Suchet or Ustinov?

TommyTommy Vale of Glamorgan, The, United Kingdom
As it says in the title, which actor was the better Poirot? Perhaps neither? Suchet has had a longer run but is it a case of less is more?



    Suchet is my favourite Poirot.  He has  Poirot's little mannerisms down to a fine art. We all know Poirot can appear comical. For instance his fantastical obsession with cleanliness, order and method. Suchet really gets it right, he plays as through Poirot doesn't even realise he's being odd.

    But I think that it's worth seeing both versions of adaptations. Because I recently watched the Ustiov version of Death On The Nile.  It's one of my all time, favourite stories, so I have high levels of expectation. I actually thought that was higher standard than the Suchet version. The main leads of Jackie, Simon and Linnet were more dimensional. I thought Ustiov was at times, playing Poirot for comic effect,  but the other actors were incredibly good. 

  • AgathasmykidAgathasmykid British Columbia, Canada

    Someone asked me this once.  My answer, which is still the same today, is that Suchet for me is best in the shorter 1 Hour episodes of Poirot.  I think Ustinov and Finney do better in the movie versions of Poirot.  Most of Suchet's tv movies, at least for me, didn't turn out that great compared to Ustinov and Finney's versions.

  • tudestudes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    I think it is Suchet, but I when it comes to the adaptations, I prefer the Ustinov's versions. For instance, the Suchet's tv version from "Appoimment with Death" was awful. I think Ustinov's version was much better. And, of couse, "The Orient Express". Suchet's Poirot was too much. I prefer Finney's version too.
  • I forgot to mention Albert Finney. I liked the glamorous Murder On The Orient Express film much more that the bleak Poirot with Suchet. 
    But Albert Finney -I always think his Poirot's laugh sounds grating! I find him rather repellent at Poirot for some reason. 

    I loved the fact that Suchet Evil Under The Sun was filmed at Burgh Island. But although I liked most of it, I did think that SPOILERS!!! whoddunit lacked the charisma needed. The Evil Under The Sun Ustiov is alot more sexy I.E the whole chemistry  between the victim and her killer.

  • AgathasmykidAgathasmykid British Columbia, Canada
    I will say that overall Suchet has done a very good job, I just think his Poirot has been a victim to poor script writing and casting.  I hope as Suchet's run is (apparently) coming to an end that he goes out in style with some really good scripts, casting, and that his features are full of great suspense!
  • tisshaheltisshahel Connecticut, United States
    If looking at just the actor (sans script, setting, etc.), then I must cast my vote for David Suchet. I've always tried my best to read books before watching cinema adaptations, so I already had my version of Poirot in my head.  Suchet simply best matches my Poirot, in terms of dress, mannerisms, accent and height... yes! height matters in proper portrayal!
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

    Ustinov was the Ideal Hollywood Poirot, a Characature of the Man which is what you want for a Film but Suchet Looks like Poirot where as Ustinov Didn't so I would say it depends what you want, Do you want a Light film then Ustinov, If you want accuracy where you can see the Humour then Suchet.

  • SeaSnapSeaSnap Cornwall, United Kingdom
    David Suchet all the way. He just naturally fits into the role of Poirot. I also like Hugh Fraser as Captain Arthur Hastings and Zoë Wanamaker as Ariadne Oliver.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Both Hugh Fraser and Zoe Wannamaker are excellent although neither are how they are described in the books, Hugh Fraser doesn't have a Moustache and Zoe Wanamaker is to slim but having said that I can't help picturing them when I read the books they appear in
  • I think Hugh Frazer is excellent as Hastings. He's not dumb, just misguided. 

     I know Miss Lemon isn't quite how she is in the books, but I still think that Pauline Moran is excellent. I love her clothes, Art Deco chic but practical. I imagine Miss Lemon in the books dresses in an out of fashion, dour manner. Also with Miss Lemon  they did have to adapt her interests beyond filling cabinets.

    I didn't instantly warm to Zoe Wanamaker as Mrs Oliver. But I thought she was excellent in Halloween Party and Mrs McGinty's Dead. I love the way she plays her as exasperated and protective of her creation  Sven Hjerson. She's fed up with him, but can't stand the way that other people want to adapt her character. Maybe Agatha Christie herself sometimes felt that way?  Mrs Oliver's utter disgust at the proposed idea of  what Finn got up to in a sauna was hysterical! 

    Japp is also very good, I mean he respect Poirot but  is too down to earth to accept when Poirot is being Cultured. The Affair At The Victory Ball is a perfect example of  the personality of the characters. 

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

    Have you seen the way Ariadne is played in the Parker Pyne stories with Maurice Denham? The Actress is brilliant.

    I agree Japp is excellent the only thing I can say against the way ITV has him is that I think Agatha Christie gave him a Bowler hat not a Trilby

  • I've seen some of The Agatha Christie Hour episodes ,but not the one with Mrs Oliver. The AC Hour are good episodes if anyone else hasn't seen them.

    I think to distinguish Poirot and Japp, they have different headgear. It's the same with the Jeeves and Wooster series.

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Why would anyone have difficulty distinguishing from Poirot and Japp? they are different heights, It is far more likely someone would have difficulty differentiating between Japp and Hastings who both have roughly the same headgear and you just have to know Poirot is foreign to and hear them speak to know which is which.
  • Character traits play a key role in costumes. You can tell a person's personality by their clothes. A trilby can be smart but I think Poirot's hat suits him, it's rounded, smart, neat and symmetrical- everything Poirot likes. Poirot isn't anything like Japp or Hastings, so his head gear is usually different to theirs when he's with them. It distinguishes him in the respect that you can tell he he has a different personality. 

    Bower hats generally represent smartness, authority and control in our modern culture. That fits Poirot well.

    In An Affair At the Victory Ball the costumes reflect the characters. Hastings is a gentleman, so chooses that as a costume. Poirot is himself, because he can never be anyone else! Miss Lemon always wear very neat sharp clothes in the series,  because that suits her character. 

    Mrs Oliver would try and be fashionable at times but I imagine her failing to get things right. 

    I wish there was a book available about how the Poirot costume designers chose certain outfits. It would interest me alot.

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    It would interest me a lot too but perhaps the subject would be too narrow for a book, perhaps the book would have to include Décor and sites used
  • I've been to a couple of the locations used in Poirot. I have a locations book for Poirot, it's very useful. 

    I think the main cast of the Suchet Poirot's are excellent. But I was disappointed by Countess Vera Rossakoff. The actress wasn't bad, but the character had been altered. She was quite demure compared to the books. If Frances De La Tour hadn't appeared in Death On The Nile, I think she would have been excellent as the flamboyant Countess.  What does everyone else think?

  • David Suchet is the best person to play Poirot,when you read any of the books he is the character you picture in your mind. The appearance and mannerisms are perfection.

    As for Ariadne Oliver only Zoe Wanamaker could portray her properly. 
  • MrsOliverMrsOliver Mid Glamorgan, United Kingdom
    I just love David Suchet playing the part of Poirot. He really does have it down to a fine art.
  • I believe Suchet is the best Poirot, He has studied the character so well and manages to convey him perfectly, but without making him a caricature.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I think Zoe Wanemaker is good but not my idea of Miss Oliver, as she is too thin and Ariadne id obviously large as she should have trouble getting out of the Car when she goes to Underhay's House in Mrs McGinty's Dead
  • David Suchet is my favourite Poirot, he looks just the way I imagined him from Agatha Christie's descriptions, except that she gave him green eyes.  Peter Ustinov just didn't look right. 

    I agree with MissQuin, Countess Rossakoff was badly miscast.  In the books she is described as large and flamboyant, but instead they made her small and rather characterless.

    Regarding hats, Poirot wears a homburg, not a bowler.  Japp's hat isn't a trilby, it's a fedora.  Hastings also wears a fedora, albeit with a little more style than Japp does!


  • edited October 2013
    Oops- my knowledge of Men's hats is so poor! But Poirot's hat suits him well. I wonder if Countess will re-appear in Labours Of Hercules? For me she was great, she really rounded off a excellent book. But the problems is she's too different in the series from the books character. I mean would a quiet refined lady run a gaudy nightclub called Hell?

  • I read that Orla Brady will play the Countess in The Labours of Hercules.  Let's hope they make her glamorous and flamboyant, the way she's supposed to be.
  • Countess Vera's age is a very dark secret... but I'm guessing she must be well over 40. Wasn't it 20 years since she last saw Poirot? We hear in LOH that her make-up is really coating her face. I have this image of Bette Davis's make-up in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane- scary!

    We don't know how old  she was when Poirot first met her. But Hastings didn't seem too impressed by her, although that may have been her outlandish personality. 

     I guess she was in her 30's when Poirot met her and would be 50's or 60's when she re-appears, hence the heavy make-up. 

    It would be a little odd for her personalty to alter from the previous episode, but then people can always change. 

    Diana Rigg would have been good as C. Vera in the 90's episode. She's in her 80's now and I'm guessing that Vera isn't that old

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    There is an actress in an Episode of Midsomer Murders withLarry Lamb, she reminds me of Diana Rigg, she might be good as C. Vera 
  • There is an actress in an Episode of Midsomer Murders withLarry Lamb, she reminds me of Diana Rigg, she might be good as C. Vera 
    What part does she play in the Midsomer Murders episode? Are you thinking of the Spanish girl or someone else?
  • maxamillionmaxamillion Walsall, United Kingdom
    There is only one Poirot and that is David Suchet
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    No Delicious_Death, This woman plays a wife I think with long dark hair, she has a very harsh voice like Diana Rigg Has, It isn't an Episode I like very much so don't remember POILER ALERT I might be wrong but I think she plays a Murderess 
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Whenever I see her in the Episode I always think of Diana Rigg
  • No Delicious_Death, This woman plays a wife I think with long dark hair, she has a very harsh voice like Diana Rigg Has, It isn't an Episode I like very much so don't remember POILER ALERT I might be wrong but I think she plays a Murderess 

    You've got me intrigued now Tommy_A_Jones, I'm going off to watch that episode of Midsomer Murders with Larry Lamb. 

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