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Agatha Christie's Poirot: Death on the Nile

4.0 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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(Oct 26, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tony Award nominee David Suchet returns to his celebrated role as Hercule Poirot in a lavish A&E adaptation of the Agatha Christie classic--DEATH ON THE NILE. When Linnet Doyle, the richest woman in London, steals and marries her best friend's fiancé, the

For almost the first half of Death on the Nile, any viewer who hasn't read Agatha Christie's intricate mystery won't be wondering who-done-it--instead, it's who's-it-going-to-be. The movie, from the television series Agatha Christie's Poirot, swiftly lays out a panoply of enjoyably odious personalities, from the American heiress who stole her best friend's fiance to the snotty, unkempt radical thinker to the boozing gargoyle of a pulp novelist named Salome Otterbourne, any of whom could be a suitable victim. Puttering amongst this mix of fops and harridans is Christie's most popular creation, the fastidious Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, played with exquisite precision by David Suchet (The Way We Live Now). Once the murder occurs, Poirot sets to work sifting through red herrings and petty deceits to unravel the truth. The crisp script and vigorous editing of this adaptation of Death on the Nile (a previous star-studded version from 1978 starred Peter Ustinov as Poirot) are at their best in the first half, zipping from catty remarks to petty bickering to fussy grumbles, deftly planting clues with the skill of a magician's misdirection. Once the interrogations and searches begin, the movie feels hemmed in. But through it all Suchet, with his beady eyes glittering from under his heavy lids, drives the mystery forward with his magnetic portrayal. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: David Suchet, James Fox, Emma Griffiths Malin, JJ Feild, Emily Blunt
  • Directors: Andy Wilson
  • Writers: Agatha Christie, Kevin Elyot
  • Producers: David Suchet, Damien Timmer, Delia Fine, Emilio Nunez, Leila Kirkpatrick
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2004
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002TVWZ6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,987 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Agatha Christie's Poirot: Death on the Nile" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Darren Harrison VINE VOICE on 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.
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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.
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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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