On March 11, 2009; I had posted a list of my favorite Agatha Christie novels. Below is a list of my favorite movies (theatrical or television) based upon any of the author's novels:
Top Ten Favorite AGATHA CHRISTIE Movies
1. "Death on the Nile" (1978) - Directed by John Guillerman, this adaptation of Christie's novel about the murder of an Anglo-American heiress featured Peter Ustinov's debut as Hercule Poirot. To this day, it is still my favorite Christie movie. Also starred Mia Farrow, David Niven, Lois Chiles, George Kennedy, Simon MacCorkindale, Angela Landsbury and Bette Davis.
2. "Evil Under the Sun" (1981) - For me, this adaptation of Christie's story about the murder of a vapid former stage actress at a holiday resort is a slight improvement over the novel. The setting is changed from an English beach resort to a Continental resort that features more theatrical types. Peter Ustinov returned as Poirot and his co-stars included Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, Denis Quilley, Nicholas Clay, Roddy McDowall, Jane Birkin and James Mason.
3. "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974) - This Academy Award nominated version of Christie's classic novel would have been at the top of my list, if it were not for the over-the-top production style that did not match the movie's very somber plotline. Albert Finney was fine as Poirot, but he also confirmed my belief that Englishmen SHOULD NOT portray Continental Europeans. At least Ustinov's ancestry was more European. And David Suchet had Russian and Jewish ancestry.
4. "The ABC Murders" (1992) - David Suchet portrays an excellent Poirot in this first-class television production of one of my favorite Christie novels about the hunt for a serial killer.
5. "And Then There Were None" (1945) - This is the only first-class version of Christie's famous novel about a weekend party that turns lethal for the inhabitants of an isolated island off the coast of Devon. Louis Heyward, June Duprez, Barry Fitzgerald and Walter Huston starred. Rene Clair directed.
6. "A Caribbean Mystery" (1983) - I really enjoyed this modern-day version of one of my favorite Christie novels about a series of murders at a Caribbean resort. Helen Hayes did a fine job as the very intelligent and observant Jane Marple.
7. "After the Funeral" (2006) - I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this adaptation of Christie's novel about the murderous aftermath following the death of the patriarch of a wealthy family. The revelation of the murderer will surprise you. David Suchet is excellent, as always, as Poirot. Geraldine James, Michael Fassbender and Lucy Punch co-star.
8. "The Mirror Crack'd" (1980) - Guy Hamilton directed his first adaptation of a Christie novel about the numerous attempts to murder a Hollywood star, who is filming a movie in England. Angela Landsbury portrays the indomitable Jane Marple, forshadowing her twelve years as mystery writer/sleuth Jessica Fletcher on television. Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Kim Novak, Geraldine Chaplin and Tony Curtis also make this movie memorable. And watch for future star Pierce Brosnan in a small role.
9. "Appointment With Death" (1988) - My only complaint about this version about the murder of the matriarch of an American family visiting Palestine is that its production values seemed slightly cheaper than previous big screen versions of Christie's novels. Peter Ustinov is fine as Poirot, but Piper Laurie is magnificent as the murder victim, the vicious Mrs. Boynton.
10. "Cards on the Table" (2005/2006) - David Suchet returned in this television adaptation of Christie's novel about the murder of Mr. Shaitana, a wealthy art collector, at a dinner party. This story also featured mystery writer Adrianne Oliver (Zoe Wanamaker). The changes in the plot may have harmed the story a bit, but Alexander Siddig is great as the mysterious Mr. Shaitana.