I guess every Agatha Christie fan has his or her own mental image of what Hercule Poirot looks like.
Actually, Hastings gives us a very good description of him when we first meet him in ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles.’ Hastings tells us he was -
‘an extraordinary-looking little man. He was hardly more than five feet four inches, but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff and military. The neatness of his attire was almost incredible; I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet wound.’
So in half a dozen sentences, we get a clear picture not only of his physical appearance, but also an insight into his obsession with precision and order.
To my mind, David Suchet is the Poirot of the books, or as close as it is possible to get.
Hercule Poirot: The David Suchet Collection
Came across this very nice YouTube tribute to David Suchet.
When Peter Ustinov played Poirot in films – ‘Evil Under the Sun’ and ‘Death on the Nile’ –I thought they were quite well done but could not accept him as Hercule Poirot at all. He was far too big for one thing. And his hair wasn’t black. And of course Poirot had jet black hair and moustache to the bitter end, not allowing nature to dictate otherwise!
Going slightly off on a tangent, I have to add that I thought the later TV films that Ustinov did were appalling! Modern settings, mostly Americanised characters and Hastings made out to be a buffoon. Dreadful!
Albert Finney played Poirot in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ in the 1974 film. He’s a splendid actor, but he isn’t Poirot. Didn’t look like him and was somehow lacking in warmth or appeal, because even though he is ruthless in pursuit of truth and relentless in tracking down villains, Poirot has a benign side which should shine through; and I believe it does in David Suchet’s portrayal.
I actually thought Albert Finney’s Poirot was something of a caricature, although again, I thought the film itself was well done and I enjoyed it.
Certainly superior to the awful version starring Alfred Molina. I’m not even going to comment on that one!
I have seen several Poirot’s in various theatres and various plays and until David Suchet came along, have always been disappointed (if not outraged.)
On one memorable occasion, Poirot was played by someone resembling the man who used to get sand kicked into his eyes – before he took the Charles Atlas course! And no, this was not some village hall amateur show, but a production by a professional touring company. Guess there were no Agatha Christie books in their Green Room!
So for me, it has to be David Suchet. I can completely believe in him as Hercule Poirot, even though I think some of the later full-length TV films leave a lot to be desired (but I’ll go into that elsewhere on this web-site.)
Long may he continue to bring this fascinating, brilliant little man to life.
Did you know that Just prior to the publication of Agatha Christie’s Curtain in 1975 The New York Times printed a front page obituary in memory of Hercule Poirot.