Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 26, 2018


The Perfect Poirot: David Suchet
HALLOWE'EN PARTY (2011). Director: Charlie Palmer. (This is episode 2 of season 12 of Agatha Christie's Poirot.)

Mystery writer Ariadne Oliver (Zoe Wanamaker of Mrs. McGinty's Dead) contacts her friend, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (David Suchet), when a murder occurs in a village where she is visiting. The victim is a young girl who was drowned in a tub meant for the bobbing of apples at a Halloween party. Shortly before she was killed, the child, Joyce (Macy Nyman), was telling people that she had once witnessed a murder. Poirot investigates any past occurrences and accidents that may have been homicides, and uncovers a number of village secrets. Along with Ariadne, Poirot is a guest of widowed Judith Butler (Amelia Bullmore), who has a daughter named Miranda (Mary Higgins). Joyce's brother, Leopold (Richard Breislin) confides that he never much liked his sister. Other characters include Rowena Drake (Deborah Findlay), whose home was the sight of the Halloween party; Michael Garfield (Julian Rhind-Tutt), who designs fabulous gardens for wealthy clients; the town gossip Miss Whittaker (Fenella Woolgar); and others. David Suchet is simply superb as Poirot, the only actor to ever completely capture the character as Christie describes him. All of the performances are good (although Wanamaker seems bored through much of the telefilm and doesn't remind one at all of Christie's character), but Findlay and Rhind-Tutt are especially notable. This adaptation makes it explicit that a certain character is a sympathetically-drawn lesbian. This is one of the rare occasions when a Christie adaptation (written by Mark Gatiss) may be even better than the original novel. Christian Henson's score is suitably eerie and effective.

Verdict: Clever, suspenseful, and very well-acted. ***.


angelman66 said...

Where was I in 2011, and why wasn't I tuned in to PBS?
These Agatha Christies all look marvelous, I know my mom loved the Miss Marples, too.

William said...

Me, too. And my mother loved Christie as well. When she was old and her memory was not so good she would look on the bright side and think "Well, at least I don't remember who the murderer is," LOL!