Customer Reviews: Agatha Christie's Poirot: Death on the Nile
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VINE VOICEon September 21, 2004
Suffering only in comparison with its illustrious 1978 predecessor, this continuation in the David Suchet series of Hercule Poirot movies debuted on A&E television (who co-produced this movie) only last weekend and had me reveling in its almost quaint, vintage British-ness of it all.

Possibly one of Agatha Christie's most enduringly popular novels and certainly one of her best crafted who-dunnits, it is surprising that it took so long for Suchet and company to get around to filming this suspense thriller. Perhaps it was for fear of comparisons with the star-studded Peter Ustinov theatrical feature, or perhaps it was the sheer budgetary restrictions of filming in Egypt? Whatever the reason, I was elated to see that, after almost two decades of playing the trusty, sometimes eccentric French (errr...okay Belgian) detective Hercule Poirot, that we finally have the excellent David Suchet tackling this favorite of mine.

Unable to compete with the earlier version in terms of star power (David Niven, Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury and Maggie Smith were just some of those in the 1978 adaptation) what this production does boast is some stunning location photography and a tour de force performance by fan favorite Suchet.

Based on Christie's 1937 novel of the same name, this tale of intrigue and mystery is a cleverly woven riddle of red herrings and double crosses that center around a spoilt heiress Linnet Ridgeway who appears surrounded by enemies on a honeymoon trip down the Nile.

Before the trip is over Ridgeway will lie dead along with two others, murderer(s) will be exposed and Poirot will have the satisfaction of having tackled one of his most puzzling mysteries. But, of course it's the getting there that is most of the fun.

To say more is to spoil many of the surprises in this movie but it was great to see James Fox give valuable assistance to Poirot (in the role Niven played in 1978) and the scene that finally unmasks the guilty party is handled expertly.

Sit back as you would with a good book and just indulge yourself one evening to one of the finest (and best crafted) who-dunnits to come across the screen since 1978.
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on January 19, 2005
This A&E version of Death on the Nile is not a full length movie and as a result it lacks the length and depth and intricate detail of Ustinov's version but this version also lacks the often over-the-top over acting that was so pervasive in the Ustinov movie (Davis, Landsbury, both ludicrous, among others). A lot of details had to be left out of the A&E attempt simply because of the constraints of time and because of this, the A&E version is flawed, though not critically in my opinion. I really preferred the lack of big name stars; those in the Ustinov version were critically distracting. I didn't care for the silly Hollywood humor in the Ustinov version ("This takes the camel's hump!") and prefer the seriousness of the A&E version. And while I did enjoy Ustinov's portrayal, I kept seeing Ustinov and not Poirot. With Suchet, it is just the opposite and this is why I prefer this version to the 1978 movie. Yes details are glossed over, yes it is overly serious (the 1978 version though seemed to trivialize the murders), but this version succeeds nicely for me because of Suchet's simply excellent, carefully wrought portrayal. He really IS Hercule Poirot.
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"Death on the Nile", based on Agatha Christie's 1937 novel, originally aired on Britain's ITV in 2004 as part of Series 9 of "Agatha Christie's Poirot". This feature-length film runs 1 hour, 40 minutes, and was shot on location in Egypt. Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) is on holiday when he takes a Nile cruise with a group of fellow tourists. A perpetual drama is playing out between the young and wealthy Linnet Doyle (Emily Blunt) and her new husband Simon (J.J. Field), whom she stole from his fiancée Jackie de Bellefort (Emma Griffiths Malin). Jackie is stalking the pair to torment them over the broken relationship. There is also the flamboyant and alcoholic novelist Salome Otterbourne (Frances de la Tour), traveling with her embittered daughter Rosalie (Zoe Telford), and the American socialite Marie Van Schuyler (Judy Parfitt), who ill-treats her mousy cousin Cornelia (Daisy Donovan).

They're all confined to the same ship, along with a gruff Austrian physician (Steve Pemberton), an ill-tempered communist (Alastair Mackenzie), the snobbish Allertons, Tim (Daniel Lapaine) and his mother (Barbara Flynn), the American trustee of Linnet's estate Andrew Pennington (David Soul), and an old friend of Poirot's, a British administrator in Egypt whom he runs into by chance. They're all obnoxious. They all hate each other. So many potential victims and suspects. Yet we know that it must be the lovely and most widely hated Linnet who will die. And the murders don't stop there.

The acting style is a little campy, unlike "Agatha Christie's Poirot" of the 1990s. It's suitable to the obnoxious characters, but one flaw in this film is that there is no one sympathetic. Tim Allerton and Rosalie have particularly been changed from the book and not for the better. In the filmmakers' quest to make a darker Poirot for the naughts, they have relieved the characters of their good humor and good nature. It seems that everyone must be a jerk. While that does not imply lesser writing in itself, it wears on the audience and leaves us indifferent to the outcome. There is heightened tension with everyone trapped on a relatively small ship with a murderer(s) on the loose. And Poirot unravels the mystery masterfully, though he seems old and tired. The cast has no lack of talent, and "Death on the Nile" is entertaining but not as good as it could have been. The A&E DVD has no subtitles.
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VINE VOICEon January 11, 2005
Agatha Christie's 1937 murder mystery adapts well to film and television format. It offers the obvious travelogue element, provides opportunities for the music and clothing fashions of the day to be presented, and its action involves a group of passengers on a journey. The 1978 film adaptation exploited all these elements lavishly. It also incorporated a series of "re-runs" of the principal murder, showing how it was possible for almost all of the passengers to have committed it. This TV adaptation, on a smaller scale in all respects, provides enough of the entertainment, the suspense, and the final shock revelation to add up to a very satisfying treatment.

Many famous actors have portrayed Agatha Christie's sleuths. Many have succeeded though few have closely approximated to the originals. Agatha Christie herself would no doubt wish that David Suchet could be adorned with a much more luxuriant moustache than the little "clip on" one seen here.
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Every once in a while, an actor comes along who not only plays the role of Sherlock Holmes, but actually redefines the role. Well, this has now happened with Agatha Christie’s detective, Hercule Poirot! In 1989, veteran actor David Suchet (b.1946) was tapped to play Poirot, and the rest, as they say, is history.

This DVD contains a classic Poirot murder mystery – Death On The Nile. When Linnet Ridgeway stole Jacqueline De Bellefort’s fiancé, it seemed the perfect coup. But, when Jacqueline pursues Linnet and Simon on their honeymoon, Poirot realizes that the situation will lead to destruction. And, when Linnet Ridgeway is found dead in her stateroom, murdered, it is up to the famous Belgian detective to figure out who did it, and how. The obvious suspects have iron-clad alibis, but Poirot soon gets to the bottom of it!

This is a very good Poirot episode – my wife’s favorite. (I can’t help it, I think that the ABC Murders is the greatest of them all!) Overall, I found the mystery to be very well done, with me not seeing how it was done until it was explained at the end. Now, some people criticize this one as not so well done as the others, but all that I can say is that my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and do not hesitate to recommend it.
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on September 2, 2013
I had the privilege of seeing the '78 version with Peter Ustinov. What's interesting is with one exception so far that when I see a Suchet version of a story I saw with Albert Finney or Ustinov, I almost always like Suchet in the role better but prefer the other version. (The exception at this point -- I consider the two "Lord Edgeware Dies" versions equal.) As noted, this is not the exception.

One funny item about this: This was the first story Ustinov played in; the last one (Appointment With Death) had David Soul play the American lawyer of the murder victim. Soul appears in this adaptation as ... you guessed it. The American lawyer of the murder victim. Coincidence? I enjoyed it whichever the case.

I haven't read the novel, but this adaptation does not have all the suspects in the room at the end (Ustinov's did). I thought it worked well that way.
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on April 24, 2013
This film is one of my favorite Poirot mysteries. David Suchet has completely mastered the quirky little detective. No one else can touch him. It's easy to see why Agatha Christie fans of her era adored Poirot.
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on January 3, 2013
This is a nice version of "Death on the Nile", although not as accurate as I would like. David Suchet is always enjoyable. He just captures the prissy, fanatical, vain, yet courteous Poirot. Fun watching.
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DEATH ON THE NILE (ITV production, "Masterpiece Mystery" release in U.S., 2008) is difficult to review. I suppose those like me, who are eternal Poirot fans and saw the Albert Finney/Peter Ustinov portrayals when they were new, might struggle. That is, if not for my love of David Suchet and his TV series.

Thus NILE, which in the first instance I must say can't hold a candle to its 1978 partner starring Sir Peter Ustinov (Death on the Nile). This film sags, although everyone in it is acting well and playing to their strengths. Suchet himself seemed to have been reinvigorated after playing Poirot as droopy and grumpy. Which I am afraid to say Suchet has actually gone back to doing again - pity.

The sets and locations are lavish, but the unfolding of the story is clumsy, stalls a bit here and there, the characters inexplicably a little bit off. Just because you have good acting doesn't mean the characters are on-base. NILE misses a lot more than it hits. Still, I recommend you get it while you can; this was a Masterpiece release in the U.S. but Acorn, if it ever re-releases this, will certainly charge double the price.
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on December 14, 2015
It's an entertaining television version of the novel but not as good as the film. And it's an opulent, lavish production.The only glaring issue is the cast of terrific British actors, including Judy Parfit and Emily Blunt, struggling mightily with American accents. You'd think they could do it, but they can't.
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