Fourteen years after her mother, Caroline Crale, was hanged for the murder of her artist father Amyas Crale, Lucy Crale asks Hercule Poirot to investigate her father's death. She is convinced that her mother was innocent but is prepared to accept the truth, whatever that may be. Poirot visits in turn all five persons present when the murder took place including Amyas' best friend, Philip Blake, who was visiting the Crales when Amyas was killed; Philip's brother Meredith from whom Caroline supposedly stole the poison used to kill her husband; Elsa Greer, who was sitting for a portrait and with whom Amyas was supposedly in love; Caroline's half sister Angela who despised Amyas but believed her sister to be innocent; and Miss Williams, the governess. Having heard the tale from five different perspectives, Poirot reunites them all to identify the murderer.Written by
Julie Cox (Elsa Greer) and Toby Stephens (Philip Blake) appeared together in Inspector Lewis's "A Generation of Vipers" as Miranda Thornton and David Connelly. Julie Cox is almost unrecognizable between the two shows because in Inspector Lewis, she is a plain, mousy Oxford don who doesn't wear one speck of makeup. In Poirot, she is made up very glamorously, and it's hard to tell it's the same woman. See more »
We see young Amyas painting with his left hand. As an adult, he uses his right hand. See more »
I've heard about you. The things you've done. The way you work. It's psychology. It's your forte, n'est-ce-pas?
C'est vrai. My success, it is founded in psychology, or, the 'Why?' of human behavior."
[Pointing to his head]
It is this that I use.
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This is definitely one of the best, if not the best, adaptation of a Christie story, "Five Little Pigs," and certainly a top Christie story in itself.
A young woman, Lucy Crale, comes to see Poirot to ask for help in clearing her mother's name. Fourteen years earlier, Caroline Crale was hanged for the murder of her husband, an artist, Amyas Crale. Lucy promises that even if it turns out that her mother committed the murder, she will accept it, but she wants the whole truth.
Poirot then visits the five people who were present when the murder took place: Amyas' best friend, Philip Blake, a visitor at the Crale home when the murder happened; Philip's brother Meredith, from whom it is suspected that Caroline stole the poison used to kill Amyas; Elsa Greer, Amyas' lover and whose portrait he was painting; Caroline's half-sister, Angela, who is sure her sister was innocent; and Miss Williams, Lucy's governess. After hearing each story, Poirot knows the truth and reunites all of them to make the announcement.
The story unfolds neatly, and at the end, Poirot keeps you guessing. The flashbacks are beautifully, dreamily photographed, and the locations are lovely, as is the period atmosphere. The way the flashbacks were filmed is reminiscent of the flashback scenes in the feature film, "Murder on the Orient Express." The acting is superb, with David Suchet perfect as usual, and he's surrounded by some top talent, including Rachel Stirling, the brilliant Toby Stephens (he comes by his talent honestly, being the son of Robert Stephens and Maggie Smith!), Gemma Jones, and Patrick Malahide, Top drawer - don't miss it.
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