No little provocation for that love is embodied by the design and score of the title sequence. These are a seamless blend of the Poirot period elements (end of WWI, to nearly the outbreak of WWII) signaling sophistication, elegance and glamour. The opening title sequence deconstructs the decorative arts of the historical era that is being recreated. Art Deco and modernist, i.e. both revolutionary while harking back to certain more traditional decorative arts, such as the Asian and Egyptian. All this, plus at the end, a soupcon of occult suggestion. that further plays up the announcement that this program will deliver nothing of the ordinary.
See for instance, the 1993, series 5 episode. “Dead Man’s Mirror” (which is specifically named at the auction as Art Deco) where all these elements of Deco, Egyptian, Modernist etc. roll together seamlessly. The era's class considerations, roll together equally as seamlessly -- which is where Poirot differs so much in treatment from American attempts at these entertainments.
The title sequence literally pulls us into the series's escape by centering travel, which, for the elite and privileged who could afford it, had finally become authentically comfortable and easy. (To learn what travel was like, prior to the age of steam and the innovation of passenger ships, even for the privileged, read the accounts by John Quincy Adams's first voyage to Europe, with his father, John Adams.)
In Poirot's opening sequence, comes first a plane (presented by a rendering influenced by period, industrial design, small enough to be a private plane).* Air travel was just beginning to be common -- again for those who could afford it, the most up-to-date glamorous mode of travel. The plane pulls along the older form of travel, a train which has first class cars. For only an instant we see "Liner" printed upon the side of something racing along in these transportation scenes, which could mean either the train or that even older luxe form of travel, the first class passenger ship liner.
The 1920's and 30's are the interim between the old world of rigid class definition, in which almost everyone was either a servant or had a servant -- or very many servants -- and the world of reliable factory work, modern housing developments and modern conveniences that made servants too expensive and difficult for nearly everyone. Among many other elements this series is presenting, made from murder mysteries written in those decades, is a milieu that reassures the class elite's anxieties about a changing world, no matter how many of them are murdered by their relatives and lovers. (That supposedly is the attraction of murder mysteries: a bloody destruction of how things are, then, with the revelation of the killer, traditional social order is redeemed and returned.)
This wasn't going to last much longer, babies, and one might guess that Ms. Christie was rather more aware of this than many of her contemporaries.
ITV's Poirot shows up the Downton Abbey crew as fusty and musty as it is. They may pretend they're in the 1920's, but they're still lurching along in the 18th century. The comedy perhaps comes out of knowing that the audience identifies itself primarily as Lady or Countess so-and-so when, in the reality of those days, we'd be the skivvy -- who doesn't even rate her own name, as even ladies' maids in those days were called by their Lady's name.
If I have a criticism to proffer about this long-running series, is that characters who are supposed to be Americans just don't talk like Americans. But then, this is said about Americans who are supposed to be playing Brits on American television too. But it can be grating that British television actors on a British television program, when playing an American default to something that evidently is supposed to be either Southern or Western, and never is either one.
|The mouse that runs all through Hickory Dickory Dock is not cute and endearing, particularly as it not quite tracks through a victim's blood.|
|Poirot, the Greatest Detective in the World and the Most Famous, flanked by his friends, decomissioned Captain Hastings and Chief Inspector Japp of Scotland Yard.|
|Miss Lemon, Poirot's faithful and extremely competent assistant.|
* See the first Astaire-Rogers movie pairing, before they became the feature marquee attraction, Flying Down to Rio (1933). In fact, their last film pairing was the 1939 biopic The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, in which Vernon dies tragically in a training accident preparing to be a war pilot for the Royal Flying Corps in WWI. Among others, there is Dorothy Sayers's second Lord Peter Wimsey (1926) Clouds of Witness, adapted for BBC television in 1972.