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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Agatha Christie's Poirot (1989)


            My brother and sister-in-law are both fans of PBS's Poirot, and since I spent the weekend in New Hampshire with them this spring break, we watched several episodes starring Agatha Christie's mustached Belgian detective.
            The charming Mr. David Suchet plays Hercule Poirot who, judging from his accent, I thought was from French from France rather than French from Belgium. French-Belgian Google promptly corrected me.

        So, yes, Poirot is Belgian, but the actor playing him is from London. And although the French will follow you around from France to Canada (my favorite neighbor) and everywhere else, Suchet is English. Not French-English.
            For the sake of this review, I've watched the first episode of the entire series on my own. This one is called the Adventures of Clapham Cook, and Christie wrote it somewhere between 1923 and 1935. The story is actually from a series called Poirot's Early Cases, and

And now, for the List of Five...

1. Life Partners
            Just as Sherlock has Holmes, Poirot has Captain Hastings. I'm not even sure this counts as a bromance as much as a partnership, and I certainly wouldn't ship them like I do the loverboys in Sherlock. This is almost solely because Poirot and Hastings are not eye-candy. In fact, at their age, they have probably already developed a homonormative relationship.

2. Likeability

            Poirot is the clever man with a mustache and accent who makes deductions and explains important case points to Hastings, the Audience Substitute. Poirot is charming, eccentric, exotically foreign, intelligent, opinionated, and funny, while Hastings is an enjoyable representative of the "average English bloke." In this case, that means reasonable, pleasant, and interested. Bottom line: I'd hire Poirot and his sidekick to solve MY mystery, but literally.

            On Hastings v. Poirot
            A jerky train station employee: "I'm talking to the engineer, not the oil rag."
            But we would never say that about Hastings, because we <3 him.

3. Back to the Belgium v. French Issue
            The episode establishes that Poirot is Belgian.
            Policeman: Who are you?
            Poirot: I am Hercule Poirot. Who are you?
            Policeman: Sod (Sergeant? Mr. Sod?), there's some French gent at the door.
            Poirot: No, no, no, no, no, I am not some French gent. I am some Belgian gent.
            He and French-Belgian Google share an attitude problem regarding this. As if we can all tell exactly where your French accent comes from. *sigh*

4. Time Period
            As I wrote before, Christie wrote this story somewhere between 1923 and 1935, but descriptions of the TV show say 1930s. I actually found it difficult to grab screencaps because of the difference in video quality (I'm so used to high quality now that I don't know when the "best" shot is to show off the costumes. It all looked fuzzy to me.)


5. My Overall Impression
            I've never been a big lover of mysteries, although I do consume the popular products of this genre (the recent Sherlock Holmes craze in movies and TV, a Miss Marble novel here and there, etc.) As far as mysteries go, Agatha Christie's Poirot is pretty good. It's dated with regards to filming quality (simply because of advances in technology,) but the fashion and makeup are 1930s-based. It's unlike many other films or TV shows where you can usually tell when a film was made solely from the makeup and hair (1940s faux-historical costumes, 1960s makeup, 1980s shoulder pads on dresses that did not have them.) 
           I enjoyed it, and although I'm not likely to watch it very often, it's definitely a safe bet with family members. My brother, sister-in-law, and my mother all love Poirot, and it won't make an evening at home uncomfortable with any slippage of anything we don't want to see with family members present.

** If you would like to see me review anything in particular, please leave the title and year below in the comments.

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