East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Some considerations about the new Poirot coming in October

I have just seen the trailer for Death on the Nile, the new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel, featuring Kenneth Branagh in the role of Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian detective. Ca va sands dire that the trailer looks like a million dollars, the cast is suitably stellar (Gal Gadot!), and I’ll probably watch it one way or another when it comes out.

On the other hand I have often written about how much I like the original Death on the Nile, in which Peter Ustinov was Poirot, and that boasted an equally star-studded cast.

And this prompts a question: why remake Death on the Nile?

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Supernatural Christie

I am not an Agatha Christie fan. That was my aunt, in our family – she had been through the whole Christie canon, and could quote you chapter and verse of every story and novel, forward and backward.
I read about a dozen novels, but I was more of a Dorothy Sayers kind of guy. Oh, I saw the movies and liked ’em, even if I still find Miss Marple insufferable, and I am looking forward to the forthcoming The Pale Horse, mostly because it seems to have a folk-horror angle and features a few actors I like a lot.

But I recently received as a gift a digital copy of possibly the only Agatha Christie I was really interested in reading – The Hound of Death and other stories, a collection of twelve short stories, published as a volume in the UK in 1933.
A collection of more-or-less supernatural stories.

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The Second Lauren Bacall Blogathon: Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

This is The Second Lauren Bacall Blogathon, run by the In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood blog, and if I have to explain to you who Bacall was, you are reading the wrong blog.


But please follow the link and check out the wealth of great posts from the blogs that are participating in the blogathon, and then come back here, because we have a train to catch, and we are running late. Continue reading


Agatha Christie Day – Tommy & Tuppence

agatha-christieMy brother informs me that today is the Agatha Christie Day, this being her birthday. Christie would be 128 today.
“You should do something about her on Karavansara,” he told me. “Christie is very popular.”
The understatement of the century.
Agatha Christie is the undisputed queen of mystery, with a catalog of 66 novels and enough short stories to fill fourteen volumes. She is also in the Guinness Book of Records, with reportedly two billion copies of her books being at large in the world.

So OK, let’s do an Agatha Christie Day post. Continue reading

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Back on the Nile

I’m not a fan of Agatha Christie.
I think what turned me off was starting with the Miss Marple mysteries, after viewing the old Margaret Rutherford movies. My late aunt, that was a great fan of Christie gave me an omnibus edition with a number of Miss Marple books, and I hated them.


But as I think I already mentioned, I love the Poirot movies featuring Peter Ustinov, and when it comes to Death on the Nile, in my house we are divided – to me, nothing surpasses the Ustinov movie, while my brother, that is a David Suchet fan, prefers the TV movie. Continue reading

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A second serving of Poirot: Evil under the Sun (1982)

It always goes like this: I re-watch Death on the Nile, and a week later I re-watch Evil Under the Sun. So why not write a post on the movie?

Four years after Death on the Nile, EMI made another Agatha Christie adaptation, choosing the 1941 novel “Evil Under the Sun”.
The ingredients were basically the same of the previous movie: a stellar cast (with Peter Ustinov, Jane Birkin and Maggie Smith returning, even if the ladies were cast in different roles), an exotic location (Mallorca, doubling for an unspecified Adriatic Island), the same screenwriter (Anthony Shaffer) and the same Oscar-winning costume designer. Even the poster concept was similar.

The result is on a par with the previous film: a good adaptation, with a cunning plot and an unexpected finale, with a beautiful look and a great selection of great actors. Continue reading