6. Evil Under the Sun (1982)
This 1982 British Mystery is based on the 1941 novel of the same name by Christie. The films stars Peter Ustinov as Agatha Christie’s famed Detective Hercules Poirot, his second time playing the character. He ended up portraying Poirot six times in total.
Evil Under the Sun follows Poirot who tries to solve the murder of an actress at a Balkan resort. There are nine suspects who may have had motive to strangle the actress. The screenplay was written by Anthony Shaffer, who had worked on previous Christie adaptations, such as Death on the Nile.
The adaptation stayed fairly close to the the novel, but was truncated for time constraints, removing minor characters and combining others. The costumes were designed by Anthony Powell, who won an Academy Award for his previous work on Christie adaptation.
7. Murder at the Gallop (1963)
The second of the Miss Marple films made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Murder at the Gallop is based on the Agatha Christie novel After the Funeral. The film stars Margaret Rutherford as Miss Jane Marple, Charles “Bud” Tingwell as Inspector Craddock and Stringer Davis (Rutherford’s real-life husband) as Jane Marple’s friend Mr. Stringer.
The original novel featured Hercules Poirot rather than Miss Marple and Christie’s suspense was traded for light comedy, much like the rest of the Miss Marple films MGM created. It was directed by George Pollock, who directed all of the MGM Miss Marple movies.
The film follows Miss Marple as she goes out collecting for charity. When she visits an antisocial villager, he drops dead in her presence. Suspicious of the circumstances, she eavesdrops on the reading of his will, and there are several members of his family who seem very suspicious. As the body pile up around her, Miss Marple tries to identify the killer before it’s too late.
8. The Mirror Crack’d (1980)
Angela Lansbury, Kim Novak, Elizabeth Taylor, Geraldine Chaplin, Tony Curtis, Edward Fox, Rock Hudson and Pierce Brosnan. That is who stars in this adaptation of the Christie novel The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side. It was another example of a star-studded cast from a Agatha Christie adaptation.
The crime/mystery follows amateur sleuth Miss Jane Marple (Angela Lansbury) and her Scottish nephew who find poison on a 1950s movie set. Guy Hamilton, the man behind four Bond films, directed here, the first of his two Christie films.
The inspiration for the novel and the subsequent film could have had a real-life inspiration. Christie’s inspiration for the motive likely came from an incident in the real-life of American actress Gene Tierney, who while pregnant with her first daughter contracted German measles at her only appearance at the Hollywood Canteen. Her daughter was born with birth defects, including being deaf and severely mentally handicapped.
The incident, as well as the circumstances under which the information was imparted to the actress, is repeated almost verbatim in Christie’s story.
9. Ten Little Indians (1965)
Ten Little Indians is the second film version of the Agatha Christie detective novel of the same name. The name of the novel, however depends on the territory where it was released. The original title was Ten Little Niggers, then it was switched to Ten Little Indians, or And Then There Were None depending on the territory.
Although its background story is the same as the 1945 adaptation (And Then There Were None) with ten people invited to a remote location by a mysterious stranger, this one takes place on an isolated snowy mountain.
This adaptations was directed by George Pollock, who brought Christie’s famed character Miss Marple to the screen. This adaptation was updated for the sixties. It changed the character of the repressed spinster into a glamorous movie star, added a lot more action to complement the mystery, a fight scene and even a sex scene. The ending also was changed to a less pessimistic one, much like the ending Christie wrote for the stage play adaptation of the novel.
Honorable Mention: A Night of Terror (1937)
Known outside of America as Love From a Stranger, A Night of Terror is based on the 1936 play of the name Love From a Stranger by Frank Vosper. In turn, the play was based on the short story Philomel Cottage from 1924, written by Agatha Christie. The film stars Ann Harding and Basil Rathbone and is directed by Rowland V. Lee.
Carol Howard (Ann Harding) has just won the lottery, but her sudden wealth leads to a disagreement with her fiancee Ronald (Bruce Seaton). After breaking up, Carol falls in love with the mysterious and romantic Gerald (Basil Rathbone) and marries him despite the warnings of her friends. It is not long before Carol sees that Gerald is disturbed and possibly dangerous, and soon sees her life is in great peril. The film has received mixed to positive reviews since its premiere.
Author Bio: Ryan Anderson is a sophomore at Miami University in Oxford Ohio, where he is studying Zoology and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. His love of classic cinema and film history keeps his love for film strong and ever-present in his life.