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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Awesome Adaptations (65) Agatha Christie Poirot "Curtain"

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.

An Awesomely Tragic Adaptation
Title: Curtain: Poirot's Last Case
Adapted from: Curtain by Agatha Christie

It's difficult to have "awesome" anywhere near this adaptation because I'm so depressed and I can't imagine myself ever describing the way this episode made me feel as "awesome."  Yet, the adaptation itself is stellar and completely in keeping with the book, while also adding extra pathos in the fantastic way the leads captured this last adventure of Poirot and Hastings.

This is Hastings' story to tell once more, and because Poirot is now so ill he must be in a wheelchair, Hastings is also Poirot's eyes and ears.  And the actor who plays Hastings, Hugh Fraser, takes on the role like he never left.  Although Hastings is grieving for his wife who just passed away, he is ready to look after Poirot and protect his daughter who is staying at the guest house of Suspicious People.  While there are plenty of things to distract Hastings in his mission to help Poirot catch a murderer, he does his usual, ineffective best to get Poirot all the information he needs.  But in many ways this story is about human weakness and the lengths to which we go to protect our loved ones.  For the final hurrah, this episode was not a celebration, but a solemnization in keeping with the steadily faithful, sensitive, and moving approach of the novel.  Even though Poirot and Hastings are the best of friends, there are some sharp moments between them where their aggravation with each other seeps through and it just makes the intimacy of their friendship even more touching and real.  To add to the underlying melancholy (and by that, I mean also in addition to the fact that Hastings is grieving and Poirot is ill) is the very stark lighting and monochromatic cinematography of the whole film.  Even while I was happy at all the touching moments, there's just no escaping that this is a somber and serious story, with a life-changing decision at the end for Poirot.  Through my sorrow though, I was really impressed by the approach and the quality of the acting in this episode!

So spoiler alert if you haven't read the book! ---

Since this is truly Poirot's last case, the tragic part of this story is that Poirot dies, and I didn't think I could handle the emotion of seeing Poirot pass, and I was right.  I read this story when I was in high school, and it was strange how things would come back to me as I was reading - like all the tears when I finished the book.  While I think Agatha Christie wrote a powerful ending for her character, it just seems more depressing when a fictional character can't live on happily in ones mind - never aging or becoming frail - and I think that tragedy, that there is an ending for Poirot, makes all of his previous cases poignant because "they were good days" and now they are over.

This was a momentous episode, and gorgeously adapted and I am so grateful for all the wonderful adaptations of Poirot's stories that have been produced over the years.  I find with this final series, my interest in the show is revived and I look forward to re-watching the show and celebrating this great detective.  If you have yet to see this episode, prepare your heart and mind, because it is a gut-wrenching journey to the end.

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  1. Gah SO need to see this!!

  2. Prepare yourself though! It's so not an episode to go into lightly!