A trailer for the Polish broadcast of 'Tbe Big Four' has now been released on YouTube! Thank you to the anonymous commenter who alerted me. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHoaIKpxYuM.
We start off with the shot we saw in the ITV Drama trailer recently. Poirot is observing the chess table, presumably before the game between Savaronoff and Gilmour Wilson.
A close-up of the chess pieces in action follows.
The next two frames shows a dying man in the street. Difficult to say who exactly. Any suggestions? Update: Danny suggests that this is John Ingles' Chiense servant, with the message for Hastings. That sounds very probable.
The other set of chess pieces.
Next, a man is lying dead in a drawing room. Again, I can't make out which murder victim this is supposed to be. Any ideas? Update: Danny suggested in the comments section that this could be Jonathan Whalley. That sounds likely.
Hooray! Look who's here! It's Japp! Judging by the previous glimpses from the chess game, it seems Japp has called for Poirot's assistance before the game (not after, as in the novel). They are evidently present during the game. Also, I'm beginning to think script writers Gatiss and Hallard have increased the importance of this incident from the novel, judging by its prominence in this trailer.
...and here's our murder victim! I assume that's Savaronoff, anyway. Update: Actually, it's difficult to say. Age-wise Savaronoff makes sense, but it was Gilmour Wilson, the young American, who was killed in the novel. Judging by the layout of the room and the placing of the flags (see later screencaps), the victim is on the Russian side of the table, so to speak, so Savaronoff makes sense. But then the plot must have been changed in transition from page to screen. Eet eez a mystery, as Poirot would say.
The next shot shows Poirot in what I believe to be a morgue (see later screencaps).
Next up, we have a dimly lit theatre and what looks like Sarah Parish, who is playing Flossie Monro. As you will see from the later screencaps, she's A) in trouble and B) present at the same location as what looks to be the denouement. This, as well as the press release we saw earlier this year, leads me to conclude that her role in the novel has been significantly expanded (and changed, obviously).
Then we have Whitehaven Mansions. Delighted (but not surprised) to see that the flat makes an appearance in this film. Also, notice the elephant thingy by the window, last seen in Elephants Can Remember (I half expected them to forget about that piece of continuity once that case was over). Poirot shows two people a card with Death and a number four on it. Not entirely sure who these people are, but I think the one to the right is probably Japp (Philip Jackson). Possibly Hastings (Hugh Fraser), but that's less likely. The card is, I assume, a reference in some way to Number Four. He seems to have been given the role of 'Death' in some way or other (see later screencaps).
...and then we're back with Flossie Monro. In BIG trouble, it seems.
Next up, Poirot is meeting up with someone. Or walking past someone he recognises from somewhere. Now, if I'm not entirely mistaken this is the exact same location that was used in Third Girl and The Clocks (somewhere around the Inns of Court, probably Inner Temple). Could be wrong, though.
Back in the morgue (see earlier screencap). Again, I struggle to identify the murder victim. Any suggestions? It seems his fingerprints are gone, so someone obviously didn't want him to be identified (in the film, that is!). Update: Martina suggests in the comments section that this man might be the chess player, and that the marks on his fingers are to do with the electrocuting device. That's possible, but again I struggle to understand whether the chess player is supposed to be Savaronoff or a much older Wilson. Also, didn't the electrocuting just leave a burn on his hand? Still, I think Martina might be on the right track. And I have to re-read the novel, that's for sure!
Back in Whitehaven. The last frame suggests Poirot has just about solved the 'Chess Problem'. Also, the chess piece he's using is from the chess board that was seen on screen in Third Girl! He has a chess board by the window in the living room area. Lovely bit of continuity. With this and the elephant thingy, I think the production design team deserve a pat on the back this time around.
Next, we're back in what I assume is the denouement scene (see previous screencaps). I've seen some photos of this set leaked online. Why Miss Monro is sitting on a chair in front of the stage, I have no idea. But the four chairs on the stage are presumably for the Big Four.
And here we have the master criminals. Not in person, but in paper. The one in the front must be Madame Olivier, the skeleton is Number Four, I think (see previous screencap of the card). Behind him we have Li Chang Yen, presumably. And behind Madame Olivier we can catch a glimpse of what has to be Abe Ryland.
Has Poirot met his match?!? Surely not. He seems to be bracing himself for something in the first screencap. Could it be the curtain that falls down in the next shot? (curtain - Curtain, ha ha). In any case, the third screencap seems to show the Big Four, and possibly Poirot. Difficult to tell from that distance and in that resolution. The stage set looks Chinese/Oriental.
...and then we're back in Whitehaven again. This time he's searching for the name of a company, it seems. Max Berman & Sons in Berwick Street? Can't remember that from the book? Does anyone know?
Next, we're back at the scene of what appears to be the central crime of this episode - the chess game. Two crucial things to notice in the first screencap. One, there's a Soviet and an American flag, presumably a reference to the two chess players. Two, Poirot is carrying a dispatch case which looks remarkably similar to the one he was carrying around in adaptation The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Is this intended? Does it serve the same purpose (i.e. 'the tools of my profession')? In any case, it seems this is the scene in which he finally solves the chess case.
Now what? An explosion? Is this the same building? If it is, then Poirot is in big trouble. Could it be a scene in which he fakes his death? Or just a different setting and a different murder victim? Reminds me of Taken at the Flood. Time will tell, I suppose.
But look! Here's Japp again! In Poirot's chair? Not a good sign. Or is it? I don't think anyone's ever been in his desk chair for the entire run of the series. And George (David Yelland) is back! Hooray! I know he has been rumoured to appear in this episode, but I didn't want to take it for granted. Japp's handing George a letter. What does it say?
*Takes a deep breath*. Is it really? Can it be? Yes, it is. Poirot's funeral! The scene was rumoured on Twitter when they were shooting it. This will surely be a very emotional scene. Again, it's difficult to tell from this distance and with this picture quality, but I would hazard a guess that the woman in the middle is Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran), standing next to Hastings (Hugh Fraser), Japp (Philip Jackson) and George (David Yelland, with the valet bowler hat).
The box is lowered into the ground...
...and they cunningly avoid displaying his age. Love it. That would have caused such a debate anyway. Below his name it says "Requiescat in pace", which is Latin for "Rest in peace". I assume this is a Catholic ceremony. Also, you might catch a glimpse of what will follow him to the grave in the bottom right corner.
Here's a better look - in case you didn't recognise it. It's the walking stick that has been with him since the beginning of the series! A nice touch.
Finally, there's a moustache shot, just to round things off.
- What an amazing 30 seconds trailer! Lots of clues to the episode and a very emotional tease towards the end.
- The chess game is clearly a lot more important than in the novel. So is Flossie Monro.
- We got a few glimpses of Japp and George, and what is almost certainly Hastings and Miss Lemon.
- Poirot will 'die', just like in the novel. I wasn't sure of that until this very moment.
- The denouement has been significantly changed. It appears to involve Flossie Monro, a theatre with lots of stage props (including a Chinese-looking stage set) and all four master criminals. No sign of Hastings, but he must be involved somehow - surely? And Poirot appears to be in peril of his life.
- I'm slightly worried that Hastings's part in the story might have been reduced. He isn't with Poirot in any of the scenes (possibly apart from the scene with the card in Whitehaven). It's probably just the way they've edited the trailer, but it makes you wonder.
Comments? Have I missed anything? Have you noticed something I haven't? Do you have any idea who the three unidentified dead bodies are (street, morgue and drawing room)?