Agatha Christie Murder Mystery Collection
Review By: Gringo

A while ago I was bored, so I decided to rent a four-disc DVD set from the public library. Sadly, it wasn't the Rainbow bumper pack I'd been hoping for, but instead was four Agatha Christie movies that were produced by two people (I'm sure a lot of others were involved) in the 1970s and 1980s.

Now, I've read quite a few Christie murder mysteries - I have been on a lot of long, boring trips and needed something - but for books, I really tend to prefer things with plain pictures I can colour in with my crayons. It's easier on my brain for books to be filmed, which is why watching these four movies was a brain treat from the gods.

That, and the nearly ten hours combined running time broke up my usual daily routine of wake-work-eat-masturbate-sleep.

So! What did I think of these movies, you are no doubt asking impatiently, sweat dripping from your smelly body, wringing your hands nervously and anticipating the moment GRINGO REVEALS ALL! Well, calm down and stop over-reacting you stupid prick, because as the title of this article suggest, I'm about to review all four of the murder mystery DVDs. I really need to get out more.

Murder On The Orient Express. In this movie some people, a fat Belgian detective and a few crew members get on a luxury train (the Orient Express, if you will) and then one of them is murdered. Who is guilty?! Sneak secrets revealed: they all did it! No, really!

This was the only movie to star Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot, and he's amusing to watch if a little bit bizarre. He seems to have this hunched shoulder thing going on and the manic way he turns his head from side to side reminds me of that dopey detective out of the Pink Panther cartoons.

I really, really, really (really!) like this movie and the cast is made up of several winners, from Lauren Bacall to Sean Connery. I think Uncle Sean, as we call him round Gringo Towers, was meant to be an upper crust English Colonel. As you can probably imagine, his "English" way of saying "that's spiffing" is more like a rabid monkey spitting out "SHAT'S SHPIFFING" thanks to his Scottish tones.

Sadly, the million-dollar finale where Poirot lassoes the criminals to space rockets and blasts them to the moon was cut from the theatrical version and didn't make it on the DVD. What a shame!

Death On The Nile. The second Agatha Christie movie produced by that duo I can't be bothered to look up names for, and this time round portly chubby monster Peter Ustinov took over the role of Hercule Poirot.

Compared to Finney, Ustinov is a colossus of a human being, and looks like he could have eaten his counterpart as an appetiser during the on-board meal on the Orient Express.

Ustinov is relatively amusing, although his accent is pretty basic. Just say "Ah think ah noo who the murderah is" and you'll have nailed his acting down pretty much to the letter.

The story is about a merry bunch of clowns who work on a floating circus somewhere in Egypt. One of them goes and gets dead, then another is shot in the face, then some other wacky stuff happens and finally Poirot gathers everyone around for the classic revelation scene.

This movie has pretty lavish production values (it cost more than buying tasty candy!) and is enjoyable to watch.

I didn't know who had done the murder until the end. Even when it had passed, I still didn't, because I needed to take a poop when Poirot revealed all.

My butt gets me in so much trouble sometimes.

The Mirror Crack'd. Really, that title is just plain sloppy. Why not just leave the 'e' in cracked? Stupid Agatha Christie! Damn you! Damn you and your crazy world of magical grammar and spelling!

This time round the Christie crime-buster in question is Miss Marple, some old grandma who goes round solving murders, falling over when a dog leash is tied to her leg (that's not a lie, sadly) and shaking a loaf of bread at the wardens as they frantically try and force her back inside the home (okay, maybe that one is).

Miss Marple lives in some sleepy English village (cliché no. 257 from the Book Of Suck) where a bunch of film actors from the fairytale land of Hollywood have come to shoot a movie.

Angela Lansbury stars as Miss Marple in what is clearly a pilot for Murder, She Wrote before that series' real pilot was made. She's watchable and the movie is quite interesting because it moves along at a jollier pace than the Poirot ones. Look! I used the word jollier! I really am British!

Elizabeth Taylor stars as a movie actress who is past her best (I'll refrain from the obvious sarcastic comment here) who may have killed some fruity English woman.

Oh, sod it, she did kill her, and then she kills herself. Spoilers behind! Be aware!

Evil Under The Sun. The final movie produced by the mystery duo (maybe it was Ben and Jerry) and it's really the not-best (or worst, if you want) of a good bunch.

If these four movies were the children of the producers, the first one would be the oldest child who excels at everything and sets a precedent for their siblings to follow.

The second movie is the more eccentric, off-beat child who is still quite intelligent.

The third movie is the quiet child in the pack, the one who has brains but like Stephen Hawking is only really able to express themselves through the written word.

The final child, Evil Under The Sun, would be like Stephen Hawking in every other respect but brains. Strapped to a wheelchair, drooling uncontrollably, it'd be the child whose parents either disown it or sit it in the corner, facing the wall.

That said, it's not a terrible movie, it's just that it doesn't really compare to Murder On The Orient Express, Death On The Nile or even The Mirror Crack'd. See what I did there? I padded out an article by repeating movie titles. I'm so clever, I could be a detective!

But then again NO.

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