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Monday, October 28, 2013

Agatha Christie Poirot: The Big Four

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
When I was in high school I became majorly obsessed with Agatha Christie's mysteries - specifically the ones featuring Hercule Poirot.  And of all his mysteries The Big Four is my favorite.  It might be because I read it as a teenager because I know it is a bit cliched and over the top, but I still remember not being able to put it down because there was so much going on in it.  I even remember the class I was waiting for after lunch when I finally finished the book.  I think I found the format (a bunch of mysteries within a larger one) irresistible and the fact that Poirot and Captain Hastings are constantly in danger made this story so appealing to me.  So I was ecstatic when I heard they were finally filming this as a TV movie!

David Suchet has been playing Poirot since 1989.  And now they have finally gone through the Christie canon - with two more episodes airing after The Big Four to complete it.  Then David Suchet would have played Poirot in pretty much every single story.  It's an amazing achievement, and I'm so glad David Suchet will complete the oeuvre since he is the definitive Poirot.  Unfortunately not all the main characters from the books has appeared consistently in the adaptations.  Hastings was there in the beginning, but I suppose the actor moved on, and the role he plays in the mysteries has been mostly replaced by other characters in the subsequent adaptations.  And Hastings is one of my very favorite characters.  He's not the brightest, but his good old English bonhomie always won me over.  And he was a perfect foil to Poirot.  Their close friendship was also a lovely part of every mystery they investigated together.  But finally Hastings is in another Poirot adaptation with "The Big Four"!  So I was determined to watch this as soon as possible!!

So all the above was just prelude to my review of the show!  If you really don't want to know anything about how they adapted the story, you should probably stop here.  I don't get too spoilery but there are quite a few changes made in this adaptation and I do touch on that.

To create more of a dramatic opening the adaptation begins with Poirot's funeral and a reunion of his close friends.  Although it is odd that if this is really his funeral, wouldn't Ariadne Oliver have shown up?  But I didn't mind that they moved that part of the book to the beginning.  What I did mind was the lack of Captain Hastings.  It makes sense because he's been away for so long, but I really wanted to see him team up with Poirot in this!!  At least maybe, one little mystery?  But Japp did a good job as Poirot's right-hand man and of course the mysteries are just as intriguing.  There are some of the mysteries I missed, and the way things were moved around made this story more mystifying than I would have thought since I had read the book.  The real reason why it was so mystifying became clearer in the end, when it was revealed just how much was changed from the original novel.  The ending had a completely different spin and outcome to the book which so disappointed me!  I was hoping to see Achille and the face off in the mountains!  What I got was considerably different and not quite as believable to me.  It was a very elaborate scheme for a madman.  Oh well.

But I did enjoy the episode - the little puzzles of mysteries were great to see portrayed on screen at last.  And the final scene where Poirot and Hastings were reunited almost, almost made up for the fact that Hastings got such little screen time.  And also that scene that showed Hasting's drive to serve justice was so great to see.  I realize how much I miss mon ami Hastings.  I have to say too, that for such a different interpretation of the novel, this adaptation was really clever.  It can't have been easy to twist the events of the story to fit a new solution.  While this is not really the story I love, I appreciate it as an adaptation and I was glad to see so many wonderful characters come back.

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6 comments:

  1. I love that TV show too. I was obsessed with her novels and I didn't calm down until I've found them all. David was perfect choice for Poirot.


    Glass @ Way Too Hot Books

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    1. Oh I'm glad to know you're a fan! I love David so much as Poirot! I don't think anyone else can play him ever! :) I went through that phase too where I had to find all her books. :)

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  2. I'll have to check this out, I think it's neat that it opened with Poirot's funeral, and I've been meaning to check out more Poirot mysteries (I love Murder on the Orient Express). Great post!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

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    1. It was a good choice I think! And David Suchet's take on "Murder on the Orient Express" was so good! You should check out that episode - it's really dark.

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  3. Sounds great!! I actually just read Hallowe'en Party from Christie; my review will be up Thursday of course. LOL

    I don't think I've seen any of the shows/films of the books though.

    -Lauren

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    1. Oh I'm looking forward to your review! I don't remember the book as much but I enjoyed the adaptation of it, so I hope your review will jog my memory. It's a great book to post on for Halloween! :)

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