29 thoughts on “TBT x 2 = Poirot: Death on the Nile & Evil Under the Sun

  1. Loved both films. Ustinov played Poirot as well as anyone before David Suchet, who has probably established the benchmark for future actors. But you hit my English button with the “Big Reveal”! I hate this rubbish of using verbs as nouns because apparently the younger generation is too poorly educated to know the difference between verbs and nouns. Revelation and failure are still the proper nominative forms despite what TV commentators seems to think.

    1. Not only is Suchet pretty much the definitive Poirot—this according to Christie’s grandson—but the period feel of the programs is spot on, starting with the opening Art Deco animated credits—complete with a De Chirico finish—and playing through in the sets and costumes.

  2. If you enjoyed these two, then you really *must* see the 1974 version of “Murder on the Orient Express.” Stellar cast, excellent story, and the costumes are glorious. Whenever I’m feeling drab and humdrum, I watch this to remember what glamour used to be.

    1. Yep. James Coco was an excellent Poirot, and I believe Ingrid Bergmann won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role.

      1. MoHub … James Coco was Poirot in Murder by Death, not on Murder on the Orient Express … that was Albert Finney :-)

  3. Apparently for the location (on the boat) parts of Death on the Nile, Smith, Landsbury and Davis shared a dressing room due to the cramped quarters … oh to be a fly on *that* wall when the cocktails came out after a long day of glamor :-)
    Also, Niven and Ustinov were old chums. They served in the Army together, and Ustinov was Niven’s batman (military valet).

  4. Since Niven was seconded from a Highland regiment to the Commandos, it must have made for some interesting times for Ustinov. For anyone who might not know. Patrick MacNee, Niven’s cousin, served in the Royal Navy.

  5. Evil Under the Sun is one of my favorite movies of all time! (Next to REBECCA) – SO happy you got around to a Frock Flicks review. Even as a little girl, I knew it was very 80’s in its 1930’s way, but I just didn’t care :) I used this in Grad School in one of many semesters of Costume History when we analyzed costumes in film – noting elements of when the contemporary influenced the film’s time period.
    Death on the Nile – also a classic! I just love Ustinov as Poirot – but Souchet is also fantastic – and that series has great costumes!

  6. [“Linnet’s ex-best-friend is Jacqueline, played by Mia Farrow with a questionable English accent. She’s decently slinky and sparkly too.”]

    Her accent is “questionable” because her character is an American (with Latin ancestry) who went to school in England.

  7. I think you’re reading too much into the 1980s aspect of the costumes for “EVIL UNDER THE SUN”. The movie was set in the late 1930s, not the early or mid part of that decade. And you also have to take into account that most of the characters are/were in show business or came from new money . . . aside from the Redferns, who were definitely middle-class.

    1. I remember exactly that Anthony Powell picked the year of its setting as 1936. And there is that “conspicuous consumption” Reagan-era 1980s influence, as she wrote, although she should give them a break with Smith’s hair, as the initial marcelled look was awful for that character.

  8. you didn’t show my absolute favorite outfit from Evil Under the Sun – Christine’s stunning black & white ensemble, at the end, when she wasn’t playing the mousy wife anymore. I’ve always wanted to wear that outfit!

    1. Yes, so very angular and chic and then she jinxes it as she rips apart Maggie Smith: “Your ensemble (French pronunciation) does nothing for you.”

  9. Kendra, I very much enjoyed this page as I am a Agatha Christie devotee. And yes, I do agree w/you that the 80’s were too prominent when it came to outfits and hair. This decade exaggerated the mane and shoulders by using graphics and bold colors, etc. You are totally right on. I could not believe – that anyone would even think of wearing those fruit jellies and fruit bowl – a la Carmen Miranda. But of course, having Betty, Diana, Angela and Dame Maggie – how can a film loose (?) These ladies are the best in cinema. :)

  10. my dad loves the robe worn by peter ustinov in evil under the sun he keeps threatening to look for one i am at the moment but cant find one was it especially made i wonder and who has it now

  11. Love both of these films! I’m a published paper doll artist, and am currently working on a paper doll set of characters from “Death on the Nile”…the intricate costumes are challenging, but it’s a labor of love!

    1. Won’t you notify me of the paper dolls? I thought only Tom Tierney was doing that sort of thing. I am much obliged. Will you be including Vuitton luggage for Arlene Marshall?

      1. Will do, Frederic. Tom was just the most prolific! The Vuitton luggage would be a nice extra for extra Arlena!

      2. Frederic, type in my name at Instagram…my page has many images of my Agatha Christie paper dolls…

  12. I too had moments of amusement watching Death on the Nile, and I really enjoy when designers get right things like the period bathing dress and bohemian looks. I would love your take on the BBC Suchet Poirot series. Miss Lemon’s costumes are great imho although not sure if they are technically accurate to Christie’s original character who I thought was supposed to be more doudy. She is fastidious though which totally works costume wise. There are so many details in the series that I find them a stylistic pleasure to watch.

  13. I love the costumes best in “Death on the Nile:, they gave me my first taste of modern interpretation of vintage as a girl. The black and white theme reminds me a bit of “The Cat’s Meow” which was also quite amazing.

    David Suchet IS the best Poirot, and the series sports some delicious clothing and sets. The perfect subject for a few new posts – I’m a big fan so I whole heartily approve.

  14. Kendra,

    A fine article and you make a good point about the 1980s bleeding into EUTS and especially Smith’s hair, but have you looked at the first hairstyle she sported: marcel waves. There are several photos of her in pre-publicity but I am thinking she looked to severa and mannish as if her Daphne was an extension of Bette Davis’ companion from DOTN, It is rare for a period film to not be polluted by the times in which it’s shot: Julie Christie in DR ZHIVAGO comes to mind, but there are exceptions, e.g., another Anthony Powell job and Oscar winner: TESS.

    The costumes for DOTN were fine but so safe. Surely someone would have worn overly colorful shirts or jackets in the desert (besides the obvious Salome Otterbourne).

    And I was gobsmacked after years of just a generic Cole Porter cassette offered as the companion to the EUTS film when the actual soundtrack was released!

    Frederic Kahler

  15. The guy who remade Orient Express is about to launch a new Death on tha Nile the trailer wasn’t very promising to me and get Wonder Woman to play your bitchy rich murder victim just doesn’t seems right. What do you think?

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