2/17/2014

Death On The Nile (1978) ***

Fun, but a pale comparison to/imitation of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (1974) (even down the US poster, pictured below). I had a bunch of issues with this film - despite its length (and it feels long), it leaves out a lot of what's in the book and adds in things I'm not crazy about - Poirot proposing theories out loud to passengers and also having him assemble the cast of characters to announce the murderer in the finale (something he does a lot in the Christie books, but not in this particular one).

Additionally, Ustinov is good, but doesn't hold a candle to Finney in my opinion. I realize that Ustinov portrayed the character of Hercule Poirot many times, as opposed to the lone outing with Finney, but something about the latter's performance embodies the character (or how I picture him when reading the novels) more accurately in my mind. Also, Lumet is a vastly superior director and it feels like Guillermin is aping him a lot of the time.

On the plus side, the score by Nino Rota is gorgeous and memorable, though not utilized enough. It was instantly familiar to me and I had never seen this film. I must have heard it somewhere. And the cast is great, though again I prefer the actors in ORIENT. A rewatch may garner some more love from me, but I watched this film minutes after finishing the novel and I have a lot of love for the book and film of ORIENT, so it was hard not to make comparisons to all three.

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