I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Awesome Adaptations (64) The Labours of Hercules

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
This meme celebrates an awesome adaptation related to a weekly category. Any format of adaptation (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. Awesome Adaptations was created by Alisa Selene at PictureMeReading.

My choice!
Title: The Labours of Hercules
Adapted from: The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie

As the penultimate episode of the last season of Agatha Christie's Poirot, I was eagerly waiting for this episode based on a book that is basically 12 short stories.  I was a little nervous about how they would adapt this book, but my goodness, what an impressive feat!  They didn't include every "labour" (in the book Poirot is solving cases that bear some tenuous connection to one of the labours of Hercules) but managed to incorporate five of the stories into one complex mystery that revolves around an isolated hotel in Switzerland and a dangerous thief and murderer who goes by the name Marrascaud.

With the initial scenes, where Poirot fails to save a girl he promised would be safe from Marrascaud, we see Poirot is terribly crushed by this failure and when an opportunity presents itself for him to reunite a man with a woman he loved and thought he had lost, Poirot takes it pro bono.  Already I'm in love with this adaptation for showing Poirot's boundless humanity in just a few scenes - in his guilt over not being able to save this girl, and in his attempt to help a very broken man.

Once Poirot gets to Switzerland where he thinks he can find this girl, the hotel is cut off from civilization by an avalanche and things get super complicated, mysterious and actually kind of scary.  It's been awhile since an episode of Poirot could unnerve me but there's this moment when Gustave the lieutenant asks Poirot fearfully if he thinks Marrascaud would climb the mountain to the hotel and Poirot doesn't think so.  And after Gustave leaves, Poirot intones mournfully, "He is already here."  WHAT!!!  The adaptor of this just made this episode about a group of people trapped in a hotel with a murderer among them.  Genius.

The episode has a very interesting, fluid way of moving through the setting to tell the story - I felt like the directing of this was especially striking and with the gorgeous backdrop of snowy alps and an opulent hotel, this was a beautiful episode to watch.  I have to say there are a few moments when I was not completely fooled by what was going on, and this episode does take quite a few liberties with the original book, but I'm going to sweep all those unimportant details under the rug because David Suchet as Poirot is absolutely magnificent in this, the story is unrelenting in it's unsettling atmosphere, and the different mysteries used worked so well together.  There is just one more episode of this series left and it's a big one (I'm a bound to blog about it, as it's of the very last Poirot novel ever published) but I am already prepared to think this episode was the best Poirot adaptation of this season!

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  1. Love Poirot! Love Masterpiece! In fact.. I am watching Paradise right now!

    1. I have not seen Paradise but I've heard such good things about it! I might have to marathon it if they have the show on Netflix! :)

  2. I'm glad to hear that this one turned out well - like you, I thought it might be very difficult to realize on screen. Now I just need to catch up on the last few Poirots!

    1. Yes, I am generally impressed by how they handled all of the stories (just watched Curtain last night!) and I look forward to reading your thoughts on them!