Death on the Nile
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All three of the stories follow Christie's tried-and-true formula: She introduces the cast of suspects, gives each of them a dark secret and a motive to lie, and piles up the circumstances in such a way that the flying fickle finger of suspicion points to every one of them at some time or another. She compounds the confusion by supplying false leads and deliberatly glossing over hot clues. In each case Poirot holds his cards close to his vest, tantalizes the reader/listener with cryptic comments, and finds the most inconsequential-appearing facts to be highly significant. Eventually Poirot airs everyone's dirty laundry, explains his chain of deductive reasoning, reconstructs the crime in all its improbable complexity, and gets a confession.
Of the three stories, however, "Death on the Nile" presents the most feasible modus operandi for the murder, as well as the most likely motivation for murder. This is a roudabout way of saying that "Death on the Nile" is the most realistic of the three.
The Peter Ustinov movie stays faithful to the plot and gives the viewer some excellent scenes of Egyptian ruins along the Nile. The star-studded cast turns in good performances. Having first seen David Suchet as Poirot, I could not help but be somewhat disappointed with Peter Ustinov as Poirot. Of all the Poirot movies starring Ustinov, however, this is the best.
The production is visually pleasing and the star-studded cast are all fun to watch. At its center is Peter Ustinov's fine portrayel of Christie's greatest creation, Hercule Poirot. His interpretation of the Belgian detective with the little grey cells is both smart and humorous. The film is great fun for murder mystery fans.
On vacation in Egypt, Poirot overhears one conversation after another about the rich and selfish Lynette. It seems almost everyone has a reason for wanting her dead. Among Lynette's many trophies is her best friend's boyfriend. She is suing a sexpot writer for slander, is on the verge of finding out her attorney is swindling her, and is keeping her servant girl from happiness with another. Poirot knows this trip to Egypt will be no vacation when Mia Farrow, the jilted lover of Lynette's husband, tells him: "If love can't live in your heart, evil will do just as well."
The period production is sumptuous in its presentation of both Egypt and their excursion by boat down the beautiful Nile River. It is resplendent and elegant fun and the cast is allowed to play it out with gusto. Ustinov gives Poirot a droll humor even after a close brush with a cobra, planted in his cabin by the murderer.
Angela Lansbury and Betty Davis both ham it up in appropriate fashion and Lois Chiles is good as the not so deep Lynette. Jack Warden, George Kennedy, Maggie Smith, Olivia Hussey, and John Finch join David Niven, as Poirot's old pal, in a great ensemble cast of movie legends.Read more ›
The performances of the many actors are great. Simon MacCorkindale's portrayal of Simon Doyle is wonderful, and Angela Lansbury as Salome Otterbourne is very entertaining. Maggie Smith and Bette Davis as Miss Bowers and Miss Van Schuyler, respectively, have some wonderful scenes together and have great chemistry. David Niven as Colonel Johnny Race is great and makes for a good Watson to Poirot. Jack Warden as Dr. Bessner and Jon Finch as Jim Ferguson, while don't have a ton of screentime, still portray their characters perfectly, and of course Peter Ustinov as the great Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is great.
The scenery is beautiful. The scene where Simon and Linnet Doyle are climbing the pyramid is simply breathtaking.
The extras on the DVD are pretty good. The 24-minute featurette "The Making of Death On The Nile" is interesting, and the interviews (both in French with subtitles) with Peter Ustinov and Jane Birkin (who plays Louise Bourget), while not extremely interesting, are still a nice addition.
There are a few flaws in the movie. The largest one is the fact that they cut out Tim and Mrs. Allerton. For those of you who have read the book, you'll know that cutting out Tim Allerton changes a few important things. Cornelia Robson is also cut out, as well as James Fanthorp and Signor Richetti (which again changes a few things). While I did like these characters a lot in the book, during the movie, these characters were hardly missed.
The movie runs approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, and despite the PG rating, has some slightly graphic violence in it.
I would highly reccomend buying this DVD, however, I would suggest reading the book first.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have a hearing-impairement and this movie doesn't have subtitles—I don't know what to do!Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
The all star cast was well-employed in this mystery/whodunit. Characterizations were carefully structured at the beginning, and as the ship began to move down (or up) the Nile, so... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Richard W Dow
This is a neat story. Written by Agatha Christie where in 1939 she had stayed at the Old Catarct hotel in Aswan. Read morePublished 22 days ago by mj
My mom is just going to be so happy to open her present on Christmas morning and see this movie. This is her favorite movie!! It arrived promptly as promised. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was my first introduction to Peter Ustinov and Agatha Christie! This is a classic and if you really like mysteries, you should sit on the edge of your seat for 2 hours!!Published 2 months ago by MightyMe87