Peter Ustinov began his long association with the Hercule Poirot character of murder mystery novelist Agatha Christie with this lavish but financially disappointing follow-up to the popular Murder on the Orient Express (1974). During a luxurious pleasure cruise down the Nile aboard a lavish vessel populated with wealthy passengers, widely despised heiress and home wrecker Linnet Ridgeway (Lois Chiles) is murdered. Also aboard is famed Belgian detective Poirot (Ustinov) and his taciturn traveling companion, Colonel Race (David Niven). Poirot undertakes an investigation into Ridgeway's killing. Among the colorful suspects are Salome (Angela Lansbury) and Rosalie Otterbourne (Olivia Hussey), Doctor Bessner (Jack Warden), Mrs. Van Schuyler (Bette Davis), Miss Bowers (Maggie Smith), and Jacqueline De Bellefort (Mia Farrow). As more bodies pile up, however, it appears that nearly everyone aboard has a motive. The script for Death on the Nile (1978) was adapted by Anthony Shaffer, the writer of Sleuth (1972) and the identical twin brother of Amadeus (1984) author Peter Shaffer. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
This is probably the finest Agatha Christie adaptation ever made. The entire production is sumptuous. The all-star cast makes it a delight (Angela Lansbury almost steals the show with her depiction of a lurching, reeling, perpetually blotto romantic novelist). And the fact that the crew went to Egypt to show us the Nile firsthand, and the pyramids, and the temple at Karnak, only adds to the overall pleasure.
Pretty good movie, although you should watch for the cast and not the actual mystery. The production values at times make it look like a TV movie instead of a big, star-studded release. My only problem with the film was it's depiction of Egyptians which I found racist and insulting. And does anyone else get the empression that there was a little romance going on between Ustinov's and Niven's characters or is it just me?
Death on the Nile is another star-studded "who-dunnit." This time, the setting is the Nile, rather than the Orient Express. Peter Ustinov takes over the role of Poirot with a humor and poignancy that Albert Finney lacked.
The first part of the movie, until the time the passengers/suspects boarded the Karnac, is deadly dull, offering only the occasional plot points. Once aboard the ship, the plot, characters, and cast come together for a wild romp. Imagine Bette Davis and Maggie Smith as a comic duo; Angela Lansbury as a drunken and horny writer to name only a few.
Solving the crime had me on the edge of my seat - and I STILL got it wrong. In the end, Poirot solves the crime and we see that he feels badly that the murderer made the choice that he or she (no, I'm not telling) made.
I strongly recommend this movie.