Tagged: Death on the Nile (1978)

Death on the Nile: Peter Ustinov’s Dinner Suit as Poirot

Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot in Death on the Nile (1978)

Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot in Death on the Nile (1978)

Vitals

Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot, eccentric Belgian detective

Egypt, September 1937

Film: Death on the Nile
Release Date: September 29, 1978
Director: John Guillermin
Costume Designer: Anthony Powell

Background

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Peter Ustinov, the brilliant dramatist and diplomat who—among his many achievements—played Agatha Christie’s celebrated sleuth Hercule Poirot in a half-dozen productions.

Fluent in multiple languages, Ustinov was easily able to glide between the English and French required to play the fussy Belgian detective and was able to provide his own voice in the French and German versions of his movies, including several of the Poirot productions.

Death on the Nile was the first—and often considered the strongest—of Ustinov’s six films as Poirot. Continue reading

Death on the Nile: Peter Ustinov’s Tropical Norfolk Suit as Poirot

Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot in Death on the Nile (1978)

Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot in Death on the Nile (1978)

Vitals

Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot, eccentric Belgian detective

Egypt, September 1937

Film: Death on the Nile
Release Date: September 29, 1978
Director: John Guillermin
Costume Designer: Anthony Powell

Background

In his adaptation of perhaps the best-known Hercule Poirot mystery from Agatha Christie’s prolific canon, Kenneth Branagh all but confirmed at the end of Murder on the Orient Express that his follow-up film would find the fussy Belgian detective solving a murder “right on the bloody Nile!”

Indeed, just weeks after Murder on the Orient Express was released in November 2017, it was officially announced that Death on the Nile would be entering production as the third major adaptation of Christie’s 1937 novel. Even after the intended December 2019 release was postponed to October 9, 2020, Death on the Nile joined the ranks of films like The Many Saints of NewarkNo Time to Die, and Tenet whose release dates were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The October date was optimistically shifted forward two weeks to October 23 (today!) before the perhaps more realistic release date of December 18 was announced.

Of course, Christie fans looking to get their Nile fix have long had a very watchable solution available with the 1978 adaptation of Death on the Nile, the first of six films to star two-time Academy Award winner Peter Ustinov as the detail-oriented detective.

Continue reading

David Niven’s Taupe Suit in Death on the Nile

David Niven as Colonel Race in Death on the Nile (1978)

David Niven as Colonel Race in Death on the Nile (1978)

Vitals

David Niven as Colonel Johnny Race, lawyer and war veteran

Egypt, September 1937

Film: Death on the Nile
Release Date: September 29, 1978
Director: John Guillermin
Costume Designer: Anthony Powell

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Following the grand success of 1974’s Murder on the Orient Express, one of the few adaptations of her work actually endorsed by Agatha Christie herself, producers rushed to find the next of her books to be adapted into a lavish, star-studded affair.

Death on the Nile was published in 1937, three years but ten books after Murder on the Orient Express, and included all of the necessary ingredients for success: the return of eccentric detective Hercule Poirot, an exotic location, and a glamorous victim among an international cast of characters… all of whom had the motive and means to commit the crime.

Poirot’s “boy Friday” to help him solve the case came in the form of Colonel Race, a steadfast Brit who first appeared in Christie’s earlier novel The Man in the Brown Suit. David Niven affably portrays the capable colonel with dignified charm and deadpan wit, often serving as the straightforward foil to Peter Ustinov’s more bombastic Poirot. Continue reading

David Niven’s Blazer in Death on the Nile

David Niven as Colonel Race in Death on the Nile (1978).

David Niven as Colonel Race in Death on the Nile (1978).

Vitals

David Niven as Colonel Johnny Race, dignified lawyer and war veteran

Egypt, September 1937

Film: Death on the Nile
Release Date: September 29, 1978
Director: John Guillermin
Costume Designer: Anthony Powell

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As we in the Northern Hemisphere enjoy the first full day of summer, BAMF Style is focusing on a classic warm weather look from the quintessential gentleman, David Niven. Niven’s character, Colonel Johnny Race, was written as an MI5 agent in Christie’s novels but appears here to be more of a lawyer who is tasked with a murder investigation due to his long friendship with Poirot and his dignified upper class standing.

David Niven was one of many stars featured in the trio of lavish Agatha Christie murder mystery adaptations in the ’70s and ’80s that were often studded with a cavalcade of international acting talent. 1978’s Death on the Nile alone featured Niven, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, and Maggie Smith plus the decade’s Shakespearean newcomers Jon Finch and Olivia Hussey as well as Jack “that’s what I call fuckin'” Warden. Peter Ustinov took over the role of the eccentric, brilliant, and pompous Hercule Poirot – a role he would play five more times – in a perfect example of marketing a famously mustached character without overdoing it.

Although the “series” was sumptuously costumed with period attire for all, Anthony Powell’s costume design talent won him both the Academy Award and the BAFTA for Death on the Nile. (It’s worth mentioning that Tony Walton’s costume design for Murder on the Orient Express had been nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA, and Powell’s work on Evil Under the Sun has been thrice featured on BAMF Style already.)

What’d He Wear?

Colonel Race exudes British military elegance in his double-breasted navy blazer, white trousers and shoes, and regimental striped tie. Continue reading