Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PBS Airs Masterpiece Mystery Special: David Suchet On the Orient Express

I know this is a little late, but it's something I really wanted to share since I am a big fan of Agatha Christie.

Last year I read and reviewed Murder On the Orient Express, one of her most recognizable mysteries starring Hercule Poirot. I really enjoyed the read, so when I heard PBS's Masterpiece Mystery would be airing a special about the infamous train I knew I wanted to watch it.

Unfortunately I was unable to catch it when it originally aired on July 7, but was happy to find it listed as a "re-run" several times throughout the month. I was finally able to catch it on last Sunday evening. The special is hosted by none other than Hercule Poirot himself...well sort of. David Suchet actually hosts, but as he has played in the role of Poirot for the last two decades it's easy to think of these two men, one a fictional detective and the other a real-life actor as one and the same. Personally I will be very sorry the day that Suchet announces his retirement from Poirot films.

I am extremely grateful to the producers of this documentary. While watching the program I looked up the actual train and discovered that while anyone can travel on it today tickets are rather pricey -- more than a cruise and without the same amenities (there is now shower/tub in any of the train cars). It's highly unlikely that I will ever spend $1300+ to travel by train from London to Istanbul, let alone Prague, so I truly enjoyed this special opportunity and was content to experience this trip secondhand. David Suchet On the Orient Express was a fascinating documentary that covers not only the history of the train, but allows the viewer to see the intricate and beautiful details of the train as well as the breathtaking views that usually only a passenger would be privileged to see. In addition to the education aspect I found the program very entertaining as Suchet's personal enjoyment and excitement was quite infectious.

If you have yet to catch this hour long documentary on the train made most famous by Dame Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express published in 1934 then there is still time. PBS' Masterpiece has made the program available online for a limited time (July 8-August 6, 2010). You can view it by visiting
PBS Masterpiece: David Suchet on the Orient Express. But if you miss it online never fear, you can purchase the special as part of the Hercule Poirot Series X DVD collection at PBS' store or online at Amazon. You might also check with your library to see if this is a DVD they'd consider purchasing to add to their Agatha Christie collection.

And while I'm on the topic I will mention that last week I viewed the most recent adaptation of Murder On the Orient Express which aired on PBS Mystery in early July. It was very well made, though some of the artistic film angles (giving the affect you're on a moving train) were a bit dizzying at times; still it was a good view with only a few changes to the original story plot. I've yet to watch the older adaptations, but I intend too. Although I am a big fan of David Suchet I know as a true Christie fan I must watch the 1974 adaptation with Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, and Albert Finney to name a few (the list of famous actors and actresses in this film goes on like a list from Who's Who Hollywood in the mid 20th century). Perhaps I should check now to see if my library has a copy.

Related Links:
Murder On the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (review)

Murder On the Orient Express starring David Suchet, Eileen Atkins (PBS, Masterpiece Mystery 2010)
Behind the Scenes: Murder On the Orient Express
Q&A with David Suchet on Hercule Poirot

Book Travel on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Carnival

Agatha Christie Blog Tour (September 1-30, 2010)

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