John Malkovich has done it once unsatisfactorily, Peter Ustinov twice and now Kenneth Branagh three times. Albert Finney, Orson Welles and Alfred Molina had one go.
None of them get as near to Hercule Poirot as David Suchet on ITV.
He is Poirot.
Yesterday I saw Haunting in Venice in which producer, director and lead actor Kenneth Branagh transfers – but not transforms – Agatha Christie’s Halloween Party to a Palazzo in Venice.
It’s dark, it’s gothic, but the more you stray from the actual story set in Middle England the less creditable it becomes.
Kenneth Branagh sports a bushy moustache which makes him more ex-RAF squadron leader and less an eccentric and mannered Belgian sleuth.
It’s not a bad effort. At least it’s only 103 minutes long.
The cinematography of Venice is sumptuous, though mainly shot in the rain and the sinister nature of the Serenissima redolent of Don’t Look Now.
At least the plot holds up though the cast of Kelly Reilly – as opera singer Rowena – and Michellle Yoah – as the fake clairvoyant – are unconvincing.
I did enjoy the cinema experience: the big screen, the bag of sweets and the trailers all made a pleasing change to Netflix and Amazon Prime.