The first Agatha Christie tale to be filmed was The Passing of Mr. Quin in 1928.

Over the next 92 years there would be more versions of her works than anyone might imagine.

Today, according to imdb, there are six projects in development, and three (film and TV) in production.

Between 1974 and 1982, there were four productions under the production banner of John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin – Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Death on the Nile (1978), The Mirror Crack’d (1980), Evil Under the Sun (1982), which are a cut above.

Peopled with wonderful casts, two had Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot, one Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple (she also appeared in Death on the Nile), and the earliest Albert Finney in the role of Poirot.

Kino will be releasing three on September 1. Murder on the Orient Express being the sole missing title.

All four have been previously released via the Netherlands in a boxed set, priced at $135, so one might presume that Orient Express will find it’s way domestically via Kino.

Thus far, I’ve only had a chance to sample one, Death on the Nile, and have come away extremely pleased with Canal’s master.

Beautiful color, a wonderfully resolved image, superb black levels. I look forward to reporting on the other two, but this one shines, and is a huge upgrade from the old DVD.

For those unaware, the cast of suspects:

Jane Birkin, Bette Davis, Jon Finch, George Kennedy, Simon Corkindale, Maggie Smith, Lois Chiles, Mia Farrow, Olivia Hussey, Angela Lansbury, David Niven and Jack Warden.

Is Death on the Nile great filmmaking?

It’s nicely entertaining.

If you’re seeking something more modern, and with a bit larger budget, Kenneth Branagh’s new production, due shortly, may fill the bill, with the director as Poirot, following up his 2017 Murder on the Orient Express.

But for the late 1970s to early ’80s, it’s wonderful seeing some of our favorite actors do their stuff.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Yes

Recommended.

RAH

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ToddF

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Studio Canal released these films on Blu-ray a few years ago in Germany and the UK. I wonder if they are the same transfers?
 

haineshisway

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Let me be the one to say that you all better pray that Murder on the Orient Express does NOT come from Studio Canal sources. It's disgustingly bad, with redone end credits (replete with misspelled names) and I'd have to watch again but I think that even the main titles were redone. The color is hideous. And I believe the reason for all of it is that whatever source is held by Studio Canal was an overseas source where the credits had to be replaced with foreign credits and therefore they had all that blank, which would account for redoing them. Paramount released here and I'm here to tell you whatever negative THEY have is great - perfect color, correct titles front and back - if you love the film you will need the DVD until Paramount gets around to it themselves - I can't imagine they don't own the film for the US. I'm sure these other transfers are exactly the same as their overseas counterparts - for assessments of those at the time, including from me, there were one or two threads.
 

Thomas T

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If you're seeking something more modern, and with a bit larger budget, Kenneth Branagh's new production, due shortly, may fill the bill, with the director as Poirot, following up his 2017 Murder on the Orient Express.
To say I loathed Branagh's 2017 adaptation of Christie's Murder On The Orient Express is an understatement. It was a travesty of her novel. I'll be skipping his version of Death On The Nile, thank you very much! With Imprint films in Australia releasing some much wanted Paramount titles, I'm hoping Murder On The Orient Express will be part of their upcoming Paramount releases.
 

lark144

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Let me be the one to say that you all better pray that Murder on the Orient Express does NOT come from Studio Canal sources. It's disgustingly bad, with redone end credits (replete with misspelled names) and I'd have to watch again but I think that even the main titles were redone. The color is hideous. And I believe the reason for all of it is that whatever source is held by Studio Canal was an overseas source where the credits had to be replaced with foreign credits and therefore they had all that blank, which would account for redoing them. Paramount released here and I'm here to tell you whatever negative THEY have is great - perfect color, correct titles front and back - if you love the film you will need the DVD until Paramount gets around to it themselves - I can't imagine they don't own the film for the US. I'm sure these other transfers are exactly the same as their overseas counterparts - for assessments of those at the time, including from me, there were one or two threads.
Bruce, which Blu-Ray do you have of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, THE 1ST OR 2ND RELEASE? I have the 2nd, and I think the color is much superior to that on the Paramount DVD. I absolutely love it.
 
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Will Krupp

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Let me be the one to say that you all better pray that Murder on the Orient Express does NOT come from Studio Canal sources. It's disgustingly bad, with redone end credits (replete with misspelled names) and I'd have to watch again but I think that even the main titles were redone. The color is hideous. And I believe the reason for all of it is that whatever source is held by Studio Canal was an overseas source where the credits had to be replaced with foreign credits and therefore they had all that blank, which would account for redoing them. Paramount released here and I'm here to tell you whatever negative THEY have is great - perfect color, correct titles front and back - if you love the film you will need the DVD until Paramount gets around to it themselves - I can't imagine they don't own the film for the US. I'm sure these other transfers are exactly the same as their overseas counterparts - for assessments of those at the time, including from me, there were one or two threads.
I agree with you regarding the FIRST blu-ray release of ORIENT, which was a terrible mess, but Studio Canal reissued remastered versions of the four classic EMI's in late 2017. The credits are the originals again and have no mistakes. I can't speak with any authority as to the color but it doesn't have the sickly yellow look of that first release. I think it's a much improved version (but has always been my least favorite of the three Poirots anyway.)

 
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midvalleyguy

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The 2004 TV movie of Death on the Nile has just been shown on Australian TV. Superbly produced, and for me, David Suchet IS Poiret. I won't be bothering with any other versions, especially the new one by Kenneth Branagh.
 
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If Branagh's version of Murder on the Orient Express is any example, his version of Death on the Nile won't be appointment viewing, the opposite of which I can say with GREAT enthusiasm about the 1977 version. I love it! And the mystery itself is one of Mrs. Christie's very finest concoctions.
 

Will Krupp

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If Branagh's version of Murder on the Orient Express is any example, his version of Death on the Nile won't be appointment viewing, the opposite of which I can say with GREAT enthusiasm about the 1977 version. I love it! And the mystery itself is one of Mrs. Christie's very finest concoctions.
I agree. I found Branagh's ORIENT to be only so-so at best, although I strangely prefer Michelle Pfeiffer to Lauren Bacall as Mrs. Hubbard. Now I LOVE Bacall (so please save your cards and letters!) but I find her the weak link in the 1974 version as she doesn't even attempt to be "period" and it's always irritated me. My enthusiasm for the 1978 NILE and the 1982 EVIL, however, cannot be underestimated.

I LOVE that KINO seems to be using the original Richard Amsel US poster as cover art as it's always been one of my absolute favorites. I love that he's buried humorous touches in it if you look closely enough, like the murder weapons in the sphinx's (is that even a sphinx?) hands and the crazy hieroglyphs between the floating heads. Between these posters and his superb TV Guide covers, NOTHING epitomizes the 70's early 80's TV and moviegoing experience like Amsel art, IMO. I look at a poster like this and I can still smell the popcorn.



A true icon whose work we've all seen (from THE STING to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK) but whose name too few know. We lost him way too soon.

 
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Big Gay Andy

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He also did the Hello, Dolly! movie poster and the cover illustrations for Bette Midler's first two albums, The Divine Miss M. and the self-titled Bette Midler. Both classic albums.
 

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I agree with you regarding the FIRST blu-ray release of ORIENT, which was a terrible mess, but Studio Canal reissued remastered versions of the four classic EMI's in late 2017. The credits are the originals again and have no mistakes. I can't speak with any authority as to the color but it doesn't have the sickly yellow look of that first release. I think it's a much improved version (but has always been my least favorite of the three Poirots anyway.)

Let me get this straight: I buy a box set with all these movies, back in December of 2013. Then they issue a NEW box set with a NEW transfer of Orient Express so everyone gets to buy it again because THEY screwed up? Is there a standalone disc for that title?
 
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David Weicker

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Let me get this straight: I buy a box set with all these movies, back in December of 2013. Then they issue a NEW box set with a NEW transfer of Orient Express so everyone gets to buy it again because THEY screwed up? Is there a standalone disc for that title?
Here is the Amazon UK listing for the 2017 rerelease

Amazon product
 

Will Krupp

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Let me get this straight: I buy a box set with all these movies, back in December of 2013. Then they issue a NEW box set with a NEW transfer of Orient Express so everyone gets to buy it again because THEY screwed up? Is there a standalone disc for that title?
Sorta kinda? :P

I don't BELIEVE the 2017 re-masters were a box set, though. I'm pretty sure they were all issued as standalone discs. And all four of the titles were remastered and all are far superior to their 2013 incarnations, though EVIL, which was the best looking of the original releases, doesn't gain as much from the upgrade because it wasn't as piss-poor as ORIENT or the creaky old transfer of NILE (with neon green lawns) to begin with.

They're REGION B though!

 
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Will Krupp

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Okay so this is an odd turn of events. I just made the decision to buy NILE and EVIL from Amazon on Sunday with an expected delivery date of Thursday the 3rd. Yesterday I get a notice that they'll actually be here on Tuesday (today) and sure enough, they were both delivered this morning. I was on my way out but had to spot check. I was convinced they were going to be the exact same masters/transfers (I never know which word I should be using) as the 2017 Studio Canal discs.

They are NOT.

I should correct myself to say that I know EVIL UNDER THE SUN is decidedly different as that's the only one I've had the chance to see yet. I can assume that both are not the same 2017 transfers but I don't know that for certain at this point. I watched EVIL because I know there were some less than stellar moments I wanted to check and it would be easier to tell. I've always thought the 2017 SC release has a too bright gamma that makes certain shots (the people playing on beach when Poirot visits the yacht, our first glimpse of the Redferns in the restaurant, etc) seem a little "thin." I figured that would be easy to see if there was a difference.

The KINO disc is darker than the SC with a richer black level and more film grain that was obvious from a cursory viewing. When I was able to take the time to compare the two discs, I was also able to spot that there's more facial detail in closeups on the new disc as well. Some of the background FEELS softer on the KINO disc but this MAY be chalked up to manipulation on the Studio Canal release.

The ONLY drawback to the new disc (and your mileage may vary on this) is that, as well as having a darker image, the color is warmer and, though slightly more saturated, has less "pop" than the brighter, cooler Studio Canal disc. I must assume that this is more correct (I saw it back in 1982 but can't speak definitively, lol) and the new disc has a more consistent image.
 
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lark144

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Okay so this is an odd turn of events. I just made the decision to buy NILE and EVIL from Amazon on Sunday with an expected delivery date of Thursday the 3rd. Yesterday I get a notice that they'll actually be here on Tuesday (today) and sure enough, they were both delivered this morning. I was on my way out but had to spot check. I was convinced they were going to be the exact same masters/transfers (I never know which word I should be using) as the 2017 Studio Canal discs.

They are NOT.

I should correct myself to say that I know EVIL UNDER THE SUN is decidedly different as that's the only one I've had the chance to see yet. I can assume that both are not the same 2017 transfers but I don't know that for certain at this point. I watched EVIL because I know there were some less than stellar moments I wanted to check and it would be easier to tell. I've always thought the 2017 SC release has a too bright gamma that makes certain shots (the people playing on beach when Poirot visits the yacht, our first glimpse of the Redferns in the restaurant, etc) seem a little "thin." I figured that would be easy to see if there was a difference.

The KINO disc is darker than the SC with a richer black level and more film grain that was obvious from a cursory viewing. When I was able to take the time to compare the two discs, I was also able to spot that there's more facial detail in closeups on the new disc as well. Some of the background FEELS softer on the KINO disc but this MAY be chalked up to manipulation on the Studio Canal release.

The ONLY drawback to the new disc (and your mileage may vary on this) is that, as well as having a darker image, the color is warmer and, though slightly more saturated, has less "pop" than the brighter, cooler Studio Canal disc. I must assume that this is more correct (I saw it back in 1982 but can't speak definitively, lol) and the new disc has a more consistent image.

Thanks, Will, for the post. We need someone with a pure soul, such as yourself, to delve into this heart of darkness. Which disc, the Canal or the Kino, will shine the most delight into these tired and baleful eyes? I await your latest installment in this ongoing mystery with baited breath.

...or as someone else might say, "Oh, my goodness gracious me! Does this mean I'm going to have to shell out for these babies again?"
 

Will Krupp

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...or as someone else might say, "Oh, my goodness gracious me! Does this mean I'm going to have to shell out for these babies again?"
I feel you. I've already bought both of these movies on the old HBO VHS cassettes, the Anchor Bay DVDs, and TWICE on the Studio Canal blu-rays. I'm not even pretending to be fiscally responsible anymore (what can I say? Simon MacCorkindale really SENDS me.)

My advice to you is this, if you have the Studio Canal blu-ray of EVIL UNDER THE SUN and you're not bothered by the things I mentioned (the "for better or worse" quite bright picture, the occasionally "thin" shots, the "probably wrong but pleasing nonetheless" color tone, etc) then don't make yourself nuts. Enjoy it. It's a very nice package and comes with a packet of some gorgeous stills that I've never seen before. I strongly believe, however, that the new KINO disc is likely closer to the original look of the film (though I need to see it again when I have time to more closely asses) and I was not expecting to see more detail in Maggie Smith's face when she was squaring off with Diana Rigg at check-in. I'm still not sure about the background softness but, as I said, I need to look at it again.

Now DEATH ON THE NILE, which I DID watch and compare tonight, has a much much slimmer difference between the two. It's clearly the same source and the same color tone, but this new KINO disc has a consistently higher bitrate, seemingly better compression, and an overall image that is better resolved, but only really noticeable if you're comparing them. The black levels are ever so slightly deeper, giving a slight contrast boost. It's really a terrific presentation (but the Studio Canal is no slouch either.) It's not the same difference noticeable in the EVIL disc. If you're a Simon MacCorkindale super fan (like me!) you'll NEED the new NILE disc, but casual fans who already have the second Studio Canal disc can likely make do with that one.

Hope that helps!!