The greatest Hercule Poirot of all? Mystery solved

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From many, Michael Phillips chose 10 screen and stage portrayals of Agatha Christie’s detective — and examines, ruthlessly, the various iterations of his legendary mustache. A year before he decamped to Hollywood to make “Citizen Kane,” Welles dined out on the role of Poirot in this 50-minute radio version of Christie’s story. Well, it was radio, but Welles as Poirot does refer to his mustache as “the largest in Europe.

(Kent Gavin/Getty Images) A zesty curio, shot in London in black and white and directed by the outlandish social satirist Frank Tashlin (“Artists and Models,” “The Girl Can’t Help It”). This Poirot lark has the fussy mastermind doing all sorts of uncharacteristic things: bowling, fending off Anita Ekberg, you name it. Christie hated what they did to her book “The ABC Murders”; audiences were indifferent.

Not special but not bad. We’re getting there. (LMPC) I adore this performance, and love director Sidney Lumet’s film nearly as much as I did when it came out. Swank, full of knowing turns by a fabulous cast braking right at the edge of caricature. Finney is a lot, but in the best way: unlikely casting, lots of costume and facial and vocal deception, and somehow we believe it all. Plus, that train!

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