Saturday, December 19, 2020

HERCULE POIROT'S CHRISTMAS - "Murder For Christmas" (1994)

In the "One Good Turn Deserves Another" Department, I gave you an episode of "Agatha Christie's Poirot" for Halloween, and now here's another episode of this fine show for Christmas, and yet another Saturday Night Special down in The Dungeon thanks to my good friend in Berlin, Lord Litter!

No matter who else is in one of these shows, the star will always be David Suchet. I'm not sure if I ever want to see David as another character, he's just so perfect as this one!

Appropriately enough, this episode called "Hercule Poirot's Christmas" aired on Christmas Day 1994.

This episode starts off with a young Simeon Lee and his partner finding some diamonds in South Africa. Simeon tells his partner, "We're going to be rich." Young Simeon is played by Scott Handy who was also a musician that was in a late 80's band called "Ice Cold In Alice."
Unfortunately for his partner, Simeon meant I'm, when he said we. Also unfortunate for him, he got shot before he could finish this vile act!

He would have died out in the middle of nowhere if this young woman hadn't saved his ass. He pays her back by knocking her up, and disappearing into the night. The young woman was played by Liese Benjamin in her sole outing as an actress.

As the caption says, next thing we know is that it is 40 years later in London.
This is now the residence of Simeon Lee. He has seemingly done quite well for himself!

Simeon Lee is a cantankerous mean olde bastard. He's supposedly confined to a wheelchair, but when left alone, he doesn't seem to have any problems walking over to his safe where he now keeps his diamonds.
The elder Simeon is played by a man who is also known as "the patron saint of the acting profession," Vernon Dobtcheff. While not a household name in America, Vernon has 366 acting credits to his name including "The Spy Who Loved Me," and "Indiana Jones And The Lost Crusade."

Meanwhile, Hercule Poirot has settled in for a gourmet meal, and a nice quiet evening at home alone.

Poirot gets a call from Simeon Lee summoning him to his home that he has no interest in, but since his heating system has stopped working, he reluctantly agrees to take Simeon up on his offer since it includes a warm place to stay.

Simeon Lee is a greedy olde fart who loves his diamonds much more than he loves his children! He wants Poirot there because he doesn't trust anybody.

Simeon Lee has requested the presence of his children at Christmas for the reading of his will. Those attending are his three sons, George, as played by Eric (The Beast Must Die) Carte, Alfred played by Simon (Fat Slags) Roberts, and Harry, as portrayed by Brian (The Gentle Touch) Gwaspari. 
Also attending are George and Alfred's wives, Andrée (Absolute Beginners) Bernard as Magdalene, and Catherine (Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound) Rabett as Lydia. Harry's not married, so the third woman is Sasha (Dr. Who, Sherlock) Behar as Pilar, the olde man's granddaughter, who we find out later is actually an imposter!

This is an Agatha Christie tale, so it should be no big surprise that the olde man gets murdered, and each and every one of the family is a possible suspect! Now it's up to Poirot to untangle this web of deceit!
 Poirot goes to a novelty shop, and buys a fake mustache, and places it on this portrait of Simeon Lee.

I'll give you one clue. 
With the mustache in place, the portrait of Simeon looks an awful lot like the local police inspector as played by Mark (The Limehouse Golem) Tandy.

Just in case you're not feeling it this year and have any doubts.

When it's all over, Poirot and his good friend Chief Inspector Japp as played by Phillip (The Doctor and the Devils) Jackson, exchange gifts. Poirot bought Japp a box of cigars because he felt guilty after the Inspector gave him his gift, but he is genuinely less than thrilled with the gloves the Inspector's wife made for him. When the Chief Inspector asks Poirot if he isn't going to put them on, Poirot tells him that no, he will only wear them for special occasions!

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