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DVD Review

DVD cover

Death on the Nile (1978)
(2017 Restoration)


Starring: Peter Ustinov, Jane Birkin, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, Simon MacCorkindale, David Niven and Maggie Smith
Distributor: StudioCanal
Certificate: PG
Release Date: 23 October 2017

Hercule Poirot is enjoying a holiday aboard a luxury Nile steamer, when a mystery assassin takes the life of an heiress and he is called upon to track down the killer amongst his fellow travellers...

Peter Ustinov gives an energetic performance as Poirot, in his first portrayal of the Belgian detective. As we cruise down the legendary river Nile in splendid luxury, a mystery assassin takes toll of a passenger list of internationally renowned faces, including Jane Birkin, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Jon Finch, Olivia Hussey, George Kennedy, Angela Lansbury, Simon MacCorkindale, David Niven and Jack Warden.

Death on the Nile is every bit as good as its predecessor Murder on the Orient Express, replacing the world famous train with the luxury Nile steamer, The Karnak. It is a mysterious journey down the Nile with nine star suspects, any one of them could be the murderer and everybody had a reason for doing it.

The boat begins to resemble a mortuary and Hercule Poirot faces the most daring and deadly case of his career - murder in 1st class, mystery in style.

This film gives us breathtaking footage of the Nile river, the Pyramids, Sphinx. A visually sumptuous and quintessentially British production, Death On The Nile won an Oscar® for Anthony Powell’s costume design.

Extras include a Making of featurette (22 min, 33 sec - '70s documentary which is heavy on clips from the film. It's also presented in a widescreen format, which probably means it's been cropped. The print is pretty poor, containing plenty of film scratches and artifacts on the picture).

We also get a number of new interviews with Costume Designer Anthony Powell (19 min, 48 sec - which is worth listening for his anecdote of meeting Bette Davis for the first time); Dame Angela Lansbury (6 min, 14 sec - she reveals that Ustinov was her ex brother-in-law) and Producer Richard Goodwin (10 min, 54 sec). The disc is rounded off with two stills galleries: Behind the Scenes (1 min, 13 sec) and Costumes (1 min, 48 sec).


Heather Simpson

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