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I've been in an Agatha Christie phase for a bit and remembered having
seen this series on TV. It was great because it wasn't the traditional
Marple/Poirot/Tommy & Tuppence story, but some of Dame Agatha's lesser
known characters. I *really really* wish that this set would come out
on DVD because I'd snap it up in an instant.
For those wondering which stories were included in this series, here's the list:
1 The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife
2 In a Glass Darkly
3 The Girl in the Train
4 The Fourth Man
5 The Case Of The Discontented Soldier
6 Magnolia Blossom
7 The Mystery of the Blue Jar
8 The Red Signal
9 Jane in Search of a Job
10 The Manhood Of Edward Robinson
If this ever comes on TV again, enjoy! It's worth watching.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Once you get past the shot-on-video look (it only took me about 5 minutes in the first episode), this is a beautifully produced, elegantly costumed and set, well-acted (with only one notable exception, which I will mention below) series, based on 10 short stories that Agatha Christie wrote without any of her famous sleuths present (although Hercule Poirot's good friend Ariadne Oliver, the mystery writer, makes an appearance, and Poirot's secretary, Miss Lemon, makes two). 5 out of the 10 stories ("The Case Of The Discontented Soldier", "The Girl In The Train", "Jane In Search Of A Job", "The Case Of The Middle-Aged Wife", "The Manhood Of Edward Robinson") are lighter in tone and follow a similar pattern: an ordinary man or woman, who suddenly finds him/herself, either by request or by chance, caught up in an extraordinary adventure which adds excitement but also danger to their quiet lives. These episodes are pleasant but slight, and to be honest "The Case Of The Middle-Aged Wife" is almost dull, and "The Manhood Of Edward Robinson" suffers from the annoyingly exaggerated portrayal of a dork by its male lead. The other 5 episodes are, in my opinion, considerably stronger: "Magnolia Blossom" (an atypical love triangle tale that's more about personal integrity than love), "In A Glass Darkly" (a dark story about predetermined fate and post-war trauma), "The Mystery Of The Blue Jar" (a supernatural tale - or maybe just a long con), "The Red Signal" (the series' only traditional who-dun-it, but also who-will-it-be-done-to), and my personal favorite, "The Fourth Man" (a haunting tale about split personalities (?), possession (?), paranoia (?), science vs. religion, and growing up). Overall, "The Agatha Christie Hour" is well worth your time if you are a Christie buff, just don't expect all the stories to be on the same level of interest. I give the series as a whole *** out of 4.
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