Thursday, 14 November 2013

Agatha Christie's Poirot: Curtain, Poirot's Last Case - ITV review (no spoilers)

Agatha Christie's Poirot came to an end last night with Curtain: Poirot's Last Case, and we were treated to a suitably dark production of Kevin Elyot's screenplay. I don't want to include any spoilers at all in this particular review, but suffice to say that David Suchet's performance as the great detective was one of his very best. What a brilliant actor he is, and how wonderfully he has interpreted Poirot, transforming him from a collection of unlikely idiosyncracies into a character we actually care about , and not just because of his little grey cells. I am full of admiration.

Curtain, as most people know, was written when Christie was at the height of her powers, even though it was not published until the Seventies. I read it shortly after it was published, and I thought then - and I still think - that it is one of her finest detective novels. This is not a view universally shared, I must admit, but some of the ideas in the book strike me as breathtaking. I think the culprit's modus operandi is absolutely fascinating, while the locked room scenario and the final startling revelation are classic devices.

It can't have been easy to adapt such an unorthodox story, but Kevn Elyot made an extremely good job of it. He dispensed with the detail of the explanation that Poirot gives, early in the book, for his decision to return to Styles Court, and some viewers may, I suppose, have found this one of the more perplexing stories in the series,but I felt Elyot struck a very good balance between giving clues and not giving the game away.

The cast as a whole was very good, with Hugh Fraser giving of his best as Hastings, and Philip Glenister, an actor of great versatility, playing a part as unlike Gene Hunt as could be imagined. The series has provided us with first class entertainment for a quarter of a century, and I've enjoyed it all the way.



8 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - It's very good to hear that this adaptation was so well done. And I couldn't agree more that Suchet has done a marvellous job at interpreting Poirot. To me, he is Poirot, really. I'm looking forward to this one being available where I live. Soon.

Clothes In Books said...

I enjoyed it very much, though found it dark and sad. It was unusually faithful to the original compared with many of the recent adaptations. I was watching with family, and had to keep adding explanations, bits that I knew from the book, it wasn't all crystal clear to them.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

I am looking forward to catching up with this over the weekend and glad to see Fraser get hiven his due as I don't think his Hastings gets recognised enough. Elyot's work can be incredibly impressive (his adaptation of FIVE LITTLE PIGS was exemplary I thought) but I also found some of his MARPLE scripts far too camp - glad that this played things straight (as it were). Really looking forward to it now - I do remember being really shocked when I first read it circa 1980 and look forward to seeing how it comes across now

Christine said...

Completely agree with you, Martin. A brilliantly audacious plot and a fine adaptation. I loved it and thought Hugh Frazer's performance was pitch perfect and of course David Suchet was magnificent.

Patrick said...

I liked this one a lot, but the lighting was so dark and the colours so monochromatic it was hard to tell what exactly was going on at times. I also think that the episode's quick-fire plotting (not so much explaining) make this an adaptation that might not be fully understood by people who haven't read the book.

Michael Walters said...

I thought it was a splendid adaptation, and a fitting finale for Suchet's Poirot. And I fully agree with you about the book which, in its darkest moments, offers a perfect response to anyone who thinks that Christie is 'cosy'.

Martin Edwards said...

Very good comments - my thanks to you all. Mike, good to hear from you again - trust all is well.

Sarah said...

As Moira says, I found it sad too. I'd sort of given up watching the Poirot series. The tinkering of the plots (and I'm not much of a purist) was just too much. However I sayt down on Wednesday and watched the programme engrossed. It captured the essence of the book, which to be honest I haven't read for a long time.