Triangle at Rhodes is the sixth episode of series 1 of the ITV British television drama series Agatha Christie's Poirot featuring David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, first broadcast on 12 February 1989 in the UK. The episode is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie short story of the same name and was directed by Renny Rye with dramatisation by Stephen Wakelam. This was the first episode in the series to be filmed on location overseas. Hastings, Japp and Miss Lemon did not appear in this episode.
Poirot is enjoying his holiday in Rhodes, but human drama never seems to be too far away. Three of his fellow guests, Tony Chantry, Douglas Gold and Valentine Chantry, seem to be locked in a tumultuous love triangle – and the Detective rightly senses its destructive potential.
The TV adaptation is faithful to main premise of the original short story: exposing the intricacies of a tumultuous love triangle. The original story, however, comprised mainly conversations between the characters and the denouement comes a little too quickly for dramatic purposes. In the film, the background of some of the characters is altered slightly and more drama and action built into the plot particularly in the events leading to the exposure of the culprit of the murder.
Comparison with Original Novel
(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)
- There is a heavy overtone of the Italian occupation of Rhodes. Blackshirts are seen on the streets and the Italian authorities are on the lookout for spies.
- The opening scene shows Pamela Lyle in the old town of Rhodes attaching herself to Poirot in order to escape the attentions of Major Barnes. This plot element is not present in the original story, and serves to set up Pamela as Poirot's sidekick and companion for the rest of the episode.
- The earlier part of the plot, especially the scene at the beach, is faithful to the original text, except for the deletion of Sarah Blake and General Barnes. Pamela makes most of the observations about Chantrys and the Golds. In the show, she and not Poirot is the one who draws the triangle in the sand.
- Poirot does have his first conversation with Marjorie Gold where she tells Poirot how lucky she is to be happy and that Valentine Chantry is a woman men get easily tired off. Here they are taking a walk, and she is not doing needlework.
- In the original, Poirot goes to the Mount of the Prophet to seek solitude and here encounters Marjorie Gold and warns her to leave Rhodes. In the show, the group are all on an excursion organised by Pamela to Monolithos Castle. All the events here are not in the original story:
- Poirot notices Douglas Gold crossing himself at the Greek church. Poirot also crosses himself.
- Pamela spots a horned viper.
- At a restaurant, Tony Chantry has an outburst. He shouts at Marjorie for her remarks about divource which he takes as a veiled criticism of Valentie. The he shouts at Douglas for having eyes only for Valentine.
- Majorie runs out and Poirot follows. He warns Marjorie to leave Rhodes here.
- Poirot leaves for Brindisi, so he is not present at the bar when Valentine is poisoned.
- The poisoning scene takes place much as in the original story (except of the absence of Poirot and some other characters). However the poison used is not stropanthin but a local preparation of Horned Viper venom called "vilitilio occius".
- From here the film departs from the original story with many added scenes:
- Poirot is detained at the port and is suspected of being a spy.
- Pamela comes to summon Poirot with news that Valentine is dead.
- Poirot manages to interview Douglas Gold once in prison but then is denied further access. The Italian police are convinced Douglas is the killer because they found the bottle of poison in his pocket. It will be remembered that in the original, Poirot is on good terms with the local police and the story ends quickly when Poirot tells the police he saw Tony Chantry put the bottle in Douglas' pocket.
- Major Barnes introduces Poirot to the forensic officer (likely named Skelton). He tells them what the poison is, and suggest they need to search for a quack or herbalist in the old town to see who sold it.
- Pamela helps Poirot ask about the town and meet a blind old woman. She says the buyer was an English lady.
- Tony Chantry and Majorie Gold attempt to escape to Turkey in a boat.
- Using Major Barnes' fishing boat, Poirot and Pamela attempt to purse.
- Tony Chantry attempt to scare off the pursuit with dynamite but an Italian patrol boat arrives and take Tony Chantry and Majorie into custody,
- David Suchet as Hercule Poirot
- Frances Low as Pamela Lyall
- Jon Cartwright as Commander Chantry
- Annie Lambert as Valentine Chantry
- Peter Settelen as Douglas Gold
- Angela Down as Marjorie Gold
- Timothy Kightley as Major Barnes
- Al Fiorentini as Police Inspector
- Anthony Benson as Skelton
- Patrick Monckton as Hotel Manager
- Dimitri Andreas as Greek Cashier
- Georgia Dervis as Greek Girl
- Sofia Olympiou as Good Woman (as Sophia Olympiou)
- Tilemanos Emanuel as Custom's Officer (as Telemahos Emanuel)
- Giannis Hatzigiannis as Purser (as Yannis Hadjiyannis)
- Stephen Gressieux as Italian Policeman
- George Little as Dicker
- Martyn Whitby as Postman
- Mandraki Harbour, Rhodes - arrival of the Chantrys and Golds
- Rhodes old town - various scenes
- Monolithos Castle and the Greek church - excursion organised by Pamela Lyall
- Temple of Apollo, Rhodes - Valentine's outing with Pamela and Marjorie
- Casa del Fascio, Rhodes - police station
- Rodiaki Epavli -municipal library and now public space in Rhodes, used for some exterior shots of the Palace Hotel
- Kallithea Springs - beach scenes, the restaurant after the excursion