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A&E Home Video presents
Agatha Christie's Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection (2005)

"I am never wrong."
- Hercule Poirot (David Suchet)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer  
Published: June 01, 2006

Stars: David Suchet
Other Stars: Elliott Gould, Jenny Agutter, Geraldine James, Robert Bathurst, Zoë Wanamaker, Alexander Siddig, David Westhead, Lindsay Duncan
Director: Hettie MacDonald, Andy Wilson, Maurice Phillips, Sarah Harding

MPAA Rating: PG for (some mature themes)
Run Time: 05h:57m:09s
Release Date: May 30, 2006
UPC: 733961752106
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A AA-A- D+

DVD Review

When it comes to mystery authors, Agathie Christie, with an estimated two billion copies of her novels in print worldwide, is not only the undisputed queen of the genre, but also the most popular author in history. Belgian detective and former police inspector Hercule Poirot made his debut in Christie's first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) and was featured in 33 novels and 54 short stories. But the author would died before the man who would become synonymous with the character, David Suchet, would take up the role in the television series launched in 1989.

Suchet is in top form as he returns to his trademark role as the fastidious, ever-observant sleuth, whose presence can't help but wind up with people dead. His reliance on his "little grey cells" invariably roots out the killer, taking every detail, no matter how seemingly trivial, into account. The Classic Crimes Collection brings together the four 2005 productions that make up the 12th season: The Mystery of the Blue Train, Cards on the Table, After the Funeral, and Taken at the Flood. Each is an exquisite work, expertly executed and true to form, weaving a complex story amid the myriad of possible suspects, with Poirot there to make sense of it all. Fans of the series will not be disappointed by the high production values, which continue to feature exquisite settings, and period detail that is a feast for the eyes.

In The Mystery of the Blue Train Poirot learns that Rufus van Aldin (Elliott Gould) is trying to buy off Derek Kettering (James D'Arcy), the scoundrel of a man who has married his daughter, Ruth (Jaime Murray), who he also learns is having an affair with card shark Count de la Roche (Oliver Milburn). When Ruth is murdered on the train to the French Riviera, and the exquisite ruby her father had given her goes missing, Poirot must examine the clues and find the perpetrator.

Although everyone believes the cause was accidental, Clara Gallaccio (Monica Dolan), the sister of the recently deceased Richard Abernathie, declares that she believes her brother was murdered. Poirot comes in to investigate the dysfunctional Abernethie family, only to have a wrench thrown into the proceedings—Cora too winds up dead. It is up to Poirot to wade through the evidence to solve the mystery that develops After the Funeral.

Poirot is invited to a dinner and bridge party by the rich and mysterious Mr. Shaitan (Alexander Siddig), who suggests that among his guests are those who have gotten away with murder. When the host himself winds up dead, it is up to the detective and three of his peers to uncover which of the other guests is guilty in Cards on the Table.

The past returns in Taken at the Flood where the Cloade family is embroiled in intrigue. Rosaleen Cloade (Eva Birthistle) became the heiress of the family fortune when her second husband George was killed in the London Blitz, but now the rest of the family is trying to reclaim the inheritance when rumors that Rosaleen's first husband may not be dead. Leave it to Poirot to get to the bottom of the matter.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: Image quality is very good throughout, with rich colors, and solid black levels. There are no source defects to speak of, although there is an occasional rolling appearance in the transfer. The editing between sequences is often abrupt, but I can't say with certainty whether this is original or not.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Stereo audio is well presented, with a mix that balances between the well suited score and easily understood dialogue. One point to note is that the audio has been edited to remove any religious profanity.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Scene Access with 48 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Packaging: Thinpak
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Short biographies for Agatha Christie (misspelled Crhistie in the menus) and David Suchet are included on each disc along with a bio and listing of stories featuring the Hercule Poirot character.

Each feature has 12 chapter stops, accessable from a submenu.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Lush productions, and Christie's unparalleled stories make for highly enjoyable watching in four more mind bending mysteries helmed by David Suchet in his perfect characterization of Hercule Poirot.


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