Agatha Christie, alongside William Shakespeare himself, is the best-selling fiction writer of all time. Its unparalleled collection of macabre detective stories, which almost always followed the exploits of Christie’s two iconic detectives – Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple – established the Murder Mystery (or the Whodunit?) as a successful genre of fiction, long before its term. itself was even invented.
There have been many film adaptations of some of the definitive Whodunits written by “The Queen of Crime” herself. Peter Yustenov as Hercule Poirot in the original Death on the Nileby Sidény Lumet Murder on the Orient Express, and Joan Hickson’s turn as the titular Miss Marple in the BBC’s 1980s series, are all examples of timeless Christie adaptations. But beyond the direct adaptation, there have also been countless films that have incorporated key storytelling elements and devices, straight from Christie’s canon. And like any great mystery, it’s not always the ones you expect.
“Knives Out” (2019)
by Rian Johnson Knives out is arguably the one singular piece of entertainment most responsible for reigniting widespread interest in Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries across pop culture over the past decade. This film is a gloriously classic, yet unmistakably modern take on the Whodunit.
Johnson has never failed to give Christie the overwhelming praise she deserves, for single-handedly inventing the modern notion of what an effective murder mystery could be. This first part of Knives out The saga has a generational cast, populated by bizarre, reprehensible, and lovable characters, not the least of whom are Daniel Craig’s apparent Hercule Poirot-like Benoit Blanc.
‘Glass Onion: A Mystery at Daggers Drawn’ (2022)
Johnson continues to carry the proverbial Christie torch with his delightful 2017 follow-up Knives out, Glass onion: a mystery at loggerheads. This time around, Johnson creates an even more intricate, and even bolder, Christie-inspired Swiss watch of a classic murder plot.
Introducing Johnson’s favored “Disrupters” crew all receiving their respective invitations to a lavish getaway to billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) private Greek island, is a contemporary take on a classic Christie configuration. Watching this group of equally suspicious acquaintances get more than they bargained for on their dream vacation evokes the isolation and paranoia of Christie’s contained and pressure cooker mysteries like, And then there was no more.
“The Hateful Eight” (2015)
Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who is never afraid to wear his influences on his sleeve, and The Hateful Eight is no exception in this department. This bloody, daring, snowy western has several overriding influences on its cinematic tone: the gritty westerns of Sam Peckinpah, the darkly absurd plays of Harold Pinter, the chilling paranoia of John Carpenter The thing etc One of the biggest influences of course being the work of Agatha Christie.
While this Tarantino Western undoubtedly strikes a tone all its own, in part by reaching levels of politically charged and gruesome violence that even Christie’s bloodiest mystery wouldn’t even attempt to evoke, the dramatic structure of The Hateful Eight rests unmistakably on the shoulders of Agatha Christie’s storytelling formula “Lock ’em up and throw away the key.”
“The Last of Sheila” (1973)
The scenario of Sheila’s Last was written by Anthony Perkins (who also starred in Murder on the Orient Express), and the late Stephen Sondheim, Pulitzer Prize winner and titan of Broadway songwriting. Together, this duo of unlikely screenwriters have created a starry, complex and fun Whodunit.
Sondheim’s deep appreciation for the narrative structure of the Agatha Christie murder mystery is evident in Sheila’s Last from the first image to the last. The dark, comedic tone, setting, and sensibility of this film all provided Rian Johnson with enormous inspiration for writing. Glass onion: a mystery at loggerheads.
M Night Shyamalanthe most recent, perplexing, disturbing and polarizing film Old woman, according to the writer-director himself, is deeply influenced by his undying love for Agatha Christie. Shyamalan cites two specific Christie storytelling staples he used in Old woman: a cast of disparate characters about whom the audience learns more as they are all swept up in a frankly hellish circumstance, and the focus on brutal acts of violence committed in placid beauty, in broad daylight (à la Evil under the sun).
The questions asked by the public in Old woman are less “Who’s Murdering Who?” and more “What’s Going On Here?”, but if one is open to the consistently jarring and unnerving tone of this film, than unraveling the mystery of Old woman will likely be a rewarding experience.
Scream Writer and creator Kevin Williamson is sort of the father of the genre in his own right. But many may not know that Williamson’s iconic Slasher/Horror Comedy meta, which still produces hit sequels to this day, also drew a lot of inspiration from Agatha Christie.
Williamson noted that he learned a key lesson in structuring a murder mystery, when he read several interviews with Agatha Christie in which she divulged a nugget of her writing process, “I just reveal . I’m not worried about a mystery”. This process of working backwards and developing concentric layers of storylines revealed as you go is what Williamson credits with helping him find the satisfying formula for his iconic franchise, ever since its very first installment in 1996.
‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ (2005)
Almost every Shane Black storyline contains at least one of these two elements: 1. Christmas and 2. A pair of antagonistic detectives hunting down the dirty details of a mysterious and violent plot. the nice people, the last scout, long kiss good night, and even iron man 3 (more on the Christmas side) all fall under Black’s unique and often meta take on the murder mystery genre. The consistently underrated gem of a crime novel, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is perhaps the smartest take on the murder mystery Black has ever written.
Black, being a lover of classic hard-boiled crime novels, also named Christie’s ten little indians (title since changed to And then there was no more) as a major influence on his predilection for violent mystery stories. Clearly, Christie’s propensity for satisfyingly writing macabre, cobweb-like plots in her books had an impact on Black’s own sensibilities as a writer.
“Murder Mystery” (2019)
Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston’s Netflix Whodunit Script Murder Mystery Was Written By Cry 5 screenwriter and murder mystery enthusiast, James Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt described his elevator pitch for the film as, “What if an American couple crashes into an Agatha Christie story?”.
The film mostly takes this lofty conceptual premise into account, as the script provides plenty of really fun Christie-style twists, turns, and puzzles for the ill-fated couple of Sandler and Aniston to tackle on screen. Murder MysteryThe clever deconstruction and fulfillment of the Christie formula ultimately strikes a pleasant note, in the recent rising symphony of murder mystery content we’ve seen in popular culture.
Next: Why Are Murder Mysteries So Hot Right Now?
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8 Movies Inspired By Agatha Christie, But Not Written By Her – CNET – ApparelGeek