Agatha Christie: Poirot-Five Little Pigs (2003)
|Category||Mystery||Main Menu Audio|
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.75:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.75:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The very name, Agatha Christie, evokes a certain genre of storytelling. It hints of aristocratic ennui and intrigue - of drama and derring-do - and, of course, of murder most horrid. The writer herself has managed to maintain her popularity long after her own death in 1976, in her 86th year, so much so that her official website claims she is outsold by only the Bible and Shakespeare. Whether that claim remains true may be the subject of some conjecture, but her depictions of the haughty rich, and her capacity to weave outrageously tangled storylines with rather preposterous but enchanting conclusions have certainly proven to have long term appeal.
ABC DVD has recently released 4 episodes of the wonderful occasional series which feature the incomparable David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, Christie's beloved Belgian detective.
The four delicious confectionaries on offer are:
After the hanging of her mother, Caroline Crale (Rachael Stirling), convicted of murdering her husband, Amyas (Aidan Gillen), the orphaned little Lucy Crale is sent to Canada without ever being told the true story behind the tragic death of her father, a talented and aristocratic artist, and tortured by a letter her mother wrote on the eve of her execution, protesting her innocence. Fourteen years later, Lucy returns to England and secures the services of Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) in unravelling the truth.
Poirot contacts those who had surrounded the couple on the fateful weekend of the murder: Philip Blake (Toby Stephens), Amyas' best friend; Philip's brother, Meredith (Marc Warren), an amateur apothecary; Angela (Sophie Winkleman), Caroline's half sister, who Caroline maimed as a child in a fit of temper; and Miss Williams (Gemma Jones), the governess devoted to Caroline. Of special interest to Poirot is Elsa Greer (Julie Cox), who was, at the time of the murder, Amyas' 18 year old muse, and cruelly and blatantly engaged in an affair with the painter. As he interviews each participant, the story unfolds from their perspective. Stories of threats and secrets - and poison and passion. Finally, Msr Poirot gathers all the participants together in a classic parlour tableau, and with much aplomb reveals who actually dunnit.
Five Little Pigs was directed by Paul Unwin with cinematography by Martin Fuhrer. Although Fuhrer was responsible for the photography on three out of four of these productions, the decision in this particular story to use a lot of hand-held camera shots was, in my opinion, a little over-indulgent and self-conscious. For this reviewer, the production values rather overtook this production, though it does finally steer itself back on course as the film draws to a conclusion.
This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced.
This is quality television which has been respectfully transferred. It is incredibly crisp and laden with detail in both the shadows and the highlights. There is no evidence of low level noise at all.
The colour range is strong, accurate and rich.
This presentation is largely artefact free with the exception of some very minor aliasing.
This is a single layered disc, so there is no layer change with which to contend.
The soundtrack is delivered in English Dolby Digital 2.0 and is crisp, clean and distortion free.
The dialogue is superlative throughout and the audio sync presents no problems. There are no subtitles available.
The original music is completely appropriate for this piece, providing an atmospheric background.
There is a significant sense of direction in the soundscape, although there is little subwoofer activity.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is static with theme music.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There are no extras provided on either region's disc, so I'm sticking with the PAL Region 4 DVD.
With the exception of the abovementioned abuse of hand-held camera shots, this is a stylish and elegant little piece with some rather glorious lighting in places, and a deft hand at sweeping the audience along with the story.
|DVD||Singer SGD-001, using S-Video output|
|Display||Teac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Teac 5.1 integrated system|
|Speakers||fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie|