Monday, August 31, 2020

Russian Poirot: Zagadka Endkhauza (1990)

Agatha Christie's  creation Hercule Poirot has been played by actors of many different nationalities throughout the years, none of them French (sorry, Belgian). With the majority being Brits, it's nice to see a change every now and then, and thankfully those = Russkies obliged, with an adaption of the = mystery Peril at End House, alias Zagadka Endkhauza...

Hercule Poirot and his friend Captain Hastings are relaxing in the south of France one day when they make the acqaintance of the nice/charming young lady Nick Buckley. While Hastings is blissfully unaware, as is the girl herself, Poirot notices an attempt being made on her life. Having already faced a few near misses, he insists on Nick's immediate protection, and sets out to discover who's trying to kill her before it's too late...

Soviet adaptions are famously loyal to the source material, often bringing the most faithful renditions of these best-selling tales, certainly moreso than British or American cinema =. For example, their version of And Then There Were None is pretty much the only version to stick to the book's ending! (Although in that particular case, we have Agatha Christie herself to =)   is no exception. It sticks closely to the book, taking its time to set everything up, and streamlining the prose enough to fit into a 97 minute film without simplifying it or leaving half the book on the cutting room floor. Pretty much every character, event, and twist is present. Not with quite as much detail as in the book, but certainly enough.

While the movie is Russian, the setting and characters are authentic. Everyone has English names, and Poirot is still Belgian. Don't know how good his French accent is (if he even tries/attempts one), but at least he's not Gerkules Palwodov

The actors all do decent enough jobs. Nothing amazing ,but nothing bad either (as far as a foreigner like myself could tell, anyway.) =  as Nick Buckley and her various facets, from carefree and debonair, to = and despondent. = Hastings. Sadly no Russians attempting Aussie accents for the Crofts. I wanted to see! Oh it would have been terrible, no doubt, but =! Plus, I appreciate the thought, as long as it's not coming from Americans. Lastly, the most important part of the cast-Poirot himself! = does an alright job, and certainly looks the part. He's a short, plump guy, got an egg-shaped head, and a suitable moustache too, fancy enough to be French/continental, but not so ridiculous =. As for the overall impression he leaves, I'm not sure I'd say he's ever more than ok. I don't blame the actor, rather the film itself. Everything in this movie is serviceable and competent, but nothing truly amazing.

The score is one of the more interesting qualities of Zagadka Endkhauza. Minimal, =, and gentle yet subtly eerie in an ethereal way, it sounds remarkably like something out of Twin Peaks! Together with the film's atmosphere, this delivers perhaps the movie's best aspect, next to its faithfulness.

Zagadka Endkhauza

18:30, 20:12, 37:34, 41:39,

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