Agatha Christie 70’s Cycle


Cult. Agatha Christie’s adaptations provide a prestigious casting. Yet, do they make good movies ?

By Jacques Braunstein

In 2019 should come out Death on the Nile by Kenneth Branagh. Already director of Murder on the Orient Express (2017) in which he plays Hercule Poirot. A miunificent production gathering Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz and William Dafoe. But this film made with quite an excessive classicism was not the first adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel.

“The graphical intrigues seem invented to highlight mythical actors.

En 1974, Sidney Lumet had already gathered a host of stars to adapt the novel : Sean Connery as a rigid officer of the Indian army, Ingrid Bergman as a shy nanny, Lauren Bacall as Lauren Bacall… Not to mention the most dashing Jean-Pierre Cassel, Jacqueline Bisset or Antony Perkins, while Albert Finney sports the unlikely Hercule Poirot’s mustache. The graphical intrigues of the crime’s British queen seem invented to highlight actors no more young but mythical.

Carlotta Films has the good idea to release this film with three others also born from the will of producer John Brabourne. An english aristocrat related to the royal family who  certainly recognized himself among the elegant globe-trotters described by the novelist.

Death on the Nile realized four years later by John Guillermin gather Bette Davis, David Niven and Peter Ustinov embodying a flippant Hercules Poirot. Jane Birkin, Maggie Smith and Mia Farrow assume the roles of younger stooges. In 1980, Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith and Jane Birkin put the cover back with Evil Under the Sun. But they only have James Masson as a venerable guest. It must be said that the director of the film, Guy Hamilton, released the same year The Mirror Crack’d still after Agatha Christie’s novel. Bringing together Elisabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Kim Novak and Tony Curtis. Angela Lansbery plays Miss Marple while Geraldine Chaplin is the only representative of the new generation.

In fine, these are old-fashioned movies, but in which each interview gives rise to a cheering actors scene… We are waiting to know who Branagh will pin in his new version of Death on the Nile.