Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976) was a British writer well known for her unpredictable crime novels, which made fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple world famous.
During her lifetime, she published more than 80 works, being recognized by her as the most successful novelist in the world, with more than 4 billion copies sold, second only to William Shakespeare and the Bible.
Despite having already published six books, his success was in 1926, with his masterpiece: . In its first year of publication, it sold 5000 editions and, in 1928, it was adapted by the author herself to star on the stages of West End, in London, under the name of Alibi. Since then, Christie has become popularly known as the “Queen of Crime”, having been successful with many works and becoming a reference in investigative literature.
With such success, many of his works were adapted for the stages and for the screens of cinema and television. Here are 5 nominations for these films:
The Invisible Avenger (1945)
Work by French director and writer René Clair and with a script by Dudley Nichols, () based on Christie’s book (1939), tells the story of eight people with no apparent connection who are invited to spend a weekend in a mansion in an island off the coast of Devon, England.
However, their host, Mr. UN Owen, has never been seen by any of those present and does not appear to welcome them during dinner. However, he warns through a couple of employees that he will be late. However, as soon as the eight guests sit down at the table to eat, a recording accuses everyone present of having committed murder and that there will now be justice. Thus, a succession of unexpected deaths begins, until just one.
Starring Barry Fitzgerald (Francis Quinncannon), Walter Hudson (Dr. Armstrong) and Louis Hayward (Philip Lombard), the film was very well received by critics and won the Golden Leopard for Best Film and Best Direction at the Locarno International Film Festival in 1946.
Watch the full movie on YouTube by clicking the link.
Witness of the Prosecution (1957)
Movie poster. | Source: Rotten Tomatoes.
The film is based on the eponymous short story first published in the book in 1932, along with 11 other short stories. Directed by Billy Wilder and screenplay co-adapted by Larry Marcus and Harry Kurnitz, it features a cast of great actors from the 50s / 60s in the main roles: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietcrich, Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester.
The dramatic plot begins when lawyer Sir Wilfrid Robarts (Laughton) suffers a heart attack and is advised by doctors to leave work. However, he agrees, against Nurse Miss. Plimsoll (Lanchester), in defending Leonard Vole (Power), arrested on charges of murdering a wealthy widow who had fallen in love with him. However, Vole’s only alibi is the testimony of his wife, Christine (Dietrich), who, to everyone’s surprise, becomes a witness for the prosecution against her husband.
The film was globally acclaimed, being shown as “an intelligent and elegant adaptation of the successful play by Agatha Christie, brought to the screen with ingenuity and vitality” by the critic of and, in 1958, was nominated for six Oscar categories and five for the Globe of Gold, with Elsa Lanchester winning as ‘Best Supporting Actress’.
Watch the full dubbed movie here.
Who Saw, Who Killed? (1961)
British poster for the film Quem Viu, Quem Matou? | Photo: Fisken Poster.
Based on the book (), first published in 1957, the film () features mystery lady Jane Marple, on the cinema screens while looking out the window on a train trip and witnessing a woman being strangled to death. death. Upon notifying the police, Miss Marple fails to convince them to investigate the case even with a detailed description of the scene. Deciding to find out what happened on her own, she quickly gets a job as a housekeeper in a nearby mansion and her investigation begins.
Directed by George Pollock, scripted by David Pursall and Jack Seddon and starring the renowned English actress Margaret Rutherford, it is not Agatha Christie’s favorite adaptation, mainly due to the differences between the book and the script, with emphasis on the character Mr. Stringer, played by Stringer Davis, Rutherford’s husband, who doesn’t exist in the original story.
However, it received a lot of positive reviews and marked the beginning of a four-film partnership between director Pollock and the lead actress, all based on works by Christie: Sherlock in Skirts (1963), Crime About Crime (1964) and Murder Ahoy! (1964).
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Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
UK movie poster (1974). | Photo: Wikipedia.
Based on the eponymous 1934 book, it became one of Christie’s best-known and most acclaimed stories, having sold 3 million copies in her debut year. The 1974 film is one of the most famous adaptations of the work.
Directed by Sidney Lumet and scripted by Paul Dehn, the feature features a strong cast from the 60s, 70s and 80s: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York, Jacqueline Bisset, Wendy Hiller and Antony Perkins.
The story relates the episode in which the famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot (Finney), hurriedly embarks on the Orient Express train leaving Turkey for France. The train, however, is stopped halfway by a heavy snowstorm and Ratchett (Richard Windmark) dawns brutally murdered in his cabin. So it’s up to Poirot to find out which of the mysterious passengers was the criminal.
With a great reception and many positive reviews, the film was nominated for six Oscar categories, with Ingrid Bergman taking the award for ‘Best Supporting Actress’, and ten BAFTA nominations, winning the ‘Best Actor’ awards for John Gielgud, ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for Bergman and ‘Best Music’ for Richard Rodney Bennett.
In 2017, Kenneth Branagh directed and starred as Poirot in a second film adaptation with a cast equal to the first film: Michelle Pfeiffer, Derek Jacobi, Judi Dench, Olivia Colman, Penélope Cruz, Lucy Boynton, Willem Dafoe, Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad and Johnny Depp, however without achieving the success of his predecessor.
Agatha Christie, very demanding with the adaptations of her books, said that (1974) and (1957) were the only ones she liked.
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Death on the Nile (1978)
Enthusiastic about the prospect of another such success, the distributor quickly decided to adapt yet another detective novel by Agatha Christie: published in 1937.
The story was then scripted by Anthony Shaffer and the feature was directed by John Guillermin. When Albert Finney was unable to repeat his role as detective Hercule Poirot, the producers opted to call actor Peter Ustinov to play the character, followed by an experienced cast including Angela Lansbury, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Maggie Smith, David Kiven, George Kennedy and Jack Warden.
In the plot, Poirot is on vacation on a cruise on the River Nile, when he finds himself in the middle of a love triangle that ends in murder. When Jackie de Bellefont (Farrow) asks her heir friend Linnet Ridgeway (Lois Chiles) to employ her fiancé, Simon Doyle (Simon MacCorkindale), he didn’t think they would end up getting married. Jackie then chases the new couple during their honeymoon in Egypt and embarks with them on the same cruise as Poirot. When Linnet appears dead, however, Poirot takes over the investigation only to discover that many of the ship’s passengers had reason to kill the young woman.
Despite weak box office and divided criticisms, he became a public favorite and was nominated in four BAFTA categories, taking the award for ‘Best Costume Design’ to Anthony Powell, was nominated for a Golden Globe for ‘Best Foreign Film’ and won a Oscar also for ‘Best Costume Design’.
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