Saturday, December 3, 2011

Death on the Nile (1978)



“He was her man, but he was doin' her wrong!” 

            Murder mystery stories are some of my favorites when reading a book or watching a movie. Some of literature’s best murder mysteries have been written by Agatha Christie. Her most famous novels are those containing the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. I had always heard of Christie and her famous stories but it was not until three years ago that after watching the movie version of Murder on the Orient Express that I began to read her novels. Each of her stories are so interesting with several twists and turns. Of her novels I have read that have been turned into films I have only seen Orient Express and not too long ago Death on the Nile. Death on the Nile has a very good plot and very good twists.
            Jackie de Bellefort (Mia Farrow) brings her fiancé Simon over to see her best friend Linnet Rideway’s mansion to see if she can find him a job on her estate. But when Simon and Linnet meet it is love at first sight and after a whirlwind romance they marry. While on their honeymoon they are plagued by Jackie who has followed them no matter where they go. Jackie cannot get over the fact that Simon left her so she has taken to stalking them.
            Once the couple reaches Egypt Jackie’s stalking becomes worse. More and more people are becoming witnesses to her outbursts and the couple’s pleas to leave them alone. As the trip progresses we come to find that Linnet has many enemies for several different reasons: an author by the name of Salome Otterbourne (Angela Lansbury) based a character in her latest racy novel off Linnet and now Linnet wants to sue for libel; she wants to have a psychologist whom she believes killed her friend to have his license taken away; a Miss Bowers was once an heiress but her family’s fortune as taken away by the Ridgeway family; a Mrs. Van Shuyler (Bette Davis) has been coveting Linnet’s jewels; Linnet’s lawyer has been cheating her out of money and other things when he has her sign papers; her maid is extremely upset because Linnet will not give her her pay so she can marry after Linnet found out the man the maid wants to marry is Egyptian and is already married.
            With the tour group and on the riverboat is the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. As usual he takes very care and notice of his surroundings. He sees that everyone is a bit hostile towards Linnet and each has a reason to hate to her. Jackie eventually catches up to Simon and Linnet and makes a great drunken scene late one night on the boat. That same night Linnet is found dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Poirot immediately takes over the case along with his English detective friend Col. Race (David Niven). He has a boat load of suspects to interview and investigate. Everyone had a motive for wanting Linnet but it is a challenge to figure out who really did.
            The ending is one I did not really see coming and I really liked that since so often than not I figure out the ending to mysteries.
            The cast was alright I was not too crazy about it as a whole. I cracked up the whole time with Bette Davis and Maggie Smith because Smith was supposed to be a companion/nurse for Davis and she just kept saying the funniest things to Davis. Davis’s character was such a pain in the rear. In one scene she tells Smith to move along the boat was beginning to look like a mortuary and Smith replies “Thank God you'll be in one yourself before too long you bloody old fossil!”. Angela Lansbury as Salome Otterbourne was the highlight of the movie. The character was totally eccentric and she played her to perfection. It is odd seeing Lansbury act so crazy but she was just so good. David Niven did a good job as Race, I am not a big fan of his but I found him alright. Mia Farrow has got to be the most annoying person on the face of the planet. The first time I ever saw her was in The Great Gatsby and I could not take her then and I fully remember why. I could not believe how much she sounds like her mother Maureen O’Sullivan though, it was so scary how much they sound alike. Farrow just ruined the movie whenever she was in a scene she was so bad.
            All in all I have to say Death on the Nile was an alright movie. The story and plot as I said was very good with a great twist at the end but I was not that crazy about it. I think I was comparing it the whole time to Murder on the Orient Express because I love it so much. The cast is Orient Express is one of the best I have ever seen in a movie and I think that is why I did not like the cast too much here. I am so used to Albert Finey as Poirot that Peter Ustinov fell flat. At the end of the movie this Poirot mentions to Mrs. Van Schuyler that next time they meet he has to tell her about his case on the Orient Express. 
            Death on the Nile is worth a viewing at least once for the story and the twist.