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What is your favourite Agatha Christie adaptation? PART 2.

Here's the link to Part 1, which is now closed (reached 600 posts).

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 3005/05/2021

I was just about to make this thread, so happy to see someone else has taken the initiative. I was really enjoying our conversation on Part 1.

Anyway, I am moving steadily through the Poirot series still, and have recently finished off seasons 7, 8 and 9. Not too hard to do as the first two seasons only have two episodes each.

These two series come after a four year (I think) break, and you would think they would come back feeling refreshed, but actually, I found them to seem more like the series was running out of steam. I found every episode in this hard to watch in some way, which is really a shame because all four of them are from great novels, and I would argue at least three of them are classic novels. So what went wrong? Spoilers abound below.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was always going to be tough to do, but they could've made a much better job of it - amp up the friendship between Poirot and Dr Shepherd, try and keep Caroline as a character much closer to the novel version (who was basically a precursor to Miss Marple) so we don't have that stupid denouement.

Lord Edgware Dies is actually really disappointing, because that is a fantastic novel that deserves a good adaptation (afterwards I watched the 1934 version available on YouTube, but didn't love that one either, it didn't seem to take the text very seriously). It's a big problem getting Fiona Allen to play Carlotta. I always thought Tracey Ullman would've been a good choice. The impersonations weren't very convincing at all, why Jane would be captivated by them I have no idea.

Season 8 was slightly better. I don't mind Evil Under the Sun so much (I know people don't like Patrick Redfern in this because they are comparing him to Nicholas Clay and his bulging arse in the movie, but I thought he was ok). Murder in Mesopotamia could've been better too. Why, oh why didn't they shoot the original "face at the window" scene to make it actually creepy like in the book. I had a hard time believing anyone would be scared by that (except for wondering who it was who was putting the mask there, I guess). I like it when Hastings is in these, but it totally sidelines the nurse, who is a great character in her own right.

A lot of the acting was just ok too, nothing special. Usually one or two standouts an episode and other than that, kind of a cast of nobodies. How they convinced people they should come back after these is interesting. None of them were terrible, but none of them were very enjoyable either. The one point of interest I noticed was how they were upping the gore a bit in these, which really felt at odds with the am dram feel of them.

Then I got into season 9. And wow, I REALLY enjoyed this season. The change in tone and the filming style was very welcome, and I rushed through these four episodes very pleasurably. I have said all I have to say on the other thread about Death on the Nile and how I think it suffers in some ways (like a feeling the cast are rushing their lines etc), but it's decent enough. The other three episodes were excellent though. I think Sad Cypress might be my favourite, but I love that story. I don't love The Hollow as a novel, but the adaptation was really great.

I know the newer series has its pitfalls too, and in fact this season may be the last strong one we have, but I am so glad to have moved into this later, darker tone now, which I wasn't expecting when I started.

by Anonymousreply 105/02/2021

The one with Glenn Close and Gillian Anderson was campy fun

Also the one with Aiden Turner, Douglas Booth, and Toby Stephens because pretty is pretty.

I also like the two 80s films with Ustinov et. al.

And I like the Suchet Poirot series but mostly for the set designs. The British do better period television dramas than we do in the U.S. although premium cable shows do seem to go all out.

by Anonymousreply 205/02/2021

[quote]The one with Glenn Close and Gillian Anderson was campy fun

Crooked House. I watched that one recently and enjoyed it too. I like seeing the Christie's that don't fall into the usual Poirot or Marple series, they often have a very different feel to them.

by Anonymousreply 305/02/2021

Miss Marple: “A Murder is Announced” with Joan Hickson as Miss Marple. It’s such a fun, compelling mystery with great little subplots and incredible characters. The actors are all just perfectly cast and they’re the reason I keep watching it. It’s my go-to watch when I’m depressed or not feeling well. “A Body in the Library” from the same tv series is also really good.

by Anonymousreply 405/02/2021

"Hercule Poirot's Christmas" is such a cosy, season tale. Love watching it every December

by Anonymousreply 505/02/2021

I kind of like "Appointment with Death" (Suchet as Poirot), but the American accents (over-enunciated, drawn-out) can be irritating. Then you've got Elizabeth McGovern with her English accent: "White slave-ahs!"

by Anonymousreply 605/02/2021

R6 that's one of the most reviled adaptations as it veers so much from the source.

by Anonymousreply 705/02/2021

^and it veers so much from a really excellent source too, which is I think why it's so reviled.

by Anonymousreply 805/02/2021

I honestly don't know what they were thinking, the new plot was bonkers! Same with Marple's Sleeping Murder, made it almost unrecognisable

by Anonymousreply 905/03/2021

Agreed, R9. There are some Christies (particularly the later ones) where a little bit of a rewrite would help from novel to screen, but those two? Appointment with Death and Sleeping Murder are some of Christie's top stories (that also haven't been done to death) and really don't need much done to them. Two of my favourites, so I am particularly annoyed with what they did with them.

by Anonymousreply 1005/03/2021

Maybe I'll read "Appointment with Death."

Since this is a "new" thread, will throw out some recommendations (my faves, all Suchet / Poirot):

1. Hallowe'en Party.

2. Cat among the Pigeons.

3. Mrs. McGinty's Dead.

by Anonymousreply 1105/03/2021

The All-Black version of Ten Little Indians.

by Anonymousreply 1205/03/2021

Mrs McGinty's Dead was superb. Hallow'een Party really improved on the book and had good tension. My only complaint was that the gardener was meant to be an adonis in the novel, not so much in the movie.

by Anonymousreply 1305/03/2021

Wow, R13. The guy who played the gardener was great, but I can see how he was supposed to be an Adonis. (I haven't read the book, Halloween Party.)

The gardener in Cat among the Pigeons was an Adonis-type, though.

by Anonymousreply 1405/03/2021

Hickson. "Murder at the Vicarage."

Beyond adaptations, generally I'll trade all but five Poirots for "Gaudy Night" and Busman's Honeymoon."

by Anonymousreply 1505/03/2021

The American accents in the Poirot series are generally overdone by the British actors, R6. The Brit actors always play it louder and over the top. Big, inappropriate smiling and just dickish overbearing behavior. Classless and base in every interaction. More cursing too -- Elliott Gould roared goddamn a couple of times in The Mystery of the Blue Train).

I guess that's how they view Americans in general. I can't recall one sympathetic portrayal of someone from the U.S. -- not surprising given how often Poirot himself is dismissed as a mere "foreigner." I'm just glad the series was made long before cancel culture due to the casual racism and xenophobia. I was stunned to see a black woman in the above mentioned TV movie. Of course she turned out to be a woman who slept with rich white men for money.

by Anonymousreply 1605/03/2021

I watched the Ustinov Death on The Nile last night for the first time in years. Gorgeous costumes and lots of Egypt location shooting - not to mention the galaxy of stars! Particular highlights:

Mia Farrow doing a wide-eyed English waif and almost carrying off the accent

Pre-Downton Pre-Damehood Maggie Smith as a Coded Lesbian

Luminous Lois Chiles

by Anonymousreply 1705/03/2021

I just finished re-watching ALL of the Poirots (TV), all of the Marples (Hickson-McEwan-Mackenzie), the 1980s Tommy and Tuppence movies, the 2010's Partners In Crime, miscellaneous other adaptations (the Malkovich Poirot for one), and even some of the French adaptation (Les Petits Meurtres and the other series.) Still working on the rest of the short story Tommy/Tuppences from the '80s. (They look REALLY cheap.) I think I've seen nearly everything ... I'm completely caught up with "Grantchester," "Father Brown," and "Death in Paradise." I even finished all of "DCI Banks," "Miss Fisher" and "Inspector George Gently." Now I'm on to lesser shows like "Hetty Wainthropp Investigates" (although Hyacinth is delightful) and "Murdoch Mysteries" (Canadian, not British.) Any suggestions for other similar shows I might enjoy?

by Anonymousreply 1805/03/2021

[quote] The American accents in the Poirot series are generally overdone by the British actors, [R6].

On "After the Funeral," there's an Italian character and the Italian accent is so crappy. It's obvious that the actor was British. I've seen other bad accents (more Italians and a Russian or two). It's almost arrogant (on the part of the filmmaker) how bad these accents are.

by Anonymousreply 1905/03/2021

R18 How about Midsomer Murders, Inspector Morse and A Touch Of Frost?

by Anonymousreply 2005/03/2021

The ‘74 Murder on the Orient Express, I’ve seen it at least six times & I’m always mesmerized by it. Flawless cast, impeccable costumes, wonderful scenery. I don’t get why so many were turned off by Finney, he’s a revelation in the role, totally unrecognizable.

by Anonymousreply 2105/03/2021

I thought the actress playing Honoria in "Murder Is Easy" was too young for the role.

by Anonymousreply 2205/04/2021

In the ITV version she certainly was R22. There's a version from the 1980s with DL fave Olivia de Havilland.

The '74 MotOE is pretty decent, though not a favourite of mine. However that early scene at the train station as all the characters arrive and then the train pulls away to that amazing music - that's a fucking fantastic scene.

Death on the Nile is one I must've seen 10-12 times, and always enjoy it. Everything about it is perfect.

by Anonymousreply 2305/04/2021

The other 4 Ustinov films aren't nearly as quality as his first two. What a shame.

by Anonymousreply 2405/04/2021

Especially those made for TV ones that are set in the 80s. I really struggled with Murder in Three Acts. Dead Man's Folly was... ok... I guess. Probably only benefited from being set in the UK, unlike the other two.

Also, when they tried to go back to the "all star, set in the time of the novel" movie thing with Appointment with Death, it just wasn't done that well. It's kinda boring, that movie.

by Anonymousreply 2505/04/2021

r20 Thanks. I forgot to mention that I'd seen all of the "Midsomer Murders" already, but I haven't seen either of the other two. I will definitely give them a try.

by Anonymousreply 2605/04/2021

R25 I loved Murder is Easy, one of the 80s CBS flix, I think I saw it 20 times, it was great, though I wish they wouldn’t have cast an American as the lead. I can still hear Lesley Anne Down saying “DOCTOR Humblebee?”

by Anonymousreply 2705/04/2021

The all-Black Americanized version of Death on the Nile set in New York City, Dead N*gg* on da C Line.

by Anonymousreply 2805/04/2021

R27, I agree with you there. I have trouble with the Poirot 80s ones with Ustinov, but I actually quite enjoy some of the 80s ones like Murder is Easy, Sparkling Cyanide, and even The Man in the Brown Suit, with Stephanie Zimbalist, Edward Woodward, Tony Randall and where Rue McClanahan basically just plays Blanche on a cruise trying to solve a murder mystery (the actors are having a ball and it really shows and helps with the enjoyment).

by Anonymousreply 2905/05/2021

R29 I must watch MITBS, sounds like a hoot!

by Anonymousreply 3005/05/2021
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