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.
Decades Project: 2/7 of the 70's
"I take only such cases now as interest me, and to be frank, my interest in your case is, uh... dwindling."
Sidney Lumet returns to the fertile territory of 12 Angry Men with 12 more angry men (and women this time!) and more spatial restrictions (a train instead of a jury room). Taking a group of people and sticking them in a confined space will always be entertaining with a good director in charge because they can play the various characters off of each other (see also: Hitchcock's Lifeboat); unfortunately, instead of the reality and spontaneity of Lumet's debut, Murder on the Orient Express is more caricatured and simplistic (even beyond the characters, spoon-feeding…
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…
"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…
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.
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…
Murder on the Orient Express still stands as one of the great murder mysteries of all time, and this is probably one of the most faithful adaptations of Agatha Christie's work. This is the type of big Hollywood film they just don't make anymore. Amazing cast, great sets, lavish costumes, sweeping score and pitch-perfect direction. David Suchet will always be Poirot to me, but Albert Finney carries the movie well and gives an interesting performance under a ton of makeup. The supporting cast is one of the best assembled in film history (Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins, Ingrid Bergman, Vanessa Redgrave and Lauren Bacall to name just a few) and they really help bring these tiny characters to life. Director Sidney Lumet holds it all together and keeps things moving along with a very claustrophobic atmosphere. This is just one of those films that's near-perfect in every aspect and should not be missed.
If it weren't for the murder scene (one of the finest ever put to film) this would be pure escapism, and it would still be one of the most delightful, entertaining American movies. But that scene transcends it to something else entirely, and poses some real questions about morality and that age-old question, does anyone deserve to die? This is the same question asked by Woody Allen in Irrational Man, but it is done here in a much more subtle and brilliant way.
A great story, acting and cast.
Sidney Lumet's star studded Murder on the Orient Express is a perfect Sunday matinee film. It is an intriguing whodunnit with a great cast and it is it's beautifully old-fashioned in its approach.
A murder has occurred during the night on the famous Orient Express train line. As the train has come to a halt due to a huge pile of snow on the track the trainline's director urges famous detective Hercule Poirot to solve the crime before the local authorities get involved. Poirot takes his time, interviews all involved until he gathers everyone 'round for a good old show & tell (an almost Thin Man like finale).
The tone of the film is semi-serious but never crosses the line in…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
After the hundreth "s/he guilty!" I thought Ratchett committed suicide, I couldn't stand it anymore.. why haven't I thought of a mass murder? Agatha Christie is a genius!
Thumbs Up: The A-list cast with enough star-power to keep your suspicions flitting from one to the other (notably Lauren Bacall as the grating Mrs. Hubbard, Connery and Redgrave as the secretive lovers, Gielgud and Perkins as the put-upon staff, and Albert Finney's admirable performance despite the obvious disadvantage of not being Peter Ustinov), the final twist is pretty awesome and the "solution scene" is an electrifying 10 minutes, nice production design, great score.
Thumbs Down: Its a little less rewarding on a rewatch once you know whodunnit, given that the movie faffs around a fair bit especially during the start when its takes everyone an age to board the train, a lot of the clues are too obscure to really make much sense of and a couple of red herrings feel cheap.
Bisset, Bergman, Bacall, Redgrave, York, Gielgud, Connery, Widmark, Perkins, Finney - an early example of the ensemble cast. Very well crafted by Lumet. Contrary to received wisdom, I prefer Finney to Ustinov's affected Poirot and Wendy Hiller shows how good she would have been as Lady Bracknell.
Albert Finney shines as Hercule Poirot;body language and accent bang on.the ending is surprising. .Agatha Christie critiques the privileged class.A great double bill along with Witness For Prosecution.
Watched for Lumet, Bacall, Perkins. I'm not really a fan of murder mysteries a la Agatha Christie, but be that as it may, I'd say this is one of Lumet's weaker films. Seems like a piece that is big fun for the actors, but not so much for the audience. This goes well with my idea of Lumet as a director; someone who was more concerned with what he could do for actors than what they could do for him. And while I have huge respect for that, I couldn't enjoy this all that much.
Now I know this might seem like a shameless way to get other people to find loads of 1970s crime…
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