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Blu-ray Review: Agatha Christie’s Poirot – The Early Cases Collection

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For fans of David Suchet’s classic interpretation of Agatha Christie’s most famous sleuth Hercule Poirot, Acorn Media has put together a real treat, Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Early Cases. This recently released collection compiles the first six series of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, remastered and in their original U.K. broadcast order. The collection is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.

David Suchet has created the ultimate version of the Christie’s little Belgian detective. Seen in the U.S. on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery! and the A&E network, Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Suchet’s interpretation has been a long-time favorite of all lovers of British mystery since its debut in 1989. Suchet is realizing his dream of playing in all of Christie’s Poirot mysteries – he is currently filming the final book featuring Poirot, Curtain.

[Hercule Poirot and Co., L-R: Inspector Japp, Poirot, Miss Lemon, Captain Hastings.]

The mysteries included in Agatha Christie’s Poirot, The Early Cases Collection have all been released on DVD and Blu-ray previously. The advantage to this collection, if one hasn’t already purchased separate series, is having all of your favorite Poirot episodes in one set, and especially on Blu-ray, which features an impeccable transfer from the original 16mm-filmed series.

The Blu-ray includes 13 discs with SDH subtitles available. The aspect ratio is 1.33:1 with a video resolution of 1080p/4.3 full screen. The mysteries simply look fantastic on a large-scale high definition television screen, with colors and blacks clear and sharp and details like the paisley on Poirot’s cravat and his impeccably waxed mustache popping. Discs for Series 1 and 2 are in 2.0 Dolby Digital sound and Series 3-6 are in 2.0 Stereo PCM, with dialogue crisp and clear. The musical score also sounds excellent. There are no extras, apart from some previews for other Acorn Media mystery titles. The 45 mysteries included in the set are:

Series 1, Disc 1 (Approximate running time 262 minutes):
“The Adventure of the Clapham Cook,” “Murder in the Mews,” “The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly,” “Four and Twenty Blackbirds,” “The Third Floor Flat.”

Series 1, Disc 2 (Approximate running time 257 minutes):
“Triangle at Rhodes,” “Problem at Sea,” “The Incredible Theft,” “The King of Clubs,” “The Dream.”

Series 2, Disc 1 (Approximate running time 260 minutes):
“Peril at End House,” “The Veiled Lady,” “The Lost Mine,” “The Cornish Mystery.”

Series 2, Disc 2 (Approximate running time 263 minutes):
“The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim,” “Double Sin,” “The Adventure of the Cheap Flat,” “The Kidnapped Prime Minister,” “The Adventure of the Western Star.”

Series 3, Disc 1 (Approximate running time 213 minutes):
“The Mysterious Affair at Styles,” “How Does Your Garden Grow?,” “The Million Dollar Bond Robbery.”

[Poirot and his “little grey cells” are more than a match for any criminal.]

Series 3, Disc 2 (Approximate running time 210 minutes):

“The Plymouth Express,” “Wasps’ Nest,” “The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor,” “The Double Clue.”

Series 3, Disc 3 (Approximate running time 205 minutes):
“The Mystery of the Spanish Chest,” “The Theft of the Royal Ruby,” “The Affair at the Victory Ball,” “The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge.”

Series 4, Disc 1 (Approximate running time 213 minutes):
“The ABC Murders,” “Death in the Clouds.”

Series 4, Disc 2 (Approximate running time 106 minutes):
“One, Two, Buckle My Shoe.”

Series 5, Disc 1 (Approximate running time 204 minutes):
“The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb,” “The Underdog,” “Yellow Iris,” “The Case of the Missing Will.”

Series 5, Disc 2 (Approximate running time 203 minutes):
“The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman,” “The Chocolate Box,” “Dead Man’s Mirror,” “Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan.”

Series 6, Disc 1 (Approximate running time 124 minutes):
“Hercule Poirot’s Christmas,” “Hickory Dickory Dock.”

Series 6, Disc 2 (Approximate running time 124 minutes):
“Murder on the Links,” “Dumb Witness.”

Poirot is joined on many of these cases by his faithful companions Captain Arthur Hastings (Hugh Fraser), Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson) and his secretary and general factotum Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran.) The 1930s Art Deco sets and costumes look fantastic on Blu-ray. As do some of the wonderful filming locations, which include period architecture and furnishings. Many of the mysteries take Poirot and the viewer out of his fabulously furnished London flat to the English countryside, as well as overseas to Paris and more exotic locales, like Egypt and the island of Rhodes.

[Murder follows Poirot on holiday in Rhodes.]

Viewers will also recognize many of their favorite actors in guest appearances, including Caprica’s Polly Walker (“Peril at End House”), The Princess Diaries’ Caroline Goodall (“The Adventure of the Western Star”), The Tudors‘ Jeremy Northam (“Dead Man’s Mirror”), Doctor Who’s Christopher Eccleston (“One, Two, Buckle My Shoe”), and Homeland’s Damian Lewis (“Hickory Dickory Dock”). Of the early cases included in the set eight are feature-length movies and 38 are hour-long episodes.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot is still impressive to watch, with its intricate puzzles, attention to period detail, and impeccable casting. To now have all 45 of Poirot’s early cases from the first six seasons of the series available on Blu-ray is a dream come true for fans of British television and Christie alike. Agatha Christie’s Poirot, The Early Cases Collection has come out just in time for the holidays, and Christie and Suchet fans will certainly enjoy watching their favorite television detective in glorious Blu-ray.

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