Lethal Affairs

Of Agatha Christie, murders, and plot twists

Poirot series, Part four

Five Little Pigs

Season 9, Episode 1. Original air date: 14 December 2003.

This movie adaptation of the classic title by Christie starts off great with a dramatic note. It may be confusing to those who have not read the book before this; the background and settings were hardly explained before they get to the major events. Lucy Crale, the daughter of the late painter Amyas Crale is now twenty-one and comes into her inheritance; along with it she receives a letter from her mother who was hanged fourteen years ago for the murder of her father. Although Caroline Crale did not make any protestations of her guilt at that time, in the letter she solemnly swore that she was innocent. Lucy Crale is now determined to clear her mother’s name, regardless of the possible consequences; thus enters Hercule Poirot.

I will not go into details of scenes that follow; sufficient to say that in order to reconstruct the events leading to the murder fourteen years ago, Poirot visits five different people who were present at that time. Philip Blake, best friend of Amyas Crale; his brother Meredith Blake who happens to be a herbalist from whom the fatal dose of poison was obtained; Elsa Greer, now Lady Dittisham who had an ongoing affair with Amyas Crale at the time of the murder; Mrs Williams who used to be a governess in the house and strongly faithful to Caroline Crale; and finally Angela Warren, the disfigured and blind step-sister of Caroline. Each of their account reveals a part of the story, and it is up to Poirot to bring together the various pieces of the puzzle and reveal the truth. If Caroline Crale did not commit the crime, one of the five people must be guilty. Circumstantial evidence at that time pointed to no one but Caroline as the murderer; however Poirot manages to find some conflicting elements that say otherwise.

Overall, this adaptation stays true to the novel except for several small points, such as how Caroline Crale was actually hanged instead of just dying from her illness, and Philip Blake is revealed to have romantic feelings for Amyas, thus his hatred for Caroline; however the essential parts of the story remain unchanged. Five Little Pigs has always been one of Christie’s great masterpieces due to its highly original plot; the only complaint that I have with this adaptation is how they fail to include anything about the nursery rhyme! “This Little Piggy” was mentioned extensively in the novel, with each “piggy” representing one suspect and his activities on the day of the murder.

A greatly recommended movie altogether; beautifully made with the little details reflecting the mood of the story wonderfully. It has the right pace from the start, but things get a little slow in between and viewers may find some scenes getting repetitive, especially when we come to the individual accounts of the story by each of the five witnesses. A convincing performance from all the actors; Aidan Gillen as Amyas Crale stays true to his character as an attractive, philandering artist while Julie Cox as Elsa Greer plays her part to an almost perfection, albeit the heavy makeup and Cleopatra-like hairstyle. A must-watch for all Christie and Poirot fans!

My rating: 4.5/5.0

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December 31, 2011 - Posted by | Books, Crime Fiction | , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Many thanks for contributing this to the Agatha Christie Blog Carnival for January

    Comment by KerrieS | January 24, 2012 | Reply

  2. I plan to read the book sometime this year, and will watch the movie afterwards. Thanks for the recommendation. It sounds great.

    Comment by Nan | February 2, 2012 | Reply

    • You must absolutely read it! Personally I think it is one of the best from Christie. You’re welcome, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did 😀

      Comment by Ng | February 3, 2012 | Reply


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