Agatha Christie DVD Collection DVD


The four films in this Agatha Christie Murder Mystery Collection demonstrate exactly why Christie's reassuringly formulaic whodunits have been extraordinarily resilient source material. In each we find a corpse (or several), an assorted group of suspects gathered in a self-contained location, all with a motive to commit murder, and the coincidental presence of the totem detective (Poirot or Miss Marple). Between 1974 and 1981, producers John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin mined the Christie seam for some of its ripest riches. Murder on the Orient Express (1974), directed... by Sidney Lumet, features a cavalcade of stars including Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, John Gielgud and Sean Connery; while Christie herself gave Albert Finney's Poirot her blessing. The Art Deco setting exudes glamour; the plot is preposterously diverting; the lighting, silvery and washed-out, giving the suspects an appropriately grim and ghoulish air. With a superior Anthony Shaffer screenplay Death on the Nile (1978) saw Peter Ustinov taking over as Poirot. The backdrop of ancient Egyptian monuments helps bring this adaptation a touch of class, complemented by composer Nino Rota's epic theme tune. The Mirror Crack'd (1980) features Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak as rival Hollywood legends descending on a quaint English village to make a film, with Rock Hudson as Taylor's husband and Angela Lansbury as a rather unconvincingly robust Miss Marple. Shaffer returned to the fray, adapting Evil Under the Sun (1981) and moving Poirot from the Cornish Riviera to an island off the coast of Albania. Ustinov reprises his role and Maggie Smith returns, camper than ever, as the hotel owner inconvenienced by murder. On the DVD: It's a pity that the sound quality hasn't been sharpened up, though: Murder on the Orient Express sometimes evokes memories of the muffled incoherence of an old fleapit. Apart from trailers, extras are few and far between. There are no cast lists or filmographies. But Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun both feature interesting short promotional "'making of"' documentaries in 4:3 format. --Piers Ford [show more]

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24 June 2002
Warner Home Video 
468 minutes 
PAL, Special Edition 
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