Check Out These Classic Agatha Christie Movies After Watching Kenneth Branagh's 'A Haunting in Venice'

The Queen of Crime has reigned for decades in the cinema

<p>Rob Youngson/20th Century Studios</p> Tina Fey and director-star Branagh in

Rob Youngson/20th Century Studios

Tina Fey and director-star Branagh in 'Venice'

Director-star Kenneth Branagh has returned to the role of Hercule Poirot — the brilliant Belgian detective with the meter-wide mustache and a bizarre accent that suggests hard-boiled eggs (shells included),given a spin in the Cuisinart — for his third Agatha Christie adaptation. A Haunting in Venice is a typically sumptuous Branagh production, with a randomly starry supporting cast that includes Michelle Yeoh and Tina Fey.

For Haunting, though, Branagh has come up with a fresh twist on the Queen of Crime’s already twisty plot. He adds a supernatural garnish involving a lank-haired ghost who could have stepped out of a Ring movie. This gimmick, which gives Branagh many opportunities to jolt the audience, ultimately backfires: Because Poirot is infallibly, unfailingly logical, you know the ghost will have to be grounded in day-to-day reality, however sinister. That makes it easier to spot the killer well before Poirot gathers everyone together for the big, deductive reveal. But Haunting is still a well-upholstered diversion, and proof that Christie’s old-fashioned mysteries remain eminently adaptable.

With A Haunting in Venice now playing in theaters, here are some of the best Christie movies available for rent/purchase.

Related: Where Was 'A Haunting in Venice' Filmed? All About the New Agatha Christie Movie's Eerie Backdrop (Exclusive)

<p>Everett Collection</p> Margaret Rutherford, left, as the indefatigable Miss Marple.

Everett Collection

Margaret Rutherford, left, as the indefatigable Miss Marple.

Murder at the Gallop (1963)

Margaret Rutherford, a wonderful British actress known for her strange, quivering comic gusto — she shakes like a Jello salad smacked by a serving spoon — played village detective Miss Jane Marple in a series of four popular films. Gallop is very much a comedy, with all the suspects gathered in a deluxe hotel that caters to equestrians (Miss Marple herself saddles up — apparently she won some riding ribbons in the days before World War I). As with any good episode of Murder, She Wrote or Law & Order, the culprit is most likely to be found among the best-known members of the supporting cast. Luckily (or sadly, depending on how you look at it), Flora Robson, Robert Morley and Finlay Currie probably mean very little to modern viewers. But the movie is really just a romp for the eccentric, extraordinary Rutherford.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Albert Finney (right) as eagle-eyed Poirot.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Albert Finney (right) as eagle-eyed Poirot.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Directed by Sidney Lumet, this was the first of the all-star, big-budget Christie mysteries — to the point of oversaturated bogginess, occasionally, but with a classic reveal at the end. Oscar-nominated Albert Finney, looking like a slimmer version of the explosive Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, is Poirot, and the ensemble includes Ingrid Bergman (who won the Supporting Actress Oscar), Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave and Jacqueline Bisset. Branagh’s equally A-list 2017 remake featured Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp and Daisy Ridley. (There’s also a 1978 SCTV parody, Death Takes No Holiday, in which the murderer turns out to be the train. It's on YouTube.)

<p>Moviestore/Shutterstock</p> Diana Rigg and Maggie Smith


Diana Rigg and Maggie Smith

Evil Under the Sun (1982)

Peter Ustinov is possibly the most enjoyable of the film Poirots — round-bellied, he moves lightly, as if he were filled with helium. The actor had hits with both this film and its predecessor, 1978’s Death on the Nile (which Branagh remade in 2022). Sun, however, has the irresistible camp appeal of Diana Rigg and Maggie Smith as former rival showgirls coming face to face at a swank island resort. Rigg sings “You’re the Top” as if her lungs were bellows (the film’s score is based on the songs of Cole Porter) and Smith gets to exclaim, “This place is like a morgue,” stretching the last word out  as if it were taffy — mwaaaaaaaahrguh!

<p>Moviestore/Shutterstock</p> Vanessa Redgrave (with Dustin Hoffman) as Christie.


Vanessa Redgrave (with Dustin Hoffman) as Christie.

Agatha (1979)

An unusual film, this is a speculative take on a famous real-life mystery that had Christie herself at the very center as its victim, but not its corpse. In 1926, the celebrated writer left her home and, abandoning her car after she crashed it, disappeared for 11 days. This sparked an enormous manhunt and created a tabloid sensation. She was finally found at posh spa, registered as “Theresa Neele” — which (a most delectable clue) happened to be the name of her husband Archibald's mistress. Most likely Christie had suffered an emotional collapse over her troubled marriage. That’s the gist, at any rate, of Agatha, in which Vanessa Redgrave plays a fragile, delicate Christie. Dustin Hoffman is the dogged American reporter who finds her, perhaps losing his heart in the process.

We won’t get into the many, many Christie adaptations for television except to mention that 1) David Suchet’s long-running interpretation of Poirot in Agatha Christie: Poirot is generally considered the very best, and 2) Joan Hickson’s performance as the titular character in Miss Marple for the BBC, chiefly in the the 1980s, is dramatically the most assured and convincing — her Marple is a flinty, relentless and sometimes grim dynamo of intelligence and observation.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.