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Death on the Nile (1978)

Death on the Nile (1978)



Peter Ustinov

Jane Birkin

Lois Chiles

Bette Davis

Mia Farrow

Jon Finch

Directed by John Guillermin

Death on the Nile is a fantastic movie from a fantastic book of the same name by Agatha Christie in 1937. Worth noting is the changes in this movie adaptation, of this crime thriller. Some characters were removed and the second issue which Colonel Race was involved when he joined the steamboat, was not at all mentioned. In the book Race was on the boat looking for a murderer, who was on board the boat and while on it he stole.

The movie in question though is well jointed and I will say very well paced. There is no confinement to movement as you would have expected on a steamboat from the 1930s. The characters were able to commit their acts and put each and everyone on their toes, including you the viewer. We are left to wonder who the hell killed this heiress.

The fine crafting of the movie, the costumes and setting is so well done that for a moment I felt I was in the 1930s. This was honored as the movie won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.

As you would expect after a brief intro to everyone involved we are tossed into a murder case, this time on a steamboat sailing on the Nile, during an Egyptian excursion. The murdered was a heiress and on board the boat were enough people who wanted her dead. One was her former best friend who was the former lover of her present husband, which she stole. Her maid, whom she has refused to give her the money she has promised because she does not approve on what she intended to do with the money. Two people who she has a legal or intend to have a legal battle with. Her not to be trusted lawyer who wants her to sign documents without reading to avoid getting persecuted. A woman who hates her family for what they did to hers. A kleptomaniac who craves her jewelry. All these people and more had reasons for seeing her dead and we are tossed between them lot wondering who did it.

Then things get complex, when two other deaths occur leading Poirot who was on board the boat with his friend Colonel Race to deduce that the murderer must have been known by the two other victims.

The movie ended with Poirot having everyone to come sit down as he begins to unravel the whole mystery based on the subtle clues which the movie did so well to remind us of with flashbacks. Then I really enjoyed how the production also used visuals to tell the stories so we can see how the things happened when Poirot was explaining it.

As usual with anything that has to do with Christie’s books, the murderer is not anyone you would have expected and the plot is deeper and well thought through than you would have anticipated.

This is a wonderful film and one which I would not mind seeing again, just to see how the clues aligned ever so nicely.


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