How John Malkovich Stacks Up Against Past Poirots in Agatha Christie’s ‘The ABC Murders’

The ABC Murders - John Malkovich
Mammoth Screen / Agatha Christie Limited

Poirot purists, hang on to your bowler hats. A new take on Agatha Christie’s sleuth awaits in this BBC version of her 1936 whodunit The ABC Murders.

This Hercule Poirot (Oscar nominee John Malkovich) is an aging, friendless has-been. Sidekicks Hastings and Japp play no role in the hunt for the serial killer who leaves a railway guide beside his victims. The once-celebrated Belgian must beg an inspector named Crome (Rupert Grint) to help with the case.

Most noticeably, the character’s iconic dyed, waxed and curled mustache…isn’t. Let’s compare Malkovich’s facial hair with a few of his predecessors’.

In Poirot’s over 90 appearances, Christie described the facial hair in 12 ways, none matching Malkovich’s look and none including a grizzled goatee.

David Suchet, who portrayed Poirot for 24 years on TV, took the stiff ‘stache seriously. He even wore it when dubbing, feeling it changed his voice.

Peter Ustinov (in 1978’s Death on the Nile) played Poirot sans dye in six films. Lore says Christie’s daughter once said, “That’s not Poirot!” on set.

For the 1974 big-screen Murder on the Orient Express, Albert Finney went classic Poirot: huge, dyed black, pomaded and curled with tongs.

ABC Murders, Premieres Friday, February 1, Amazon Prime Video