(See my book review here.)
Version: 1990; David Suchet
Genre: WWI; mystery
Plot Summary: When Captain Hastings visits his friend John Cavendish at the family estate in Styles, he has no inkling of the tragic events that will soon follow. Mrs. Inglethorpe, the family matriarch, is seized with a fit in the middle of the night and dies from an apparent case of strychnine poisoning. Who had a motive for murdering her? Was it one of her sons, hoping to benefit from the will? Her second husband 20 years her junior? Her daughter-in-law, Mary, who knows her husband is having an affair?
My Review: I recently read Agatha’s Christie’s first mystery novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles and was interested to see the movie. For some reason, the Agatha Christie’s Poirot series did not film Christie’s mysteries in the order they were published. I’m not sure why, but this particular episode appears in the first episode of Season 3. This is odd, since in the book Hastings (on leave from war duty in WWI) meets the detective (who is a Belgian refugee) in England after years of no communication. But in the tv series, they’ve already solved several mysteries together.
As always, David Suchet played Hercule Poirot to perfection. I cannot imagine anyone else being able to portray this famous Belgian detective any more convincingly. I also enjoyed Hugh Fraser as Poirot’s sidekick, Hastings. Unfortunately, I felt that most of the other characters were miscast, as they didn’t look like how I imagined them. Be prepared for one of the characters from the book to be left out entirely. Acting is somewhat stilted, as well.
This mystery wasn’t among my favorite classic Christie novels, so I wasn’t surprised to be a little bored with the movie. The story was predictable and my mom even guessed the culprit well before the end.
I would say this mystery is due for a remake (as long as Suchet plays the detective!). Nearly all the Poirot mysteries have been filmed in the series, it having taken approx. 25 years to get them all to screen. By now, the first episodes in the series feel outdated and they feel a little lackluster. However, one plus is that they aren’t as gory as the later episodes.
This review sounds like it was a terrible movie, but it wasn’t. There wasn’t too much to worry about concerning language or bedroom scenes (the affair was implied rather than shown). It just wasn’t fireworks, which is perhaps why they decided not to start off Season 1, Episode 1 with it.