Still mourning the untimely death of his wife, Bella, Hastings is summoned to Styles Court in Styles St. Mary by his old friend Poirot. It is the country manor where, thirty years previously, he and Poirot had first met in England and where they had also solved their first murder mystery together. Now, Styles has changed hands and is being run as a modest post-war guest house, and it is here that Hastings makes a gut-wrenching discovery: Poirot's health has taken a turn for the worse. The Belgian detective is now old, gaunt, arthritic, and confined to a wheelchair as he battles a weak heart. But his little gray cells are as active as ever, which is why Poirot has called him to Styles in the first place - a murderer is in their midst, and may be ready to strike again. He asks Hastings to be his eyes and ears about the place, for Poirot does not know who is likely to be the killer's next victim. Being as observant and vigilant as possible, Hastings takes stock of his fellow company, ...Written by
Alice Orr-Ewing, who plays Arthur Hastings' daughter Judith, was born in 1989, the same year that the series was first broadcast, and all the main characters, including her father, were first introduced. See more »
I pity you, Norton... how very sad to find that this great and beautiful world is so foul and disappointing. And your mother, I pity even more.
M-my m-m-mother? You pity my mother?
To endure the agony of bringing you forth only to discover that she had nurtured in her loins such wickedness - is that not worthy of pity?
It is you who is n-not worthy! She m-m-meant the world to m-me!
And you to her?
She l-loved me... l-loved me m-m-more than... m-more than...
Did she ever hold you, Norton, as ...
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"Agatha Christie's Poirot: Curtain: Poirot's Last Case" is so dark that its star, David Suchet, insisted it be shot out of sequence so that it would not be the last image of the role that he and fellow cast members would have. Yes, it's that dark and sometimes, disturbing. The great irony is that, in reality, it was shot just before Christmas. But you won't find any bright tinsel or warm carols or peace on earth here. The old-fashioned bright Technicolor colors and tongue-in-cheek humor of the central character, especially with his loyal friend and helpmate, Hastings (Hugh Fraser), so often on display in Suchet's "Poirot" films over the last quarter-century, are nowhere to be found. It soon becomes apparent, as it was in another installment of this last season, "Murder on the Orient Express," that Suchet himself is on a mission to set the record straight for his beloved character, and especially for Christie herself. In "Curtain," nearly all color has been drained from the pictures. It is a kind of "noir" in which shadows are far more important than splashes of color. And so it is with Suchet's "Poirot" here, and the plot that steals him away for all time. The plot finds an older, infirm Poirot wasting away at a dank old estate, Styles, where Poirot and Hastings have solved their first murder many years before. Hastings, recently widowed, has come to look in on his old friend, Poirot, who by now has a bad ticker and is wheelchair-bound. In the mix is Hastings' daughter (Alice Orr-Ewing), a headstrong and sometimes disrespectful lass who may also be in danger, and perhaps even a suspect, when three people die, apparently by suicide. To say much more would ruin the surprise, but it's clear from the get-go that Poirot will have to rely more than ever before on those "little gray cells" _ and on Hastings. To be sure, Fraser has never been better in the latter role, and again, one senses a deliberate decision to make him an extension of Poirot more than ever before. He has to do the leg work, literally. The finale might upset and even shock faithful "Poirot" fans who have become accustomed to the splashy, whimsical productions of past years. But it's a fascination to watch Suchet, who has read every shred of Christie's "Poirot" writings and become a sort of self-made scholar on the subject, use his full classically trained might in doing what he considers righting the ship before he lets the role go. That alone is worth the price of admission. American viewers will have to do some leg work of their own to see this episode. Masterpiece won't be carrying this finale, at least for now, for whatever reason _ it's to be found instead on the Acorn subscription service that features British dramas. Viewers who take that step also will be treated to a 45-minute question-and-answer featurette from when Suchet appeared in Beverly Hills to promote the series' last season, itself a wonderful tool in understanding and enjoying the entire Suchet-Poirot experience and the perfect companion to the PBS "making of" short about the series. Hats off to Suchet for making a brave decision about a role that took up a good portion of his career, and truth be told, his life.
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