music, photography, and mood. None of Poirot's previous friends appear - the isolation of old age? All these things are enough to put off some viewers (my wife included). The only thing that hasn't changed much is Poirot himself - Suchet does a great job as usual. I did enjoy the intellectual challenge of these films - I often had to take notes in order to keep all the names and relationships straight! But the charm has gone. Four stars is about right, I think.
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on September 20, 2014
Everyone by now knows about the Suchet Poirots. They are fine but I still prefer Joan Hickson's Miss Marple. Not Mr. Suchet's shortcoming - I've never been 100% crazy about Christie's creation of the arrogant, narcissistic, moustache-plastered Poirot.
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