(Pictured above: Francesco Pannofino as ‘Nero Wolfe’ on MHz Choice)
Nero Wolfe has had multiple incarnations since the portly and curmudgeonly New York-based armchair detective first appeared in Rex Stout’s 1934 novel Fer-de-Lance.
In the latest TV adaptation, set in the 1950s, Wolfe and his assistant Archie Goodwin have left the Big Apple to solve their cases in Rome. Nero Wolfe, which ran on Italy’s RAI in 2012, now comes to the US via subscription streamer MHz Choice. Eight episodes will premiere each Tuesday from November 14 through January 6, starting with “Snake Track,” based on Fer-de-Lance.
RAI produced an earlier 10-episode Nero Wolfe series in 1969. Here’s episode one, based on Stout’s The Red Box (1937) and set in contemporary NYC (sorry, no subtitles, but a great jazzy opening):
Perhaps the most famous actor to play Nero Wolfe was William Conrad. Midway between Cannon and Jake and the Fatman, Conrad squeezed in 14 episodes of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe for NBC in 1981. Here’s episode one, based on Stout’s The Golden Spiders (1953):
“The Golden Spiders” also served as the pilot for the 2001-2002 A&E series, A Nero Wolfe Mystery, starring Oscar-winner Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People) as Goodwin. “Spiders” follows, and you can see more of the 20–episode series on YouTube.
Another possible Nero Wolfe series never came to pass. The pilot movie, filmed in 1977 and broadcast in 1979, was based on Stout’s The Doorbell Rang (1965):
Finally, we present episode one of the 2001-2005 nine-episode Russian series Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, sans subtitles. It’s based on Stout’s Before I Die (1947):
MHz Choice, home of the new Nero Wolfe, offers web, smartphone, iPhone/iPad, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Prime and FireTV users more than 2,000 hours of subtitled mysteries, dramas and comedies from around the world.
The service costs $7.99 monthly after a 30-day free trial; you can currently get 50% off the first month by using the code “FALL17” at checkout. To subscribe, or for more info, visit mhzchoice.com.
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