Murder on the Orient Express 1974 (1974) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: In December 1935, when his train is stopped by deep snow, detective Hercule Poirot is called on to solve a murder that occurred in his car the night before. Runtime: 128 mins Release Date: 24 Nov 1974
This whodunit story by Dame Agatha is excellent. She has always been my favorite writer of detective fiction. I keep returning to the film version, however, not because of the story but because of the film's sheer elegance and style. It is awash in elegance ... the majestic cinematography; the glamorous clothes; the delightfully eccentric aristocratic characters; the mysterious yet refined musical score. The film is so theatrically regal I'm surprised that it did not feature a representative of British royalty.The setting is Europe in the 1930's. The pace is slow and relaxed. And <more>
while the dialogue is in English, the film has a deliciously international flavor, with a mix of interesting accents and word pronunciations. Heavy on dialogue, the film never seems overly talky, the result of a clever screenplay and lush visuals. Humor is included in the script usually in the form of tasteful put-downs. Example: an attractive Mrs. Hubbard comments: "Don't you agree the man must have entered my compartment to gain access to Mr. Ratchett?" The aging Princess Dragomiroff responds in a deadpan tone: "I can think of no other reason, madam."In his portrayal of Hercule Poirot, Albert Finney almost literally disappears into the role, a tribute to convincing makeup and to Finney's adroit acting. His performance is appropriately idiosyncratic, deliciously hammy, and theatrical, every bit as entertaining in this film as Peter Ustinov is in subsequent Christie movies. The rest of the cast has ensemble parts, my favorite being Wendy Hiller whose Princess Dragomiroff comes across as royal, proud, and very eccentric.With its snowy landscapes, ornate and cozy interiors, and subdued lighting, "Murder On The Orient Express" is an excellent movie to watch on a cold, winter night, snuggled under a blanket or next to a warm fireplace with a cup of cappuccino or a glass of cognac. Just be sure that all knives and daggers in your mansion are out of reach from your staff of servants.
Sheer perfection, with a once in a lifetime cast! (by David-240)
Whatever happened to the all star movie? Are they just too expensive now? I know a lot of the great stars are no longer with us, but there are enough to make another gem like this one. I just wish this movie was longer, so I could relish the performances of these brilliant people even more. What a magic moment it is when LAUREN BACALL and INGRID BERGMAN clink champagne classes - you can almost hear "As Time Goes By" playing in the background. Come on Hollywood, give us another all star movie, before we lose even more Hollywood royalty!
Grand Old Hollywood Entertainment (by dpandlisa)
If you want to introduce your children to the murder-mystery genre without scaring them or boring them, then show them this terrific film, which made instant Poirot fans of my 10 and 13 year-old kids. Albert Finney is so over-the-top that he towers over an excellent ensemble cast, and his performance became the standard that I'm sure David Suchet aspired to for many years. The opening sequence, showing the back-story of the 'Baby Armstrong' case, is very creepy and engages the viewer immediately. The sets and costumes and even the opening credits remind one of the grand <more>
Hollywood spectacles of the past. Sidney Lumet's direction is outstanding, as are the performances throughout. Definitely worth an annual viewing.
When Agatha Christie Finally Came Into Her Own Cinematically (by theowinthrop)
Agatha Christie lived long enough to enjoy something few of her contemporaries could claim.Movies based on Christie's novels and stories were being made back to the 1930s. One early one with Charles Laughton as Hercule Poiret so turned her off that she was hesitant about future productions of her work. But they were made - like the two versions of LOVE FROM A STRANGER. There were two high points: Rene Clair's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE and Billy Wilder's WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION oddly enough with Laughton again, but in a better fitting performance . Then came the popular series <more>
of Miss Marple films with Margaret Rutherford, which were rewritten to emphasize Rutherford's comic abilities and to give Miss Marple a companion - Mr. Stringer, played by Rutherford's husband Stringer Davis . Another attempt at Poirot was made, again as a comic film, THE A.B.C.MURDERS with Tony Randall as Poirot . Christie was not amused. But in 1974 she saw her vision of Hercule Poirot as a character put properly on screen by Albert Finney in MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.It gave her a satisfaction that few mystery novelists of her age ever had. Dorothy Sayers did live to see Lord Peter Wimsey played by Robert Montgomery in BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON, but while entertaining it was not the Wimsey that she created - she died before she could see Ian Carmichael play the role on a series of television multi-episodes shows based on her novels. While Josephine Tey's novels occasionally were made into films, her Inspector Grant was not turned into a good running series character.I think that the reason that Agatha Christie was satisfied was the care that Sidney Lumet took with MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Not only the all star cast involved, but keeping the story in the late 1920s to early 1930s style, with clothing, vehicles, and class snobbery maintained. It actually helped preserve the novel's effectiveness.The casting is quite good. Poirot is ably played by Finney, who is fussy but also serious and sharp when going over the clues and interrogations. Martin Balsam as his friend, the railroad official, is properly "watsonish", constantly jumping at conclusions as to who the killer is. Interestingly forgotten in the background is the only other passenger we learn of that is not under suspicion, the Greek doctor who assists Poirot George Coulouris . In the 1940s Coulouris would have been a red herring at least.The suspects led by Lauren Bacall and Wendy Hiller are properly snobbish especially Sean Connery . They are even snobbish towards each other. But the question of who killed the victim is handled to constantly throw off the viewers. It is one of the most perfectly balanced whodunits.I only have one minor criticism. The murder centers on a "Lindbergh" kidnap-murder tragedy of the past, and the killer has to be someone after the real brains behind the tragedy. So all the suspects happen to be connected to the victim s . But as it turns out there was one victim who was overlooked - the patsy killer based on Hauptmann? who was frightened into committing the crime and was hanged. It would have been interesting if the family of this criminal also had been represented among the suspects.
I love murder mysteries. I'm a sucker for them whether it's reading a book or seeing a movie. "Murder on the Orient Express" is one of the best murder mystery movies ever made. Based on the novel by mystery sleuth Agatha Christie, it takes you on a ride by train where we meet an assortment of colorful characters all traveling on the Orient Express. When one of these characters is murdered, the rest become suspects. And it's up to famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot to solve the crime. "Murder on the Orient Express" has an intriguing script, good direction, <more>
and a spectacular cast to boot. Albert Finney is picture perfect in his Oscar nominated portrayl of the fussy Poirot. While watching Finney in this movie, I can't believe that this is the same man who played Julia Roberts' boss in "Erin Brockovich" because he's so unrecognizable here. Finney is supported by an all-star cast of mostly familiar faces. Of the actors playing the suspects, Lauren Bacall scores highest as an annoying American woman who talks loud and isn't afraid to say what's on her mind. Also good: the great Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar her third overall for her small performance as an African missionary; and Martin Balsam as the director of the line and Mr. Poirot's personal friend. Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts, Richard Widmark, and Michael York round out the familiar cast. "Murder on the Orient Express" is a classy movie to be sure. Is this the best murder mystery movie ever made? Almost. A few years later came the next Agatha Christie movie "Death on the Nile", which in my opinion topped "Murder on the Orient Express" and ranks as my all-time favorite mystery movie. But "Murder on the Orient Express" places right behind "Death on the Nile" as the second best. There is no question that these two movies would be perfect to show on television as a double feature. Stick 'em on AMC, and your all set. ***1/2 out of four
Still the best introduction to Hercule Poirot for non-readers (by mstomaso)
Sidney Lumet directs a great cast through a brilliant cinematic interpretation of one of Agatha Christie's most popular Hercule Poirot Mysteries. The train upon which the great investigator finds himself is halted by an avalanche of snow in the Alps, and two horrible crimes seem to have intersected in the first class cabin. Despite the cramped quarters, the only witness is the murder victim himself, and Poirot must put together the solution from disparate and seemingly contradictory evidence.The three most striking qualities of this film are its production values, cast, and Finney's <more>
exhausting performance. Although a little over-the-top, Finney gets Poirot exactly right - Poirot is played as a somewhat obsessive, slightly manic, and flamboyant Belgian - not at all as a non-English Sherlock Holmes. The cast speaks for itself. Bacall, Perkins, Hiller, Redgrave, York and Bissett are all delightful in their supporting roles. But perhaps the most under-recognized achievement of this film is its cinematography. The film is extremely visually engaging from start to finish. This is achieved by perfect visual pacing, great camera work, spectacular - though somewhat cramped and redundant - sets, good costuming, and a stunningly attractive cast.Murder on the Orient Express also succeeds in sticking with Christie's original narrative mostly , and sets a high standard for film versions of the great mystery writers repertoire. From my perspective, the film remains unequaled among the Poirot interpretations and meets the challenge of adapting and simplifying Christie's often complex exposition very nicely.
That Sidney Lumet knows how to frame an actor within his or her character is a very well known fact - "The Pawnbroker" "Network" "Dog Day Afternoon" and some other spectacular pieces of acting prove that point unquestionably. Here, there is a sort of "divertissment". Agatha Christie given a first class treatment not that Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple wasn't first class, but the production value here is as impressive as the cast in the hands of Sidney Lumet who knew how to put a bunch of sensational actors in a confined space - "12 Angry <more>
Men" for instance and make it riveting. There a 12 Angry people here too and almost each part is cast with relish and delight. Albert Finney, marvelous, manages, not only to survive, under the weight of his characterization but to create something bold, exquisitely structured, great fun to watch and to hear. Ingrid Bergman won her third Oscar for her missionary looking after little brown babies - I thought she was a highlight indeed but in my modest opinion, Valentina Cortese for "Day For Night" deserved it that year, Anthony Perkins plays Norman Bates's twin brother, also with a mother fixation and a compelling facial tic. Wendy Hiller was, clearly, having a ball and that, on the screen, is always contagious. Sean Connery and Vanessa Redgrave make a surprisingly hot pair, Lauren Bacall over does it of course but who cares, Jacqueline Bisset is breathtaking, Rachel Roberts a hoot. John Gielgud is John Gielgud and that in itself is a major plus. Colin Blakely does wonders with his moment and Dennis Quilley plays his Italian as if this was a silent movie. Martin Balsam is always fun to watch, no matter the accent. Richard Widmark is splendid in his villainy and Jean Pierre Cassel very moving indeed. The only weak spot in the cast is Michael York. Totally unbelievable. I suspect that "Murder in The Orient Express" 33 years old already, will continue delighting audiences for years to come.
A well executed murder in every sense of the word. (by bkoganbing)
Murder on the Orient Express started a nice trend in filming some of the most stylish of Agatha Christie novels by producer John Brabourne. Although Albert Finney who does a fine job as the Belgian Sleuth Hercule Poirot declined to do further films with Poirot, Peter Ustinov more than amply took up the slack in later productions.Richard Widmark is an American expatriate traveling on the famous Orient Express train and he's been receiving mysterious death threats. As it happens Poirot is on the train also and refuses Widmark's offer to be a bodyguard. Widmark is later stabbed to death <more>
in his compartment and while the train is stranded somewhere in Yugoslavia due to snow drifts, Poirot investigates the murder in the best Agatha Christie tradition. Of course in that same tradition the plotters would have gotten away with it more than likely had Poirot and his little gray cells not been present.Widmark as it also turns out was a gangster who had to flee America because he was named as the mastermind of a horrific crime that shocked the nation. There are a whole lot of people who had reason to want him dead.Poirot conducts his inquiry of the other passengers and they are quite a crew consisting of among others, Lauren Bacall, Michael York, Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Wendy Hiller, Rachel Roberts, Vanessa Redgrave, Jacqueline Bissett, etc. Of course I won't tell you the solution, but here's a hint. Note what Sean Connery says while he's being grilled.It's a great ensemble cast of course with a bunch of seasoned players doing their thing. Ingrid Bergman got a Best Supporting Actress award for her portrayal of a simple soul who is a missionary. I'm betting the critics noted that her part was offbeat casting for her which she pulled off. In any event she was surprised as all get out when her name was read at the Oscars in 1975. In accepting the award she got up and said quite matter-of-factly that fellow nominee Valentina Cortese deserved it. Of course she didn't turn it down.As I said, this was one elaborately planned murder and I think you will enjoy seeing Poirot unravel it and what happens later.
Elegant, star studded whodunit aboard the legendary train (by roghache)
This is both a glamorous and entertaining adaptation of Agatha's Christie's mystery novel. There's certainly a star studded cast but perhaps the main star is the luxury train itself, the legendary Orient Express bound from Istanbul to Calais. Black with gold crests, it hisses steam as it streaks dramatically through the Balkans. Inside are opulent interiors, intriguing compartments, gourmet cuisine, fine wines & liqueurs, and elegantly costumed passengers. Of course there's the typical enclosed group of suspects with a murderer in their midst.The setting is 1935 and <more>
Belgian detective Hercule Poirot boards the Orient Express along with an assortment of colourful, suspicious passengers. One of them ends up murdered in his compartment, a man discovered to be a fugitive responsible but never prosecuted for the kidnapping some years earlier of a child that resulted in five deaths. Poirot is called upon to solve the crime, discovering that some of these intriguing passengers may not be who they appear but instead have links to this past case of kidnapping and murder.Albert Finney is convincing as the eccentric detective Poirot, with his slick black hair and elegant little curled mustache. He plays the role more seriously than Peter Ustinov in Death on the Nile, another film with a star studded cast. I enjoy both renditions of the detective, though my favourite may be A&E's David Suchet. I have heard that Christie herself approved of Albert Finney, but agree with her conclusion that Finney's mustache is too small! My only complaint is the scene in which Poirot is screaming quite abusively at Miss Debenham. It's out of character for this very cerebral detective.Yes, as the tag line claims, it's definitely the who's who in the whodunit, with the passengers all portrayed by famous stars. These actors must have had fun with their roles. Richard Widmark portrays the obnoxious American businessman, Mr. Ratchett, with Sir John Gielgud his perfectly cast, reserved butler Beddoes, and Anthony Perkins his secretary MacQueen. Michael York and Jacqueline Bisset play the mysterious, foreign Count and Countess Andrenyi, who act guilty as all get out. Lauren Bacall is suitably irritating as the loud, outspoken Mrs. Hubbard, while Ingrid Bergman is a frightened Swedish missionary...or is she? Bergman was a magnificent actress in many roles, but I have to agree with some who question whether she deserved the Best Supporting Actress Oscar here for really, quite a minor part.Sean Connery is handsome as always portraying the indignant Scottish Colonel Arbuthnot, though I find him even more appealing now. Like a fine wine, he simply improves with age! Vanessa Redgrave plays his love interest, Miss Debenham. What are these two hiding? Obviously something! Of course there's an aristocratic and eccentric old dowager aboard, the proud and haughty Princess Dragomiroff, played to perfection by Wendy Hiller. You can just tell that this black clad and bejeweled lady is not telling the truth! Personally, I took a liking to the train's French conductor, though was previously unfamiliar with the actor, Jean-Pierre Cassel.The famous locomotive is halted by a snow drift and meanwhile, Poirot is designated to solve the crime, interrogating each suspicious passenger in turn. The detective must summon his little gray cells to ferret it all out, though I find little humour in him here. No spoilers, but I think this is one of Christie's more clever twists. Personally, I would never have guessed the murderer if I hadn't read the novel first. However, one of the suspects being interrogated does give a clue, if you're really sharp!