Based on the Agatha Christie, novel, Murder on the Orient Express premieres Sunday, July 11, 2010 at 9pm ET/PT on PBS *** 3 stars
by Gabrielle PanteraHOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 7/11/2010 – “When I was asked to play Poirot, the Agatha Christie estate made the point that she wrote a character who was far more full-dimensional than we had seen up to that time on the screen,” says Murder on the Orient Express star David Suchet who plays the role of detective Hercule Poirot.
Detective Hercule Poirot is in Istanbul when he’s called back to London for a case. The fastest way: the Orient Express. Samuel Ratchett, an American passenger on the Orient Express with lots of money and a bad attitude, asks Poirot for help. After the train becomes stuck in snow, Ratchett is found dead. Everyone on the train is a suspect. Who did it?
“In books like Murder on the Orient Express, there are sections that point to a very perturbed inner life,” says Suchet. “This side of him was totally ignored in the 1974 Sidney Lumet film of Murder on the Orient Express.”
Poirot in the Agatha Christie novels is likable and a bit comical in character. For the TV movies, Poirot is more serious and not as likable. In Murder on the Orient Express, Poirot stands by calmly as a vicious mob kills a women accused of adultery. When another bystander asks why he did nothing, he says it can be disturbing to witness justice. Poirot is surprisingly indifferent to local injustice in Istanbul for a man devoted to solving crimes. However, as always, Poirot watches and deduces from what he sees to try to solve a mystery.
Suchet has a 21-year career playing Hercule Poirot, He finds the newer adaptations of Poirot different yet the same from the ones he did in the 1980s. “Now, they are all very high-quality productions made like big movies,” says Suchet. “Apart from the fact that I’m getting older, which I can’t help, Poirot doesn’t change much, just as the man that Christie wrote about hardly changes. He does get lonelier as he gets older, which we are beginning to bring out in the films.”
Agatha Christie wrote more then forty novels featuring Poirot. Her first detective novel in the Poirot series was The Mysterious Affair at Styles that introduced Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Murder on the Orient Express features David Suchet as Hercule Poirot and stars Eileen Atkins (Cranford), Toby Jones (The Old Curiosity Shop), Barbara Hershey, Hugh Bonneville (Miss Austen Regrets), and David Morrissey (Sense and Sensibility).
When not on television as Poirot, Suchet appears in other roles or in theater, such the Arthur Miller play All My Sons in London’s West End. Thankfully, without the fake Poirot mustache.
David Suchet was Poirot in the UK television series from 1989 to 1991. He’s returned to star in Hercule Poirot: Series X:
- David Suchet on the Orient Express, a documentary about the meticulously restored modern version of the Orient Express.
- Murder on the Orient Express, Sunday, July 11 at 9pm. Poirot must solve the murder of a fellow passenger aboard the Calais-bound Orient Express.
- Third Girl, Sunday, July 18 at 9pm. Troubled heiress Norma Restarick (Jemima Rooper, Lost in Austen) calls on Poirot to confess that she might have committed a murder.
- Appointment with Death, Sunday, July 25 at 9pm. An obsessed archaeologist (Tim Curry, Rocky Horror Picture Show) searching for the head of John the Baptist has a more modern murder on his hands.
Other actors have portrayed Poirot. Peter Ustinov played Poirot in Death on the Nile (1978), Evil under the Sun (1982), and Appointment with Death (1988). Ian Holm as Poirot investigated his own murder in Murder by the Book (1986). Tony Randall played Poirot in Frank Tashlin’s unorthodox adaptation The Alphabet Murders (1965), in which Anita Ekberg galloped on horseback through Kensington Gardens.Murder on the Orient Express on Sunday, July 11, 2010 at 9pm on PBS features Poirot solving the greatest case of his career aboard the world’s most glamorous train.