Death on the Nile [1978]

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: Peter Ustinov, David Niven, Lois Chiles, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow
Genre: Mystery
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 140 minutes

Following Albert Finney's quirky and compelling performance as Agatha Christie's Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, in 1974's Murder on the Orient Express, Peter Ustinov capably took over the role in this 1978 adaptation of Christie's river-bound whodunit. While on a pleasure cruise along the Nile with a taciturn companion (David Niven), Poirot slips into action following the murder of a much-despised heiress (Lois Chiles). There's no shortage of suspects... until, that is, they also start dying off, obfuscating the investigation by suggesting that several killers may be at work. With a disciplined screenplay by Anthony Shaffer, the film is solid enough (certainly better than its 1981 follow-up, Evil Under the Sun) and is graced immeasurably by a glittery cast including Bette Davis, Maggie Smith, Mia Farrow, Olivia Hussey, Jack Warden, and Angela Lansbury. Directed with customary efficiency by John Guillermin (King Kong, The Towering Inferno). --Tom Keogh

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