This beautifully packaged A&E set marks the return of David Suchet as Hercule Poirot in two feature films. Although the films are based on two early Christie novels, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Lord Edgware Dies, the stories have been rewritten to take place after previously filmed episodes in the Agatha Christie's Poirot series, thus accounting for the slightly older-looking cast.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd opens with a retired Poirot cursing at vegetable marrows in his country garden. When his old friend is found stabbed in the neck, Poirot begins an investigation that reunites him with Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson) and uncovers a chain of furtive phone calls and secret romances. Unfortunately, the restructuring necessary to adapt the story from text to film takes away some of the shock value of Christie's original ending, which caused quite a controversy when the book was first published in 1926.
Lord Edgware Dies finds Poirot reopening his London office with the help of Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran) and Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser). As they celebrate their reunion, Japp quips that there's "only one thing missing... the body." Right on cue, a corpse turns up just moments later. Most of the suspects are actors by profession, but Poirot's "little gray cells" are able to penetrate the murderer's disguise--though only after two more victims heighten the suspense.
The acting is impeccable and the sets are as lavish as ever in both of these adaptations. The main characters' delight in being reunited is sure to be matched only by the delight of Agatha Christie fans who now have two more episodes to add to their collection. --Larisa Lomacky Moore
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful: New Poirot not up to earlier efforts, February 21, 2002 Reviewer: Andrew B. Dobrenis from Cote St. Luc, Quebec Canada I won't bother to get into details of the stories, since that is already well-covered by other reviews on this site. This two DVD set includes "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" and "Lord Edgeware Dies". The producers set these stories as taking place after previous episodes. This decision was probably made on account of how much older the actors look. While Poirot and Inspector Japp have aged gracefully, both Captain Hastings and Miss Lemon show their years. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is one of Agatha Christie's most famous novels, but it translates poorly on the screen. It is impossible to go into details without giving away who the murderer is, but suffice it to say that the surprise of the novel is greatly diluted here. There is also a wistful sort of sadness that permeates the entire story, with none of the charm of the earlier episodes. There is also a feeling that the production was rushed, and that the actors feel uncomfortable in their roles. Thirteen at Dinner is a much better production. All the old favorite characters are re-united here and some of the charm/humor missing in the first story is present here. There is also a greater sense of locale. This episode feels more populated and the variety of locations along with the complexity of the story helps keeps this moving along at an entertaining clip. If you have the opportunity to purchase the two DVDs seperately, definately choose Thirteen at Dinner and forget about Murder of Roger Ackroyd.