Movie adaptation revives an Agatha Christie classic

Movie adaptation revives an Agatha Christie classic

Oct 11, 2023Alan Wong

Agatha Christie fans may never have heard of A Haunting in Venice. None of her novels bear that title, which is of a new movie loosely based on Christie's Hallowe'en Party, first released in 1969. The plot of the novel is a bit more complicated, which would have made for a film too long for post-pandemic audiences.

Also, the novel is set in an English village called Woodleigh Common, not Venice, Italy. Hallowe'en Party has a higher body count, perhaps in keeping with the holiday being 'celebrated'. The movie, however, has hints of the supernatural.

A Haunting in Venice is also the third adaptation of Christie's works where British actor and filmmaker Kenneth Branagh is the director and plays Hercule Poirot, the first two being Murder on the Orient Express (2017) and Death on the Nile (2022). Both adaptations arguably follow the novels much closer than the third one does. Branagh is also a producer for all three adaptations, the screenplays of which were penned by American screenwriter Michael Green.

Cover of "A Haunting in Venice" by Agatha Christie (US edition, previously published as "Hallowe'en Party")

The latest editions of Hallowe'en Party, bearing the title of the movie, have been launched in conjunction with the arrival of the latter in local cinemas. In case anyone is confused, the contents are of the original novel, not the novelisation of the movie.

In the novel, Rowena Drake, the niece of a wealthy widow, organises a Hallowe'en party where 13-year-old Joyce Reynolds boasts about witnessing a murder. When the party ends, Joyce is found dead. In the movie, Rowena Drake is a renowned opera singer, while Joyce Reynolds is a medium who Rowena hired to help her conduct a seance to communicate with her deceased daughter Alicia. Joyce is killed a while after the seance ends.

Regardless, we hope you will enjoy the novel and the movie, both riding the spooky spirit of Halloween. A Haunting in Venice is now showing in Malaysian cinemas, and the latest editions of the novel are out now.

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