Agatha Christie: Poirot-Complete First Series (1989)
Main Menu Audio
Biographies-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||1989|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (4)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
|Acorn Media||Starring||David Suchet|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
David Suchet is, in my opinion, the quintessential Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie's most famous sleuth. He has now played the role since 1989 (in an on again, off again manner) racking up over 50 episodes with more on the way. Some of the more recent episodes (which are movie length) have been released locally by Roadshow. This new four disc set takes us back to the very first series of 10 episodes from 1989. These episodes are all approximately 50 minutes in length. Suchet's grasp on the intricacies of the character was obviously strong from the very beginning of this series. His performance here as the fastidious, intelligent and politely sarcastic Poirot is wonderful. Unlike more recent episodes, this series features three other recurring characters, Poirot's fairly dim associate Capt. Hastings (Hugh Fraser), his personal secretary, Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran) and Inspector Japp of Scotland Yard (Phillip Jackson). Japp and Poirot have a difficult but ultimately respectful relationship. This set is divided into two volumes (of two discs each). I do not have the actual packaging, however, I believe each volume is packaged in a double amaray which are then stored in a slipcase.
The episodes are set in the mid 1930s and feature much of the art deco style of the period, both in terms of the sets (such as Poirot's apartment) and in the show's credits. In keeping with the running time, these episodes seem to be based on short stories rather than novels mostly and therefore lack some of the complexity of the longer form, later episodes. Regardless, there are certainly some very entertaining and intriguing episodes here. In detail the episodes included are:
Recommended for Poirot fans and fans of English mystery in general.
The video quality is poor but watchable. There is one glaring mastering issue to go along with the menu issues mentioned below.
The show is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, non-16x9 enhanced, which is the original aspect ratio.
The picture was quite soft and grainy throughout, with some low level noise. The shadow detail was average to poor.
The colour was reasonable for the age of the show but certainly dull by modern standards. There was also some white bleeding.
Artefacts of all kinds are plentiful including lots of specks, flecks and hairs, tape tracking issues, flashes of white spots, macro-blocking, edge enhancement, some aliasing and evidence of excessive noise reduction. There was a glaring mastering issue at 39:14 in episode 6 where a black screen flashed by bearing the legend 'No Video Signal' and the name of the digital mastering company. No much of an advertisement for their work!
There are no subtitles on this disc.
The first disc layer change occurs at 25:56 in episode 2 and caused a slight pause.
The audio quality is fine.
This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.
Dialogue was mostly fairly easy to understand but the lack of subtitles was certainly felt in some scenes.
The score by Christopher Gunning is very good but is getting somewhat dated these days. It features a memorable theme tune.
The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras are text based only and some are repeated on all discs.
The menu design is simple, featuring music and a still. There are two menu authoring errors that I encountered. On Disc 2, episodes 4 & 5 are incorrectly linked to the menu. They are switched. On Disc 3, the menu item for Carmen Du Sautoy's filmography leads to a filmography for Frances Low instead. Carmen's does not seem to be present as the menu item for Frances also shows Frances' filmography.
There are text extras including David Suchet & Agatha Christie bios, a list of Poirot books, Filmographies for the three main cast members plus two guest stars, an essay on Inspector Japp, an essay on the actor's who have played Poirot and one on the Art Deco design.
This disc repeats some of the things from Disc 1 and adds a filmography for a guest star.
This disc repeats some of the things from Disc 1 and adds two filmographies for guest stars plus the dodgy menu item mentioned above.
This disc repeats some of the things from Disc 1 and adds two filmographies for guest stars.
This series has been packaged very differently in Region 1 with mixed episodes from each season rather than season by season sets. Accordingly it is very hard to compare. I believe our local release is based on the Region 2 releases which seem to be the same.
The video quality is poor but watchable.
The audio quality is fair.
The extras are restricted to text-based essays and filmographies.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer|