Thursday, June 2, 2011


(October 1978, U.S.)

You know what I'd love to see on the big screen again? I'd love to see a good ol' fashioned Agatha Christie who-done-it with an all-star cast of grown-ups who can actually act. For close to a ten year period beginning in the early 1970s, Agatha Christie films were popular and very entertaining. They offered beautiful cinematography of lands all over the world, featured impressive costume and fashions reflective of the times and provided a fascinating resolution to reveal the actual murder at the end of the film. would be nice to see all that again.

DEATH ON THE NILE takes us to the Nile River in Egypt and features the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (played by Peter Ustinov) plus the all-star ensemble cast you would expect, including legends like Bette Davis and David Niven. Our murder victim is a wealthy, ruthless heiress bitch named Linnet Ridgeway (played by Lois Chiles) who's constantly making enemies along the way, and frankly, is just asking to get bumped off by somebody. When she's finally shot dead in the head at point blank range, the list of suspects includes everybody on board the ship. Everyone has a viable motive and the opportunity to have pulled the trigger. But with all these suspects come believable alibis, as well, until we've all reached a point in the film where it seems we'll never figure out who-done-it. The truth is out there, but it all seems too incredible to believe. Of course, in the end, the great detective gathers everyone together and spells it all out for us to understand. You watch, you listen, and sometimes you actually think to yourself, "Oh man, why didn't I figure that out for myself?". Unfortunately, it's difficult for me to go on any further about this film without actually giving away the identity of the murderer(s) and how he/she/they did it, so I'm afraid you'll just have to rent the film and find out for yourself.

I should also note that will all of its style and grace that one would associate with a film of this sort, DEATH ON THE NILE is perhaps the most violent and bloody of all the Christie films that were ever made. By the time it's all over, five bodies have piled up as opposed to the traditional one.

Favorite line or dialogue:

Jacqueline De Bellefort: "Simon was mine and he loved me, then SHE came along and... sometimes, I just want to put this gun right against her head, and ever so gently, pull the trigger. When I hear that sound more and more..."
Hercule Poirot: "I know how you feel. We all feel like that at times. However, I must warn you, mademoiselle: do not allow evil into your heart, it will make a home there."
Jacqueline: "If love can't live there, evil will do just as well."


  1. I saw all the films you are talking about, Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, and Evil Under the Sun in theaters. They are as you have described, adult mysteries with clever plots and solid screen actors. All are worth revisiting, add The Mirror Cracked which I think is also a Christie, and Deathtrap which is not, and you would have a great film festival. I suggest a weekly viewing rather than back to back.

  2. I saw EVIL UNDER THE SUN on screen in 1982 and only managed to see parts of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS on television when I was a kid. Always preferred Peter Ustinov over Albert Finney as Poirot. Still haven't seen THE MIRROR CRACK'D.