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Before the suave David Suchet, there was the imposing, twinkly Peter Ustinov as Agatha Christie's unflappable Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. Ustinov's Poirot, who appeared in several TV films of Christie's works in the mid-'80s, is not as metrosexual as Suchet's. He plays Poirot as world-weary and ever-so-slightly rumpled--despite the jaunty upturned trademark mustache. Thirteen for Dinner features Poirot trying to solve the murder of one Lord Edgeware, investigating, among others, the lovely mystery woman played by a witchy Faye Dunaway. (And in a fun bit of foreshadowing, Suchet appears here in the role of Poirot's sidekick Japp.) Dead Man's Folly finds Poirot and an old friend, a mystery writer played by Jean Stapleton, at a "murder hunt" party at which the dead body really does turn up dead. Murder in Three Acts finds Poirot far afield in sunny Acapulco, at a glorious villa belonging to a suave actor played by Tony Curtis. A random death-by-martini at a posh party opens the door to the possibility of murder--handy that Poirot is there to help the local constables. The supporting cast features top '80s TV actors like Emma Samms as the actor's arm candy, and Diana Muldaur (the wicked Rosalind Shays on L.A. Law. The production values are also topnotch--with gorgeous location shots in Mexico adding both romance but also unnerving isolation to the proceedings. As Ustinov's Poirot says after the dreadful event, "Logic tells me it's not murder--but instinct keeps tapping me on the shoulder."

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WA82079 Agatha Christie DVD Collection (Dead Man's Folly / Murder in Three Acts / Thirteen at Dinner) $39.98 $35.99