Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Murder on the Orient Express
The greatest cast of suspicious characters ever involved in murder.
In 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.
The 'Whodunnit?' type of storytelling is something I have always liked as it always provides a fun distraction that, when done well, almost always guarantees immediate audience involvement as we are always part of the investigation. Agatha Christie is in the top tier of authors in this genre, heck, she practically invented it.
Lumet's film takes on one of her classic Poirot stories. His hand is immediately present, not only because Sean Connery pops up, but also because it has a rich visual flair, beautifully constructed scenes and crisply edited dialogue that make the distilled version of this elaborate novel not only beautiful to look at, but also quite easy to follow.
This film has an excellent cast, but of…
Look at this cast! Sean Connery. Lauren Bacall. Ingrid Bergman. Richard Widmark. Albert Finney. Vanessa Redgrave. Anthony Perkins. Martin Balsam. Jacqueline Bisset. and plenty of great stage actors. With Sidney Lumet behind it all, I asked myself: what took so long to see this?
Detective Poirot (Finney) was a late addition to the Orient Express train route that evening, given permission to a full car lot by company director Bianchi (Balsam). Onboard the train, a man known as Ratchett (Widmark) looks to Poirot for protection as he fears he is a wanted man. Well, when a gruesome murder takes place in the middle of the night, it's up to Poirot to put the pieces together.
To sum it up, this…
The story may seem hard to follow, but in the end you get the gist of everything. Some people will find the conclusion annoying, but it's original. Apart from the fantastic performances by a perfect cast, the film is beautifully shot, with its flawless execution of both suspense and cinematography that gives it an overall taste of a classic whodunnit.
"Is it about sex?"
"No, it's about 10:30."
What's Sidney Lumet done here, then? He's made this into a comedy, that's what he's done. And not an inadvertent one either, despite the melange of dreadful accents and overacting on display.
I'm pretty sure he meant this to be completely tongue-in-cheek. I just wonder if the Academy Awards got that when they handed out an Oscar for best supporting actress to Ingrid Bergman and a nomination for best actor for Albert Finney's approximation of Hercule Poirot. I suspect probably not but in their own way they are both rather deserving.
I can't say that I've ever been a fan of Agatha Christie's stories. As far as I'm concerned she only ever…
Although for some the story remains more connected to Agatha Christie's novel than Lumet's interpretation, the director offers the material a huge amount of respect in this classy looking film. There is more than a nod back to the earlier traditions of filmmaking, with everyone appearing to have a ball disappearing into character, never making the mistake of taking this too seriously.
Lumet was an actor's director, typically able to get the biggest names on board and what a cast he assembles here. Bergman, Bacall, Connery, Gielgud, Finney, Balsam, Perkins, York, Cassell, Redgrave...the type of All-star list that can overburden modern attempts to bring together a similar style line-up. Perhaps it is the nature of Christie's writing that allows the…
Sidney Lumet is no stranger to a single setting narrative and emulates the energy, weighty drama and intricate design of 12 Angry Men for his elegant, star-studded adaptation of Agatha Christie's definitive whodunit. Murder on the Orient Express, or 13 suspicious passengers, is a fascinating mystery drama that supplies enough information to encourage you to draw your own conclusions, but smartly withholds enough to ensure its astonishing twist finale completely blows you away.
Top notch cast great atmosphere inside of the train. A great time to watch in winter. David Suchet is my favorite Poirot but Albert Finny did a great job as well. All in all great movie.
Oldfashioned cozy well acted star-vehicle.
A complete crock, almost a parody of itself, saved only from complete decrepitude by the 'Lumet touch' as I'm now christening it.
I'm afraid the whodunit genre and I just don't get along. Even this time round, I had full faith in the brilliance that is Sidney Lumet; I wanted this man to prove me wrong. I hoped he would open my eyes to the brilliance that could be whodunits.
Not really, it's a pretty niche sub-genre to be honest and if it's one of the few I'm not a fan of I can't say I'm going to be losing much sleep over it. I honestly think my lack of interest in the genre is because I never actually manage to keep up with the clues. My dislike it based on my own stupidity, brilliant. Every time I sit down to one…
Dated, convoluted but very entertaining. Bonkers cast too, so many legends onboard.
A bit of a paradox. Of course in broad stroke, this mystery works better on paper, where the repetitiveness are a way for readers to catch up with the investigation (I remember flipping back and forth between chapters and the train's map to keep up with them). However, although I admire it, this has never been near the top of my favorite Agatha Christies. The nature of repetitive enquiries makes the book rather dry, and even if the ending is one of her more intriguing and ambiguous, the reveal itself inspires more "well...I guess that's one way to do it" than being a satisfying pay-off from me.
The film has a hurdle having to adapt a very uncinematic story, which…
If you can get past the somewhat muffled soundtrack and difficult accents (I had to watch with the captions on), this is a very engaging and fun whodunit, Agatha Christie-style.
Finney is the brilliant detective Hercule Poirot, who happens to be on a train during the course of a murder. The train is snowed in and the Belgian sleuth has to solve it by interviewing twelve less-than-compliant passengers.
It's a fairly straightforward story, relying on inquisition and logic, rather than violent or sensationalist events. The opening sequence begins a journey where rich aristocratic types come together in a seemingly unrelated fashion. But are they truly unrelated? And which one of them is responsible for the murder?
Finney is transformed into…
I haven't seen this since I was a child but I recently did a re-read of the novel and decided to watch the 1974 and the Suchet versions again.
Albert Finney does a good job with the very fastidious/dandyish aspects of Poirot's character and then the 8-page summation scene is fantastic. I'd completely forgotten that Ingrid Bergman is Miss Ohlsson and that she'd won an Oscar for this performance - it is an amazing 5 minute, single take scene. Lauren Bacall is just wonderful as always.
The one person whom I thought was really miscast is Vanessa Redgrave as Miss Debenham. In the books she's very buttoned up, sort-of invisible in the way that governesses are meant to be but…
Christie was right: Finney's mustache is pretty weak.
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
- Rabid Dogs
- The Big Racket
- The Offence
- Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
- The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
Now I know this might seem like a shameless way to get other people to find loads of 1970s crime…
- Morel's Invention
- Mike Bassett: England Manager
- Mondays In the Sun
- Murder by Death
- Mad Detective
Each week I'll post a new letter and all you have to do is nominate a film that you think…