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Death on the Nile (1978)

Published: February 22, 2013

"Movie poster for the film Death on the Nile."

© Distributed by Paramount Pictures

The Post first ran Agatha Christie’s “Death on the Nile” on May 13, 1937, and completed the series in eight parts. In 1978, John Guillermin directed the highly successful film adaptation starring Mia Farrow, Lois Chiles, Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury, Maggie Smith, and Peter Ustinov in the first of his six appearances as the deductive hero, Hercule Poirot. Cybill Shepherd was originally offered the role of the ill-fated Linnet Ridgeway but she turned it down.

To ensue the film’s authenticity and adherence to Christie’s storyline, it was shot on location in Egypt for seven weeks, four weeks entirely on a riverboat steamer. The mid-day heat often rose to more than 130 degrees, halting production until temperatures cooled off. Due to the size of the boat, no one was allowed to have their own dressing room, so all five leading actresses had to share a single room (how that went over, one can only speculate.)

The film was nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film (England), one BAFTA for Best Actor (Ustinov) and two for Best Supporting Actress (Lansbury and Smith), and it won an Oscar and a BAFTA for Best Costume Design.

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