curtain004

Посмотрел последнюю серию. Тяжелую, мрачную. Не похожий сам на себя Пуаро в инвалидной коляске, поседевший Гастингс. Печальный финал, к которому я вообще-то был готов, так как книжку давным-давно читал, но… все равно странное ощущение, какая-то параллель в прошлое, лет на пятнадцать-двадцать назад, когда я этот сериал очень любил. И хотя очень много воды с тех пор утекло, все равно как-то странно себя ощущаешь, когда все это заканчивается.

Тем, кто в теме, будет очень интересна статья в Daily Mail о том, как снималась эта последняя серия.

On a damp, chilly November morning I am feeling old, very old. So old, indeed, that I am on the brink of death. You can barely hear my voice as the angina invading my body takes an ever-increasing toll. Every whisper seems to bring another racking cough. I have lost 2st, my face is the colour of aged parchment and my hands are gnarled like human claws.

I am lying between stark white cotton sheets on my deathbed, about to breathe my last as Agatha Christie’s idiosyncratic Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, who has been part of my life as an actor for almost a quarter of a century. I have played him in no fewer than 66 television films. Now I am about to bid him farewell. It is quite simply one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

I am lying in a small bedroom specially created in the middle of the great, echoing Sound Stage A in Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire. It has been built to represent the room at Styles Court where the very first Poirot case was set, and where he now returns to meet his end in this, his last case.

All around me are the crew with their huge lights and swinging sound booms, the make-up and hair ladies, the director of photography, the two cameras and their operators and the talented young director, Hettie Macdonald.

There is sadness in the air, none of the usual banter and laughter of a film unit in action. Our beloved Belgian is dying, and no one can really bear it.

There are two scenes to be filmed before we get to the denouement and both of them feature just two characters in that small bedroom in the midst of the vast, still sound stage: Poirot and his old and trusted colleague Captain Hastings, played by my dear friend Hugh Fraser.

As the cameras roll, the angina gripping my chest forces me to cough, and Hugh hands me a glass of water from the bedside table.

Ever the detective, I am trying to make my friend understand the crime that has been committed at Styles Court. But he does not quite grasp it.

With melancholy in my voice, I tell him not to worry and to go down to breakfast. There are only the ‘loose ends to be tied up’.

The bell rings to indicate the end of the scene but hardly anyone moves. There is barely a sound. Every person there knows that we are nearing the end of a television era.

My wife Sheila is here and she knows better than anyone just how difficult it will be for me to say goodbye to the little man who has inhabited our lives since 1988. We walk away from the set and she hugs me. I hug her back. There is nothing more we can really say.

This is the death of a dear friend. For years it has been Poirot and me — and to lose him is a pain almost beyond imagining. As I walk back on to the set for the next scene and climb back between the cotton sheets, I know I have to clear my mind of everything else. I must concentrate on what is about to happen to my old friend — and to me.

I quietly ask if I may have silence for a few moments, just to allow Poirot and me a little peace to collect our thoughts.

In this poignant scene, Poirot is aware that the end is coming. But he is not sure when, because waiting for the next attack of his angina is like waiting for a train. It could arrive without notice, suddenly squeezing the breath out of a body, rendering it first speechless, then lifeless.

He is also afraid: there is a part of this final story that has made him wonder whether God will truly ever forgive him for his deeds, and, as a good Catholic, that thought troubles him deeply.

For once in his life, Poirot cannot control the events around him. He is rendered a mere mortal again.

My heart is full as I whisper to Hastings: ‘Cher ami, go now. Let me rest.’ Even in his last moments, Poirot remains the great detective, and I conclude, my voice just a little stronger: ‘It was not suicide you know, it was murder.’

Hastings closes the door behind him and goes before Poirot whispers again: ‘Cher ami.’ My dear friend.

Sheila is crying quietly. My driver is watching the scene on the video playback in tears, so is my stand-in. The make-up and continuity ladies are also wiping their eyes. It is very moving. I have never experienced anything like it in my entire career.

But I cannot allow myself to cry. I don’t want Poirot’s death to be sentimental, I want to make it as real as I possibly can. I climb back into bed. I am the only actor in this next scene, the last moments of my life as Poirot.

The sound of my laboured breathing fills the air. I do not want to have to do this scene more than once as I am afraid I may not be able to control myself for a second or third take.

So I concentrate every fibre of my being on getting it exactly right. I say: ‘Forgive me, forgive . . .’ and reach across to pick up the rosary. The director calls: ‘Cut’ after one take.

When Hercule Poirot died that late November afternoon in 2012, a part of me died with him.

Words really cannot express how much that obsessive, kindly, gentle man with his mincing walk, his ‘little grey cells’ and his extraordinary accent had come to mean to me.

Now, 25 years later, I am preparing for my final scene: the discovery of Poirot’s body by Hastings. Once again I am determined that it should not be sugary. The bell rings and silence falls again.

There is no dialogue, just the sight of Hastings throwing open the door to find Poirot’s lifeless body tangled in his bedclothes. I can tell how hard it is for Hugh to play the scene by the look on his face as he bursts into the room, with me lying there motionless, my left cheek against the pillow, my right arm stretched out across my body.

For he, too, is losing someone very close to him, a man he has spent almost half his adult life alongside.

The director calls ‘cut’. We have finished for the day. As I walk back to my trailer, I feel completely lost.

The following Monday I have to film the final moments of the story in which Poirot writes a letter to Hastings — delivered four months after his death — explaining the solution to the mysterious killings in those last days at Styles.

I sign ‘Hercule Poirot’ before kissing the crucifix in my hand and giving one last look into the camera.

Poirot’s death was the end of a long journey for me. I had only ever wanted to play Dame Agatha’s true Poirot, the man she had created in 1920 and whose death she chronicled more than half a century later. Curtain was published in 1975 just months before she died.

He was as real to me as he had been to her: a great detective, a remarkable man, if, perhaps, just now and then, a little irritating.

I think back to Poirot’s last words in the scene before he dies. That second ‘Cher ami’ was for someone other than Hastings. It was for my dear, dear friend Poirot. I was saying goodbye to him as well — and I felt it with all my heart.

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4 комментария на запись “Занавес. Последнее дело Пуаро”

  1. Андрей пишет:

    Ты все серии с Суше смотрел? Я пока как-то по книжкам больше, просмотром займусь потом. Глядишь и позабуду уже развязки и будет даже интереснее смотреть 🙂

  2. admin пишет:

    Да, все, и многие не по одному разу 🙂 Причем мне гораздо больше нравились короткие серии, которые снимались в восьмидесятые-девяностые, чем длинные серии из нулевых.

    Не назвал бы себя таким уж поклонником этого сериала, но в детстве очень любил, а детские впечатления всегда особенные.

  3. Александр пишет:

    Не знаю, уместно ли будет, но вспомнилось…
    Один мой товарищ так описывал типичный сюжет из творчества Агаты Кристи: «В самом начале выбери человека, который тебе больше всего нравится. В конце он окажется убийцей». ))

  4. admin пишет:

    :))

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