Agatha Christie, She Wrote
Pictured above is author Teresa Peschel beginning her talk on the various film and television adaptions of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. At our shop, February 19th, 2023.
We had a wonderful time with authors Teresa and Bill Peschel this past Sunday afternoon as we discussed Agatha Christie's mysteries in the world of television and film. Who knew there were so many different actor portrayals of Hercule Poirot? (13 in total!) The very first adaptation was actually produced back in 1931, giving famed author Dame Agatha Christie the unique hallmark of seeing her novels published, filmed, and staged. Not only were these mysteries spoken in English, but also in French and Russian to name a few of the other languages. One of the actors, Mansai Nomura, even took on the iconic role in a Japanese version of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, entitled Kuroido Goroshi.
Out of all of the different takes on Agatha's beloved Belgium detective, Hercule, we learned that David Suchet is more associated with the peculiar man who's mustache is well cared for and every item has a place and a reason. From vacuuming a suspect as he was interrogated, to bowling a perfect strike on two lanes at the same time, one thing is certain when it comes to most filmed versions of his mysteries: they all divert from the original story line and the actual character of the detective himself. Perhaps Agatha would never had thought of Poirot as one to partake in cycling, but he was surely a natural while staking out a house in the 1990 television movie, The Veiled Lady.
Although, the most recent actors to comb their detective mustaches were John Malkovich and Kenneth Branagh. John Malkovich most recently did the ABC Murders (2018) were his backstory was diverted to an extent and Kenneth Branagh has done two movies so far with larger and fluffier facial hair: Murder on the Orient Express (2017) and Death on the Nile (2022). There are people who either like, or dislike, a certain actor's work over another's, so much debate about which Hercule Poirot is best is subject to opinion.
Pictured above is a collective image of most, but not all, of the Hercule Poirot's over time. If anyone recognizes the man second from the left on the bottom row, that would be Alfred Molina. (Two of his works include The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010) and The Da Vinci Code (2006) and he has more recently done Three Pines (2022)) If you would like to learn more about the man under the hat, don't forget to check out the Agatha Christie Website.
If you think that was the entirety of the program, then you would be mistaken. That was only part one!
The second part dove our audience into the world of Miss Marple and the women sleuths who brought her to life in front of the camera. Despite not having as many different castings as Hercule's number of thirteen, there have been eight ladies of crime who took up the hat and deduced the killers.
One such woman was the magnificent Angela Lansbury. While her role lasted for one movie alone, The Mirror Crack'd in the 1980s, she sure made a lasting impression with Hollywood. Who doesn't know her as the loving Jessica Fletcher? The murder mystery writer who solves crimes to save the people she cares for in Cabot Cove Maine and beyond. There is no fooling with this sharp older lady!
But, she was not the first actress to call herself Miss Marple. For that title belongs to the an American actress named Gracie Fields in Goodyear Playhouse Season 6, Episode 5 along with Sir Roger Moore as Patrick Simmons and Malcolm Keen as the Inspector. The episode, entitled A Murder is Announced, aired in 1956 and was an hour long. After that, a British actress by the name of Margaret Rutherford took on the role and a classic image of the elderly amateur sleuth was born. Even if it wasn't completely faithful to Agatha's original character.
It is hard to believe that Angela Lansbury, third from the left on the top row, was in her fifties when she was cast. And if you like to learn more about the leading lady of mystery solving, don't forget to check out the Agatha Christie website.
Overall, it was an informative afternoon and our audience had only good things to say about the event. We hope you enjoyed our summary and we look forward to seeing you in person real soon! If you are interested in any of the Peschel's books, including their annotated editions of Agatha Christie's works or Odessa Moon's Science Fiction novels, you can find out more about their works at PeschelPress.com.
David Suchet as Hercule Poirot is from Agatha Christie Wiki
The Collective Image of Hercule Poirots was from British Period Dramas
The Collective Image of Miss Marples was from British Period Dramas
Photographs of our shop and the event itself were taken by Barb Fellencer
Details on the various films can by verified by IMDB and the Agatha Christie Website
All images and film titles mentioned belong to their respective owners and copyrights. We are not associated in any way, shape or form, to any of the entities mentioned in the above posting and we are not claiming any rights either.
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