Article on the film Death On The Nile


Death On The Nile is amongst Agatha Christies most renowned books and it was the first of the publisher’s videos I watched. The 1978 classic saw Peter Ustinov take the leading role as the fictional, Belgium detective Hercule Poirot and his travelling companion Colonel Race who was played by David Niven.

As the title suggests, the film is set on the River Nile in Egypt. The minute a young heiress is killed, Poirot is asked to clear up the crime. The movie is set aboard the Nile River boat the SS Cataract with stops at several of Egypt’s most commonly known ancient locations.

Shortly after Linnet Doyle (nee Ridgeway) is murdered it quickly becomes obvious that there is at least one person with a potential motive for murder. Linnet Doyle was on honeymoon in Egypt with her new husband Simon. The husband and wife were being shadowed by Jacqueline, Simon’s former lover. She pursues the husband and wife from the Pyramids in Cairo down to the Nile and boards the SS Cataract.

Linnet Doyle was the initial victim and as Poirot started to look at, the various suspects motives began to be uncovered. Her valuable pendant was sought after by Mrs van Schuyler, Salome Otterbourne faced a libel suit from Doyle over a piece she had composed, Doyle had refused her maid the dowry she had guaranteed and there were some others too.

As the boat cruised down the Nile stopping at destinations including the Temple of Karnak, Aswan and the Temple of Abu Simbel, other individuals were also being slain. Finally Poirot works out the observations and the murderers are unmasked. Simon Doyle had married Linnet to get easy access to her cash. With her out of the way, Simon would be clear to marry his real love, Jacqueline.

The deaths don’t halt here as in desperation, Jacqueline first kills Simon followed by herself rather than face justice. Originally composed in the 1930s, the novel is a Christie classic. Even though a number of the trips are improbable (such as cruising from Karnak to Abu Simbel in an afternoon), this doesn’t take away from the movie by any means. Thankfully, the present day holiday makers don’t undergo quite so much drama on their Nile Cruise holidays.

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