Yesterday we talked about how they changed up the spirit of Miss Marple in the more recent adaptations of those Christie works. Today I zero in on Poirot.

SPOILER ALERT: If you plan on watching the new John Malkovich adaptation of “The ABC Murders” on Amazon prime, I am going to tell you some details….

I did not care for the new mini series adaptation of this book.

  1. The Poirot in this book is sad and disgraced. Scotland Yard will not even talk to him. They think he is a joke.
  2. Japp was a disgraced and discredited figure in this adaptation, all at the hands of Poirot.
  3. It is revealed that Poirot lied about being a detective when he was in Belgium
  4. It is revealed that Poirot had been a Catholic Priest who lost his entire congregation to the Germans


I actually went back and reread the story to see if I had missed anything. Was Poirot a former priest and not a detective? Did I just assume things?  I just don’t understand. Why would you change the entire backstory of a character, change the entire integrity of a serialized character?

What purpose does it serve to change the heart of a beloved detective?

Are they trying to gain a new audience? I mean, I don’t think my teen daughter was going to turn off “Riverdale” and tune into a Hercule Poirot mini series.  Anyone who knows Poirot has a certain image in their head- they expect to see Poirot a certain way. And anyone who doesn’t know Poirot? Well, they’re probably not tuning in anyway.

What’s to gain by making him a Priest? I mean, I don’t even remember him being even vaguely religious either- of course, after watching the show I did consider rereading every Poirot novel in chronological order to see if I didn’t grasp something important.

So- what do we think about directors and screen writers taking full on liberties with a book? What are your worst book to movie plotline wrongs?


39 thoughts on “ABC Upside Down

  1. Are you sure it was Poirot in the series and not Porottie or someone? 😉😂 I can’t believe that – Poirot and a catholic priest! Non, Madame, Non. I usually don’t watch book to TV/movie adaptations for this very reason – they change the story and it kinda makes you dislike everything about it. I guess only the last book – Curtain – is the one in which Poirot isn’t his usual chirpy self.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get that Christie wrote curtain intentionally to be like that, but this adaptation was so far out, and it didn’t make sense and it ruined what’s a clever who dun it for me. The story was solid and fun. Why do all that!!


      1. I am really curious about this TV series adaptation now. Maybe I will watch it once they release it on Amazon prime India, just for the fun of it. 😉 The latest Poirot movie was also not upto the mark – Murder on Orient Express. Nobody plays the role better than David Suchet. Plus, as far as I remember, Poirot gathers them all in a carriage. In the movie, it was in a tunnel of some sort.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Suchet is the ultimate Poirot. Nothing will compare and they were best adaptations of book. Watch it just to see the abomination

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Yes! Suchet – tochee! (a humble attempt at a punny rhyme).
    I stumbled upon the ‘new’ adaptation you’re referencing and at first I thought it was a parody or an introduction of a new character who was maybe influenced by the great Poirot himself or – or – or?
    I kept trying to find some redeeming factor on something that boasted ‘Poirot’ roots and found none.
    And then the ‘why change it all out?’ Why not just make up their own character & name him/it something else and begin a new novel or series?
    Perhaps this incarnation is merely a marketing ploy to rope in real fans of Poirot to ‘give it a chance’ You know, capitalize on the name and deliver nothing of value.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am dumbfounded as to why they felt the need to do this. Stick to the basic story, or write a new story. If I watch Poirot I expect certain things. It was a joke

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with you! This was a bizarre and horrible version of our beloved Poirot. Malkovich, who is a decent actor, went in and out of accents, an in and out of character. So even though I didn’t like the adaptation, his portrayal was awful and inconsistent. He wasn’t Poirot. He was someone else. Kenneth Branough actually did a pretty good job in the new movie Murder on the Orient Express. Nobody is as good as Suchet, but, tried and true beloved characters shouldn’t be changed like this Malkovich version. . Even Doctor had an episode with Agatha Christie as a Character. David Tennant as The Doctor inspires Agatha to write a few new books. And as bizarre and s ience fictiony as that is, it was all kept very much in the spirit of Agatha Christie. The Malkovitch series was too brutal, sexual and weird. I didn’t watch the whole series. I didn’t like it. Two episodes were enough for me. And I love Poirot. You can update Agatha to make her politically correct. (Her original stories have an element of rascism in them due to the time period in which they were written) As do many novels of that time. But to change the plot? No! Blasphemy! It’s rather like going to see Shakespeare and the actors are in unusual costumes. I’m ok with that. But when they change the poetic language I’m not. You don’t mess with perfection. You just don’t!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Brutal, sexual and weird. Those are the exact right words. The story, the characters didn’t make any sense. They deviated from the deduction aspect of the story by diverting the plot line to Poirot past. What was wrong with his past…I just hope they don’t try to do more of those! And I totally get making the stories a little more pc, as you said, leave the plot alone

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly! Those mysteries were light hearted. They were NOT meant to have violent twisted sex acts in them. Christie’s audience was at first mostly female and then expanded. And even in “Then there were none” it was more suspense rather than brutality. No this director was a weirdo. Sex and violence is not what her stories were focused on. I sure hope there are no more. Can we get Suchet out of retirement?? Pulease?

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m sorry but I didn’t read that. But I did hate all the stupid changes in the “slightly related to the book” series, The Passage. That book is like a million pages and they reduced it to 8 one hour episodes?!! And basically the whole series was only the first few chapters of the book. But I tried to enjoy it anyway , knowing it was not really like the book at all. I don’t know why they do this stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are many, I’m sure! Sometimes it isn’t so much that the screen adaptation is bad, but just TOO different. Sara Paretsky writes a wonderful mystery series about a female detective in Chicago name V.I. Warshawski. I believe that was the name of the movie, as well. It was horrible and didn’t capture any of the positive aspects of the series, I don’t think. If I remember correctly, the movie combined plots from several of the books and made a cousin into a love interest in the movie, or some such silliness. Very poorly done, and I’m sure the reviews must have been bad. Needless to say, they never made another based on this series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Combining plots! I know.! There was a series that did that, I do not remember which, I had a mind cleanse after watching it, and it ended up making no sense at all

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t even picture John Malcovich as Poirot. Didn’t they read what he looks like? I can’t get behind Holmes and Watson with Will Ferrell either, mainly because I don’t like him and can’t imagine him doing justice to Sherlock. When they change things so much it’s almost an insult to Mrs. Christie I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wait! The Will Ferrell Sherlock was a comedy and is hilarious. I’m a real Sherlockian nerd. I even collect Sherlock memorabilia dating back to early editions with the original artist Sidney Paget. (I’m loyal to Jeremy Brett as the best Sherlock ever). I even have an antique poster of William Gillette, the first actor to portray Holmes on the stage given permission by Doyle himself. so I’m a Sherlock snob of sorts. But I watched Will Ferrell’s Sherlock and laughed my behind off because it was a farce. A total ridiculous comedy. And still he – Ferrell stayed in total character .(actually way better than Robert Downy Jr did) He was Holmes to a T if Sherlock had been wrong in all his assumptions. Lol But you knew it was a comedy going in that this movie wS going to be silly, so it was just good fun. Nobody was trying to abort the original character. It’s a ridiculous movie but I’d watch it again for all the laughs because even Ferrell portrayed Holmes correctly just in a seriously silly way. Im laughing thing about it now.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Keep in mind you have to like Ferrell. If you think Elf was a riot and step brothers funny then you’ll like this movie too. It’s ridiculous. But it struck me as hilarious. I watch Elf every Christmas and he makes me laugh like crazy no matter how many times I’ve seen it. I just find Will Ferrell hilarious.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh then you won’t like it. I love Ferrell. So I got a good laugh at his parody. There are some actors who just don’t resonate with us. But, I think the point of this post was changing characteristics of a literary figure. In the Malkovitz/Poirot portrayal the director changed his character, thus making the detective unrecognizable to Poirot fans. In the case of Will Ferrell he did a comedy and actually kept in character which made it absurdly funny.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. OMG! I am outraged! Poirot has never showed any signs of feeling disgraced! He is an extremely proud and, dare I say, arrogant man. A priest? Seriously? No, I won’t waste my time watching it. How dare they mess with Agatha’s characters! She is a legend and no alterations are necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I would have a hard time if they decided Kyle Jenner should play the part of Nancy Drew in her detective series book or tv remake. I don’t know about you but that is how I feel but it hasn’t happened, so I guess we are good.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I honestly thought the re-make of “Murder on the Orient Express” was supposed to be a spoof. Thought of that way it was rather funny. I have no interest in seeing the Malkovich version.
    I am watching Poirot on Acorn tv right now. Love him!

    Another point to note is sometimes a series is just based on characters from a book(s). They don’t actually try and adapt the books to tv, at least not too closely. “Grantchester” is one example. The books are quite different, Sydney marries the German Hildy and Leonard dates Amanda for awhile, Mrs. M is a very minor character, doesn’t live in etc. I think it depends on what the author agrees to.

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