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…
It's one of those films where knowing the reveal ruins almost all of it. I wasn't particularly excited about Finney's performance. I thought he was overacting. Whether or not it was done with a purpose, it only served to make me dislike him and detract from the film. Most of the characters were pretty nondescript, fully encaptured by one or two words, but it's hard to flesh out your cast when you need to have 15+ relevant characters always on hand in a confined space (that can't really interact with each other).
And Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for this film? She's in maybe ten minutes of it the whole time, speaks in less than five, and in no way…
Quality adaptation, you can see why Christie didn't loath it, mostly because Lumet's working class style allows the source material to shine, as it should. He films the long interrogations in incriminating, straight-shot close-ups, and the logistical difficulties of the train setting are mitigated by Lumet's television approach. Finney is the greatest liability for me, trading in Poirot's cleverness for a kind of campy, distractingly cacophonous take on the detective; the rest of the all-star cast are muted in the wake of his blustering.
Another bit of a chore to write about. I like Sidney Lumet a lot, but this doesn't even have the odd charm that The Anderson Tapes does. It makes sense that someone as fascinated with the justice system as Lumet was* would eventually get around to doing a detective mystery, but that doesn't mean we have to love, or even watch, the result.
*I assume this is one of those things most people take for granted? If you haven't seen more than one or two of his movies, it's a very big point in Lumet's work. Pretty much any part of the system that involves the commission of crimes (or torts), their investigation, and the righting of that wrong by a court has been covered in a movie by Sidney Lumet.
Flat mystery involving a cast of caricatures. Albert Finney tries, but the climax involves so much exposition I wanted to vomit. Sluggish and by the end kind of dumb. At least it's got young Vanessa Redgrave and young Jacqueline Bisset. And I wonder if whoever came up with the design for the Gary Oldman version of Dracula watched this movie. I mean that princess character could've been his sister.
A ridiculously poncey take on Hercule Poirot by Albert Finney was a big part of the reason I couldn't completely buy into what should have been a terrific little Agatha Christie mystery (as well as Anthony Perkins terrible and obvious performance). The tone was really not what I expected, too dark a premise for the silliness delivered which meant it didn't really succeed even as a black comedy. I craved something more serious than what I got here.
Sidney Lumet was an n outstanding filmmaker who always managed to deliver some outstanding picture. With Murder on the Orient Express, he crafts a well paced, riveting thriller that keeps you guessing till the very end. The script is solid and the performances are well executed, and each actor brings something to the screen that makes this film what it is. Lumet is a wonderful storyteller, and with this film, you get a memorable, edge of your seat picture. The actors are well chosen for their respective roles, and Lumet successfully builds up the dramatic tension throughout, which gives Murder on the Orient Express added depth, and its status as a fine murder mystery. The characters are well developed and…
I need suggestions of movies similar in structure to this (a classic Agatha Christie-eque murder) but not actually based on Agatha Christie stories..... .
Saw this in history class over two days.
Watched with a lack of sleep on both occasions.
Mystery for the sake of mystery, nothing fairly compelling until the final few minutes. Undoubtedy great for its time, overlong now. Crime mysteries are best when you're piecing it together the whole time, not observing someone doing a better job at it than you.
Possivelmente a melhor adaptação de uma obra da Agatha Christie para o cinema. Sidney Lumet tem mão firme e consegue navegar o clima aristocrata levemente surreal com facilidade. Os elementos do quebra cabeças são delineados com cuidado e os todos os personagens são interessantes. Destaque pro Albert Finney irreconhecível como o esquisito Poirot.
O filme talvez seja um pouco mais longo do que deveria. É difícil justificar uma trama boba assim por mais de duas horas.
Dentro da filmografia old school do Lumet, é um dos pontos mais mainstream e deve ter dado o cacife pras obras primas Dog Day Afternoon e Network, que vieram em seguida. Então, mais um motivo pra apreciar o filme.
Now I know this might seem like a shameless way to get other people to find loads of 1970s crime…
Each week I'll post a new letter and all you have to do is nominate a film that you think…