Death on the Nile
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Peter Ustinov makes his debut as Agatha Christie's brilliant Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, in this lavish and star-studded follow-up to MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.
As Poirot enjoys a luxurious cruise down the Nile, a newlywed heiress is found murdered on board and every elegant passenger becomes a prime suspect. Can Poirot identify the killer and motive before the ship of clues reaches the end of its murderous journey?
Bette Davis, David Niven, Angela Lansbury, Maggie Smith, Mia Farrow, George Kennedy, Olivia Hussey, Simon MacCorkindale, Jane Birkin, Jack Warden, and Lois Chiles co-star in this sumptuous Oscar-winning classic, adapted by Anthony Shaffer (SLEUTH) and filmed on location throughout exotic Egypt.
Following Albert Finney's quirky and compelling performance as Agatha Christie's Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, in 1974's Murder on the Orient Express, Peter Ustinov capably took over the role in this 1978 adaptation of Christie's river-bound whodunit. While on a pleasure cruise along the Nile with a taciturn companion (David Niven), Poirot slips into action following the murder of a much-despised heiress (Lois Chiles). There's no shortage of suspects... until, that is, they also start dying off, obfuscating the investigation by suggesting that several killers may be at work. With a disciplined screenplay by Anthony Shaffer, the film is solid enough (certainly better than its 1981 follow-up, Evil Under the Sun) and is graced immeasurably by a glittery cast including Bette Davis, Maggie Smith, Mia Farrow, Olivia Hussey, Jack Warden, and Angela Lansbury. Directed with customary efficiency by John Guillermin (King Kong, The Towering Inferno). --Tom Keogh
- Featurette: The Making of Death on the Nile
- Interview with Peter Ustinov and Jane Birkin
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Top customer reviews
In the novel Miss Marie Van Schuyler travels with her cousin Cornelia Robson and Miss Bowers. In the 1978 film only Miss Bowers (Maggie Smith) appears. In the 2004 film only Cornelia Robson (Daisy Donovan) appears and – as in the book – she ends up being engaged to Dr Ludwig Bessner (Steve Pemberton).
Joanna Southwood, Mrs Allerton and Tim Allerton (who, in the book, steals Linnet Ridgeway’s pearls) appear in the 2004 film but not in the 1978 film – where Marie Van Schuyler (Bette Davis) is the thief.
The 1978 film never reveals that James Ferguson (John Finch) – who becomes attached to Rosalie Otterbourne (Olivia Hussey) – is actually Lord Dawlish. In the book and the 2004 film Rosalie Otterbourne is attracted to Tim Allerton.
In the novel the literary “Karnak” travels from the first cataract (south of Aswan) to Es-Sebûa to Abu Simbel to Wâdi Halfa and return. In the 1978 Peter Ustinov cinema film the “Karnak” goes on a scenic but fanciful journey from the Cataract Hotel at Aswan to Kom Ombo/Karnak and then Abu Simbel and a stand-in for Wâdi Halfa. In the 2004 David Suchet TV film the “Karnak” goes north from the Winter Palace at Luxor via the Temple of Luxor to the Temple of Dendera and return.
Agatha Christie’s original of the literary “Karnak” was probably Cook & Son’s stern-wheeler “Thebes” which steamed between Aswan and Wadi Halfa.
The “Memnon” was used in the 1978 Peter Ustinov cinema film. It is now owned by the SETI First Group and it is (still) undergoing restoration and refurbishment before re-entering service.
The “Sudan” was used in the 2004 David Suchet TV film. It is currently owned by a French company and is the only overnight paddle steamer in service (with tours from Luxor to Aswan and vice versa). A 1922 Thomas Cook advertisement for “The Nile Voyage” indicates that the “Sudan” had two sister paddle steamers named “Arabia” and “Egypt”.
Most recent customer reviews
So much better than the than the later (TV) version. It's marvelous seeing the actresses let out all the stops.