I’ve discovered a fantastic period British TV show on Netflix; Agatha Christie’s Poirot. I know nothing of Agatha Christie, other than her name being synonymous with “murder mystery”. I love period movies and shows, and the look of Poirot is outstanding. I’m completely caught up in the characters now too, with the quirky Belgian detective Poirot becoming irresistible. His sidekick Captain Hastings is a car buff, and they work these wonderful old cars, trains and other great machines into the show as well. Here is a sampling of screen shots I took today while watching some episodes in my office; first up is Poirot’s modern apartment building:
Poirot is a displaced Belgian detective, who moved to England during WWI. He is funny, quirky, and quite a dandy. The clothes are fabulous, with both Hastings and Poirot dressing immaculately. Here is Poirot entering a seaside hotel:
I’m sure the wonderfully preserved modern buildings are all famous landmarks in England, but being Yank I don’t know any of them so far. Here is Chief Inspector Jaap from Scotland Yard with a bobbie, walking from a lovely house owned by a missing banker:
Here is a closeup of that curving stair wall from a shot in the opening credits:
Very 1930s modern. I’ll have to look these buildings up. Knowing how film production works, the interiors are often different buildings from the exterior shots. Some scenes, such as this one inside the banker’s library, must have also been from period buildings because the details of the doors and trim are just too nice to be a stage set.
Poirot has a thing for lovely ladies (who doesn’t?) and the females in the show are very elegant and beautifully dressed.
In another episode Poirot and Hastings go to another seaside town for a respite. Look at this fabulous “hotel”:
I say “hotel” because the signage looked tacked on, and even the characters mention the name is more befitting a place in Leeds.
This next building had a very interesting stair that the cast descended, with a crane shot taken from outside through those curious tilted lunette windows. They pull back at the end of the scene and show the whole alley with this great bit of lighting.
Very early on this show got me hooked when Captain Hastings pulls up in a fabulous Lagonda automobile. Poirot does not like taking an open car and prefers the train or taxis, but Hastings delights in driving and they really make a great story of the car and his very English sporting habits. Here the duo go to an old tailor in a seedy part of town, where some kids start playing on the car in the street.
In the banker episode a suspect happens to race a Bugatti and they visit the incredible old Brooklands track to pay the man a visit. Incredible seeing an Alfa Romeo and Bugatti go at it, in color, at the old Brooklands!
The show was filmed in the early 1990s, and I think the track was un-restored at that point. It might still be in this shape, in fact. Here, the Bugatti pulls into the pits. This car today would be priceless, of course.
During a scuffle, a pocket-picker runs from Inspector Jaap and almost gets clobbered by the Alfa Romeo coming into the pits. They really drove the cars too, and the driver had to give something special to avoid the actor.
In another episode the team travels the suburbs of London looking for a suspect, and they stop for fuel and a phone at this vintage Vauxhall dealer. The detail of this shop was incredible, with the cars gleaming immaculately. Here is the establishment shot, and again the nighttime lighting was stunning.
The most amazing thing to me about this show is how the production design consistently uses modern buildings, showing a very progressive and exciting 1930s London. I would love to discover more about these buildings and get back to England to visit some of these landmarks. I would post more Poirot but it looks like Netflix is taking the series down in a few days. I’ll have to cram in a few episodes before the month is out.