Now that Kenneth Branagh’s lavish, all-star version of Murder on the Orient Express has steamed into cinemas, what could be a better time to celebrate the release of four equally glossy and glamorous Agatha Christie adaptations from the 1970s and early 1980s, issued as part of StudioCanal’s Vintage Classics collection in brand new digital restorations taken from 4k transfers.
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Sidney Lumet’s sumptuous adaptation of Christie’s most famous tale saw an Oscar-nominated Albert Finney hamming it up in fine style as her iconic Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. He’s on board the snowbound train of the title, of course, investigating the murder of Richard Widmark’s shady American millionaire. His suspects include Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Lauren Bacall, Michael York and Jacqueline Bissett.
Ingrid Bergman won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role, and the film picked up five further Oscar nominations – Finney for Best Actor; Paul Dehn for Adapted Screenplay; Geoffrey Unsworth for Cinematography; Tony Walton for Costume Design; and Richard Rodney Bennett for his evocative score.
Certificate PG. Runtime 122 mins. Director: Sidney Lumet
Includes art cards of original press book.
Extras - Making Of (50mins) - NEW interview with producer Richard Goodwin - Behind the scenes stills gallery
Death on the Nile (1978)
Peter Ustinov’s Hercule Poirot is even more eccentric than his predecessor’s. In his first turn as Christie’s sleuth he is enjoying a holiday aboard a luxury steamer on the River Nile when a mysterious assailant takes the life of beautiful American heiress Linnet Ridgeway (played by Lois Chiles, who went on to play Holly Goodhead in next year’s Bond movie Moonraker). Mia Farrow, Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury and Maggie Smith feature among the colourful line up of suspects. Antony Powell's costumes won an Oscar, and Fellini’s favourite composer, Nino Rota, supplied the music.
Certificate PG. Runtime 134 mins. Director: John Guillermin
Includes 5 Costume Design art cards.
Extras - Making Of - NEW Interview with costume designer Anthony Powell - NEW Interview with Dame Angela Lansbury - Behind the scenes stills gallery - NEW Interview with producer Richard Goodwin - Costume designs stills gallery
The Mirror Crack’d (1980)
The arrival of a Hollywood film crew shatters the rural English calm of the village of St Mary Mead, introducing inflated egos, bitchiness and cold-blooded murder. Investigating, of course, is Christie’s spinster sleuth Miss Marple, played by Angela Lansbury in a dry run for her long run as Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Kim Novak and Tony Curtis supply Hollywood glamour in the supporting cast, yet Edward Fox’s Scotland Yard inspector steals the acting honours.
Certificate PG. Runtime 101 mins. Director: Guy Hamilton
Includes 5 storyboard design art cards.
EXTRAS - NEW Interview with writer Barry Sandler (14mins) - NEW Interview with Dame Angela Lansbury (5mins) - Behind the scenes stills gallery - NEW Interview with producer Richard Goodwin (10mins)
Evil Under the Sun (1981)
Peter Ustinov returns to the role of the sleuthing Belgian and goes about solving a baffling murder on an island resort in the Adriatic. It's a fairly leisurely affair but good camp fun with music by Cole Porter and a sterling British cast that includes James Mason, Diana Rigg, Roddy McDowall and Downton Abbey's Maggie Smith.
Certificate PG. Runtime 111 mins. Director: Guy Hamilton
Includes 5 cast photograph art cards.
EXTRAS - Making Of (15mins) - NEW Interview with costume designer Anthony Powell (8mins) - NEW Interview with writer Barry Sandler (8mins) - Behind the scenes stills gallery - NEW Interview with producer Richard Goodwin (6mins) - Costume designs stills gallery
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