341. Murder on the Orient Express

Movie: Murder on the Orient Express

Release Date: November 21, 1974

Director: Sidney Lumet

Starring: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts, Richard Widmark, Michael York.

Tag Lines: “The greatest cast of suspicious characters ever involved in murder.”

“The Who’s Who in the Whodunnit!”

Relevance: As a child, I loved reading Agatha Christie novels. I tried to read as many as I could, including those with Miss Marple as the main character. However, the Hercule Poirot novels were my absolute favorite. I just loved that character. My favorite part of the novels were the “big reveal” scenes where he would describe a detailed description of “whodunit.” As soon as I finished one novel, I was running off to the book store to purchase the next.

I’m not sure which came to my attention first, the movie or the novel, as far as ‘Murder on the Orient Express.’ It’s very possible I saw the movie on HBO and then read the book, or if the book was already on my shelf, I searched out the movie. Regardless, I saw it on HBO and absolutely loved it. The “big reveal” scene was everything I was hoping for and I was not disappointed at all. I probably wasn’t aware of the star-studded cast or that it was an Academy Award winning movie, I was just excited to be seeing an Agatha Christie novel, especially with Hercule Poirot, visually for the first time.

Eventually I watched ‘Evil Under the Sun’ and ‘Death on the Nile’ movies again through HBO, and although I liked them, none of them thrilled me as much as ‘Murder on the Orient Express.’ After watching the films, I continued reading Agatha Christie novels and still do to this day. I have even re-read some of my favorites. There’s nothing like a good “whodunit” on page or on screen.

Today’s Thoughts: I recently watched the 2017 re-make of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ by Kenneth Branagh. I watched it with my husband and being fans of the original, we both really enjoyed it. His one comment though was that the movie, both the original and the re-make, aren’t as entertaining when you know the outcome. I disagreed with him as I have read the book more than once and used to watch the 1974 version over and over again on HBO, and was always entertained. He just stared at me. He knows I am weird.

I kept his comment in my head though when I watched the movie again today. Maybe I wouldn’t enjoy it and be entertained as much knowing “whodunit.” He was wrong. I still enjoyed it. Watching it this time, I kept noticing the small differences between this movie and the re-make. Both stay pretty close to the original story and although stray at parts, do so respectfully.

The cast, especially Albert Finney, are most enjoyable to watch. He really embodies the character of Hercule Poirot so much so that every time I read (or re-read) one of the novels, my brain can’t help but envision him. It is a credit to him as well as Agatha Christie for creating such an unforgettable charcater.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Ingrid Bergman (winner), Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Albert Finney (nomination), Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted from Other Material, Paul Dehn (nomination), Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Geoffrey Unsworth (nomination), Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Tony Walton (nomination), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, Richard Rodney Bennett (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor, John Gielgud (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress, Ingrid Bergman (winner), BAFTA Award for Film Music, Richard Rodney Bennet (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Film (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Actor, Albert Finney (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Direction, Sidney Lumet (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Art Direction, Tony Walton (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography, Geoffrey Unsworth (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design, Tony Walton (nomination), Directors Guild Award of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Sidney Lumet (nomination), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu, DVD Availability.

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