"Poirot" Dead Man's Folly (TV Episode 2013) Poster

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Among the rhododendrons...
Iain-2153 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
On the whole, I enjoyed this adaptation by Nick Dear of one of Christie's later Poirot novels. It was pretty faithful to the book and decently cast. It was beautifully shot as always and attention to period detail was superb. It was also a very nice idea to shoot at Christie's home, Greenway (now owned by the National Trust) as it was the original model for Nasse House. Greenway is famous for its rhododendrons and, my goodness, we spent a lot of time with them! The various characters, and especially Poirot, spent a lot of time wandering in the grounds.

There is an earlier film of this novel with Peter Ustinov. It is not perfect either (too much silly humour and a terrible Hastings from Jonathan Cecil) but I kept comparing the two and, marginally, preferring the Ustinov version. This new version is just a little dry and a little bland - there is never any blood in its veins. I think this may have something to do with the very limited running time which means that characters have no time to develop and remain very two (sometimes one) dimensional throughout. Personally I would have cut the Warburton characters and given their time to the Legges and Michael Weyman. I may also have kept in Marlene's family in order to flesh out two of the victims - but at least they retained (just) her sister to impart some important information.

The cast did a decent job and I particularly liked Rebecca Front, who did not make Amanda Brewis as ridiculous as I feared she might. Sinead Cusack was pretty good in the pivotal role of Mrs Folliat but I do much prefer Constance Cummings in the Ustinov version, likewise Tim Piggot-Smith over Sean Pertwee as Sir George. I thought Stephanie Leonidas was pretty poor as Hattie. As for Zoe Wanamaker, I personally thought this the weakest of her Mrs Oliver interpretations so far. She seemed to be 'phoning in' her performance and her voice was so low and gruff I often had problems making out what she was saying! So overall, I enjoyed it but not as much as I had hoped to - and this was the episode I was most looking forward to this season!
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a new adaptation of this Christie
blanche-215 August 2014
I feel like I've seen several adaptations of "Dead Man's Folly," but in reality, the only other one that exists, I think, is the 1986 film starring Peter Ustinov.

This happens to be one of Christie's strongest and cleverest stories and lends itself well to the screen.

A wealthy man, George Stubbs, has purchased the beautiful Nasse House and is having something akin to a carnival. He has asked the noted mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver to design a murder hunt. Uncomfortable, Mrs. Oliver persuades Poirot to come to Nasse House, as she's convinced there are problems afoot.

One problem is Stubbs' temperamental wife, Hattie, who seems immature. The guests include politicians, a secretary, an architect, and the house's former owner, who lives in a guest cottage. And there are students who traipse through the grounds as a shortcut to their transportation.

A sullen youngster, Marlene Tucker, has been chosen as the murder victim. She then becomes the murder victim for real, the reason unknown. Then Hattie Stubbs disappears, and the ferryman is found dead.

Questions arise: Did Marlene see something that made her a murder victim? Was Hattie kidnapped? And then there's the "folly," a misplaced building of no use.

This is a complicated case for Poirot, but he's up to the task.

Excellent story with high production values and some good acting, most notably from Suchet. Zoe Wanamaker kind of misses it as Ariadne Oliver, going for a low, gravelly voice that doesn't quite make it. Sinead Cusack does a grand job as Mrs. Folliat, and Sean Pertwee is excellent as George Stubbs.

After so many years of "Poirot," it's nice to see the episodes are in good form.
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The best of the 13th season so far
TheLittleSongbird1 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The book is one of the stronger later Poirot novels, some characters are developed better than others but the story is such a compelling one and it manages to be fun and suspenseful, as Agatha Christie on great form is like. There is one other adaptation of Dead Man's Folly, the Peter Ustinov TV film, for me this adaptation is the better of the two. It is darker and not quite as fun as the Ustinov adaptation, but like the book it's fun and suspenseful and the quality is higher. This adaptation is also the best so far of the 13th season of one of the greatest detective drama series there is, even better than the excellent Elephants Can Remember(which was better than the book) and much improved over The Big Four(most of that was good but the final 25-30 minutes really underwhelmed things).

Dead Man's Folly is just wonderful and almost flawless. If there was anything that brought things down it was the performance and character of the Dutch Girl Hiker, the character was like an ill-placed caricature and Francesca Zoutewelle's accent seemed forced and unnatural(even for someone who actually is Dutch). She is only in two scenes but these two scenes did stick out like a sore thumb as a consequence.

That aside, Dead Man's Folly is one of the best-looking adaptations of the later seasons(and all the Poirot adaptations are very well-made), the scenery is breathtaking, the period clothes accurate and lovely-looking and the house like an imposing character of its own. The photography as ever is great, whenever brooding like at the end and evergreen like it is for the outdoor action throughout the adaptation. The music is beautifully orchestrated and almost cinematic in sound, the muted brass may not work for some but it wasn't that obtrusive to me. The use of the old Poirot main theme tune signing off the adaptation was a lovely and quite nostalgic touch.

With the dialogue, it has always has been never less than good for this series, and here it's very thoughtfully and faithfully adapted- much of it lifted directly from the pages of the book. The humour between Poirot and Ariadne sparkles and the big scene between Poirot and Amy Folliat at the end(really refreshing to have Poirot speaking to one person explaining everything rather than a whole party) is very atmospheric, tragic and most importantly makes sense. The storytelling respects the book, in fact of the adaptations of the later seasons Dead Man's Folly is one of the more faithful ones, and keeps us guessing right up until the ingenious final solution.

Furthermore there are a lot of clues as well, and they are not too obvious either. In fact most of them came off quite subtly apart from one chance line from one character which is a strong indication of that character knowing more than they're letting on, a deliberate effect and you don't even realise it until later on. The murder hunt is not quite the centrepiece in the adaptation than it is in the book, but it is not ignored at all and is convincing.

The atmosphere, and Dead Man's Folly is very rich in atmosphere, in the final solution is dark and affecting. The very end is on the predictable side but also has its pathos, and the 1 1/2 hours just fly by while letting the mystery unfold and being able to breathe. There is only one real notable missing subplot which is with the man with the turtle shirt. This omission doesn't hurt the adaptation at all and actually if there was anything that I found not so good about the book it was that character and subplot didn't add that much. Then again that may be just me.

And the acting brings no disappointments either, bringing to life all these vast amount of somewhat peculiar characters, with the sole exception of Francesca Zoutewelle. Some might find the character of Hattie Stubbs overacted at times, but it was in keeping with the character's emotional state which came off well and the actress is very beautiful. David Suchet doesn't disappoint as Poirot, as always he is impeccable, while Zoe Wanamaker(whose Ariadne Oliver has the lion's share of the comic touches) is similarly delightful and they work so well together which will be much missed.

Sean Pertwee is very good too, my personal favourite moment of his in the adaptation is when he sits in the dark with a drink in his hands and a very hardened expression on his face, it is quite a shock and is a complete juxtaposition to what we've seen before where he was relatively charming and business-like. Sinead Cusack gives a very moving performance as Amy, and Rebecca Front excels in a different role to what has been seen from her in previous roles. Overall, a really wonderful adaptation and every bit as successful when stood on its own. Of the three 13th season episodes so far(have high hopes for Curtain, Labours of Hercules could go either way and personally there is some doubt about it working) Dead Man's Folly came off the best. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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grantss22 June 2016
Hercule Poirot's crime-writer friend, Ariadne Oliver, asks Poirot to join her at a country estate in Devon. The estate, owned by Sir George Stubbs, is holding a garden fete and, due to her fame as a crime novelist, she has been asked to stage a murder hunt game. Ms Oliver feels that something is amiss and that a real murder is about to occur, hence her wanting Poirot to be there. Sure enough, on the day of the fete, the 14-year old girl who is playing the murder victim in the game is murdered, and the young wife of Sir George goes missing.

Quite intriguing. Good build-up - the murder doesn't occur until well into the movie. Some good twists and red herrings too.

On the down-side, it is impossible for the viewer to figure out in advance, or even have an inkling of who the murderer is. Much of the most useful information is only revealed when Poirot confronts the murderer.

Great work by David Suchet, as usual. Zoe Wanamaker provides the comic relief as Ariadne Oliver - wonderfully cynical and blunt delivery.

An interesting thing to note: the estate used to film the movie was that of Agatha Christie herself - Greenway in Devon. It now belongs to the National Trust.
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Almost impeccable
gridoon20182 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"Dead Man's Folly" is the first of the five movies comprising the final season of "Poirot" that I decided to watch as soon as I unwrapped the DVD box, because it is also the only one of the five stories that I am already familiar with (from both reading the book and watching the more humorous 1986 TV version with Peter Ustinov). As I remembered (not every detail but) quite clearly "who-done-it", I cannot comment on how surprising a viewer coming "fresh" to this story will find the resolution. Probably quite a bit, unless they suspect something in the scene where George speaks to his wife from the window but we only see him and not her. It has become almost rudimentary to praise the production values and the acting of this series, but "Dead Man's Folly" has something extra special to offer: it is shot at and around one of Agatha Christie's actual houses in Devon, and the locations are simply marvelous. David Suchet has a great little moment when he "fixes" his mustache in front of a mirror, as a few notes of the "old" music score can be heard (hey, if you're more nostalgic for it - and I am - you can listen to it endlessly on the DVD menu screen!). Of the supporting cast, the two I liked the most are Zoë Wanamaker as Ariadne Oliver (her interaction with Poirot is highly enjoyable; he is less condescending to her than he can sometimes be to Hastings), and Emma Hamilton, who makes a witty Sally Legge (and is, in my opinion, more beautiful than her co-star Stephanie Leonidas). I would have liked, however, to see the "murder hunt" organized by Mrs. Oliver play a more active part in the plot. *** out of 4.
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Dead Man's Folly
Prismark101 September 2017
Looking at the later films after watching the gorgeous art deco first series leads to disappointment.

Although the production values in this film look good, it lacks the details of that first series. Also David Suchet after all these years now looks noticeably older.

More importantly the feature length version looks a little flabby. Wealthy George Stubbs is throwing a murder mystery party and Poirot has been persuaded to come along.

Among the high calibre guests is sullen Marlene Tucker who is to play the murder victim, pretty soon Poirot is investigating her actual death. Then George Stubbs wife, Hattie disappears and the local ferryman is found dead. Poirot suspects that a fiendish scheme is at play and his little grey cells are up to the task.

I enjoyed the reveal by Poirot but rather non plussed by the film. Interesting to see Sean Pertwee play posh George Stubbs, he had a small part in the penultimate episode of the first series of Poirot as far back as 1989.
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Return to Form by Poirot
aramis-112-80488016 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The 1980s was a great time for lovers of classic detective stories. Jeremy Brett (until he got ill) was the embodiment of Sherlock Holmes in that eponymous series (which was highlighted by superb Watsons); Joan Hickson starred in several very bright "Miss Marple" episodes. Peter Davison starred as Margery Allingham's "Campion." And, finally, David Suchet was chosen to portray "Poirot" in a series based on Agatha Christie's short stories.

The series began with money poured into the series and meticulous focus on detail. Naturally, the written word and television had different needs so, from the start, minor changes were allowed by the film makers and accepted by the audience. As the series continued, however, the sort of major overhauls were made that give dramatizations a bad name. In the worst cases, the person who actually "dun it" was altered. Even in less than worst cases, erroneous motives were ascribed to suspects, and egregious changes occurred when the writers, producers, or whoever, decided to score political points. Extraordinary liberties were taken with even the most famous Poirot novels, i.e. THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, two name but two. "The Labors of Hercules" was a series of short stories inexplicably compressed into a single narrative made up from scratch.

"Dead Man's Folly" on the other hand (as I understand it, the last "Poirot" filmed but not the last broadcast) was a return to form. I finished reading the novel the day I watched it and I was impressed by its faithfulness. Naturally, as in early "Poirot" episodes, minor changes were made in translating a novel to the small screen. But the show was surprisingly faithful (despite the need of left-wing writers and producers to throw in politically correct diktats). In fact, DEAD MAN'S FOLLY is not one of Dame Agatha's better stories, and in spots the film actually plays a little better for the short cuts it took. Bravo.

Starring with Suchet are acting stalwarts like Zoe Wanamaker, Martin Jarvis and raspy Sean Pertwee (son of Jon, who he sounds just like).

The house portrayed in this flick isn't quite as impressive as the pile described in the book. This is because it's shot around the estate where Agatha Christie herself resided. A fitting farewell touch to one of the world's bestselling (if occasionally inexplicably so) authors. Good show.
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Location and atmosphere
bensonmum23 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Poirot's friend, Ariadne Oliver, has been asked to prepare a murder game for a fete being held on the grounds of a large estate. She has a sense of unease regarding the proceedings. and feels that someone may use the game as an opportunity to commit a real murder. She summons Poirot for help. Her fears prove to have been founded when the game's intended murder victim is found to have been strangled to death.

I may not remember a lot of the specific details of the Agatha Christie I read years ago, but I certainly remember enjoying Dead Man's Folly. It was one of my favorites. There was something about the murder game being turned into a real murder that appealed to me. And, the fete provided a lot of interesting suspects, all going in different directions. While a few changes have been made, overall, the plot, most of the important plot points, and characters remain. I don't remember if the book was atmospheric, but this filmed version of Dead Man's Folly is dripping with it. I can understand why Mrs Oliver had a sense of unease, because I had the same feeling as a viewer. I just love atmosphere like this. The acting is especially strong in Dead Man's Folly. David Suchet gives another of his fantastic performances. This may be Zoe Wanamaker's best performance as Mrs Oliver – at least it's the least annoying. The supporting cast includes a nice turn by Sean Pertwee as Sir George Stubbs. I've read that much of the movie was filmed at Agatha Christie's actual home. What a fantastic location! Overall, a nice episode that is only hurt by Poirot's wild accusations at the end that prove to be 100% accurate, even though he had little actual evidence from what I could see. Anyway, a 7/10 from me.
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Echoes of Proust mixed with Christie
mirkobozic25 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
In "Dead Man's Folly", Ariadne Oliver and Hercule Poirot reunite at a garden party at Nasse House, which Sir George Stubbs acquired for him and his wife, and where Oliver was supposed to design a murder hunt. Of course, she senses something awkward from the very start, which was unnecessary since we all know a murder will take place anyway. In this case, it's a little girl who was supposed to pretend to be a corpse. At the party, we are introduced to a host of colorful characters, in different relations to the Stubbs'. Sometimes in the series, they just push the envelope too hard with certain "chance" occurrences. Since in the Christie movies everything happens for a reason, we are given reason to believe the two backpackers have some important role in the whole plot, which turns out to be true. There's also the usual (but still delightful) element of double identities, a very soap-opera motif where there's always either an evil twin sister no one knows about or villains dressing up as someone else. The crime's resolution revolves around the secrets of madam Folliat, and the fisher at the docks is very believable, relatable and seems like the only guy from the cast you'd share a pint with. I love the fact that as a location for Nasse House, they used the estate where Christie lived herself, making this into a nice tribute to the author as well. And well, there's the folly. With the young architect whining so much about it's weird location, you're bound to think it's somehow connected to the murder case. In any case, an another delightful episode in the surprisingly great season 13.
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S13E03: Dead Man's Folly: Very polished production which comes together well, aside from the conclusion, and some aspects of the delivery being a bit hard to follow (SPOILERS)
bob the moo6 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Ariadne Oliver is organizing a murder mystery hunt at the home of the wealthy George Stubbs and his pretty young wife Hattie. Despite her constructing a fake murder, Ariadne feels like something is a bit off, and has a terrible feeling about things going terribly wrong. Summoning Poirot urgently, she involves him in what he sees as just her worry; as he moves through the family and attendees, he makes note of small things but it is not until a real murder occurs that he must move the little grey cells to deduce what lies in front of him.

So far the final season of Poirot has been a little disappointing and I came to this film maybe not expecting too much – particularly after The Big Four. Dead Man's Folly instantly has a better look and feel to it, with a very English setting and great use of locations both internal and external. This contained and appropriate setting allows for clues to be scattered while Poirot observes those around him and, once the murder occurs, this continues with just about enough accessibility to allow the viewer to feel like they are part of it – picking things up even though we don't always realize it. Perhaps it is not as accessible as it could have been; personally at times I had to glance at the cast list on IMDb to remind myself what certain characters looked like since there were a lot of names and characters here, but it is horses for courses and I guess others will not feel this way.

The mystery comes together in a nice twist on the usual denouncement scene, and I enjoyed how it all fell into place. The very final part of the film didn't quite work for me. I am not sure if the book ends with the same dispensing of "justice" as we see here, but the inclusion of very clear approval/blessing from Poirot seems a bit heavy in its delivery. Knowing how Curtain will end already, I guess it is another step on maneuvering the character to that point – a journey that links to his struggle at the end of Orient Express; I get that, and I think it is a generally good ending – just that the definite nature of it was too heavily done and lacking a more subtle touch that the moral struggle would have benefited from.

Technically the film looks very good. It does make great use of the locations, and it is delivered with a convincing atmosphere throughout, building in a way that things do as one feels dark secrets are coming out. The cast are mostly good. Suchet is good as ever, even making those final moments work (even if I didn't like them). Pertwee is a nice presence, Cusack is of course memorable, while Front, Wanamaker, Leonidas, Kelly, and others all do good work. The only odd performance actually was a Dutch student with an accent that even Steve McClaren would turn his nose up at; it was so forced and heavy that I always assumed it must be some clue.

Aside from these minor quibbles, and the way that it was not quite as accessible as my slow brain would have benefited from, it was a film I enjoyed – and certainly one that stands out in the so-far so- so thirteenth and final season.
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I was always surprised this one took so long, good adaptation.
Sleepin_Dragon15 April 2018
I've always looked on Dead Man's folly as a solid story, I disagree with others that call it one of her best, I see it as a bit of a pot boiler. Of course Christie fans will instantly think of, and know Peter Ustinov's film adaptation, which is decent, without setting pulses racing. Suchet's version is a very solid adaptation, better then the previous attempt, it is well scripted, intriguing, and superbly acted, particularly by Sinéad Cusack and Sean Pertwee, the pair also share the best moment of the production in a dramatic scene.

Of the latter episodes of Poirot this would perhaps be my least favourite, the screenplay is good, just lacks a little of the dramatic flair that most around this time had. The accent of the Dutch Hitch-hiker belonged in Allo Allo, and at times it just feels a little padded out.

It is still very good, and the fact that it was filmed at the actual Estate of Agatha Christie makes it that little bit special. Solid 7/10
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Another impersonation plot by Cristie
surangaf2 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Another unbelievably stupid impersonation plot by Cristie, faithfully adapted for most part. It is one thing for her to run out of ideas, but only fans with their brains removed will not spot the many many holes in the whole story, and the absurd rehashing of all of the worst Cristie clichés.

Challenging complex murder plots (however absurd and impracticable), or interesting characters, or poignant drama and tragedy, that redeem the best Cristie stories and makes them 'classics', and highly entertaining, are all lacking in this one.

Even non regular viewers should be able to realize, before half way through, at least one person who was falsely pretending to be another. The changing of ending, which seems to imply that Poirot actively encouraged a murder suicide, is unnecessary, and against the spirit of books, where he is rather morally indifferent, and rest of the TV series (especially in later 'darker' ones), where he is shown to be piously Catholic and highly moralistic.

Some of the other episodes in final season display a certain falling off in high quality of production design that this series was known for (and justly praised for), but by restricting locations that particular new failing seems have been averted in this episode. That is the only good thing i can say about it. Unfortunately.
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