A few weeks ago, maybe sooner, I wrote a semi-sarcastic blog post about the Kenneth Brannaugh attempt at Murder on the Orient Express. (Blunder on the Orient Express) I say 'attempt' by way of Mr. Brannaugh's casting himself in the role of Hercule Poirot. Yuh. Not so much .🤷
Putting this cinematic issue in context, I have ZERO animosity against Kenneth Brannaugh. I have nothing against him! In other roles, he's likely very good, I'm sure. And I would say the same thing about Johnny Depp. I loved him in Blow, Secret Window, and Sweeny Todd and Edward Scizzorhands . However, when it came to the remake of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I had to call foul ! I'd seen the classic with Gene Wilder and he 'fit the bill' as it were, while Johnny Depp came off more like a gay pimp, at least as far as looks. Character wise, he was more sarcastic. Gene's Willy Wonka was not above sarcasm but it wasn't as overt. And, well, Gene's interpretation felt...safer. Someone I would trust to my child's care. He was an odd duck, and the story he told in one scene, complete with really scary imagery would creep just about anyone out. At the end of the day, though, Gene's interpretation of Candy Empire entrepreneur Willy Wonka was more likely someone I'd trust to take an Everlasting Gobstopper from.
That said, David Suchet , as Poirot, had a depth that came with the work he had done in that character years earlier. By the time M.O.O.E came along, layers of complexity, issues, and, yes, even uncertainty had settled themselves on middle aged Poirot's 'little grey cells' . By the time all is said and done in this story, a deeply conflicted Poirot lies to the police and gives the twelve killers of Cossetti/Rachett their freedom JUST BECAUSE (I'm guessing here) M. Poirot is NOT sure what he would have done, had he been in the place of any of those people, whose little girl had been kidnapped and murdered. So, to arrest them for what he might also have done seems, on one side, hypocritical. On the other hand, the poor dear feels as if he's betraying the very reason Le Bon Dieu gave him his task in the first place. It's something that will follow him to the very end of his days. It may well even be one of the memories that haunted him when he asked Hastings, in Curtain, "Do you think God will forgive me?"
So, what we have, at this point, is a fully established person, and all that entails when it comes to Poirot. For Brannaugh to try to compare himself to Mr. Suchet's body of work with Poirot is, well, courageous, I suppose. If your definition of bravery means to do something foolish, in hopes of being noticed.
*SIGH!* 😢And now I have to get the the more difficult part of this post. Not sure why it took so long to get here. Probably because I don't care for confrontation and this is going to get confrontational. THIS is where I need to get to the bottom of Agatha Christie's animosity for Poirot. WAS Poirot her only target? Did Miss Marple have any share of her creator's disdain? If not then WHY NOT?
I think I mentioned this once; that I began hearing Poirot stories via John Moffatt's dramatic audio Poirot stories when I needed something to listen to while I cleaned. That lead to watching the Poirot series (random episodes anyway) on Youtube and quite liking him and his quirks. Although I draw the line at his refusal to eat non-symmetrical eggs. I'd take an attitude him on that.
"M. Poirot, there are children in this world who do not have the eggs you're turning down. If you will not eat them, then give them to me and I'll make egg salad sandwiches out of them for later. But food should not be wasted."
Who knows. That might even guilt him into eating the eggs which he would, albeit somewhat hesitantly, admit there was nothing wrong with, apart the size difference.
|Poirot's chief adversary.|
That being the case, why oh WHY did Christie create a character without mapping out what attributes she wanted in a characters, so's to avoid the character she found so, to use her own infamous word, "DETESTABLE" ?
It's an irony most bizarre, is it not, that David Suchet worked harder to FIND Poirot than Christie did to CREATE him? 🤷 Perhaps, if Agatha put some serious thought into her creation, and not simply decided to write a BELGIAN detective because she saw a Belgian refugees getting off a bus?
Even Agatha's doppleganger, Ariadne Oliver admitted that she didn't know anything about Finns despite having created a Finnish Detective. What? There were no encyclopedias where this woman lived that she couldn't LOOK UP anything to do with Finnish culture instead of throwing together a character that clicks with fans and who she, poor dear, got stuck with. Then again, there's Miss Marple, who was also a series character. So why was there no antagonism against her?
Am I saying there SHOULD have been animosity against Miss Marple, by her creator? No. The woman was utterly benign. Nosey and nothing more. She solved crimes but so did Poirot. And they were both a part of Christie's life for a while. I just want to know what made Hercule Poirot more of an object of Aggie's derision than Jane Marple? So much so that he was killed but, to all intents and purposes, Miss Marple is still alive. To my knowledge, there is no novel where Miss Marple dies. I could be wrong, and if I am, please produce Miss Marple's 'Curtain' so to speak.
I find this injustice, on Agatha Christie's part DETESTABLE at the very LEAST! What's worse than the inequity between the characters is how Agatha could not even take the time to give Poirot a decent funeral in Curtain.
In the movie'The Big Four' Poirot did get a decent service, thank you. Compared to what he didn't get in Agatha's novelization of Curtain, the funeral in The Big Four was practically a Royal send off! Now, obviously you don't/can't give a Royal funeral to anyone who isn't proper Royalty. Still, Scotland Yard would have done right by someone who had done them good so many times. Japp would have done his best to make sure it was done. Unfortunately, though, Agatha didn't want to bother for him, so Poirot was buried on the grounds of Styles Court like a child's pet Guinea Pig or hamster or Budgie bird or turtle! Not even a funeral, just the mention of one.
So, again, I ask, why was it that David Suchet was more willing to do more work to find a character than Agatha was willing to put in the work to create? Instead, an impulse of a idea, from a bunch of refugees getting off a bus, and she cobbles together a character that fans love but she quickly tires of. Like a sexually irresponsible woman who gets pregnant (surprise, surprise, SEX makes BABIES!) only to make the child feel guilty for his existence.
Learning about Agatha's animosity for Poirot hit me strangely. Both he and I were both 'conceived' by irresponsible women who didn't want us so I genuinely empathized with the dear Belgian. Oddly, I've had an easier time extracting myself away from my biological mother than poor Poirot has had, getting away from the woman who didn't want him. Then again, I'm not a golden goose. On the other hand, maybe I'm not being entirely fair. After all, it was Rosiland Hicks who agreed to Brian Eastman's project that gave us the Poirot . Rosiland cared enough for her fictional big brother to make sure he was treated with respect. How deeply ironic that Rosiland's mother couldn't bother to do for Poirot as much as her daughter asked of Mr. Suchet. Ironic and truly sad. 😢
If you are reading this and have any ideas that would help solve this most troublesome mystery, I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for reading.
|Just a show of respect.|