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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…
Whistle stop #14, UK, on:
I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve found a Lumet that I didn’t particularly like.
Films like Network, Dog Day Afternoon, Fail Safe .. all among my favourite films; all dialogue heavy / action light character dramas. I’m not a reader of who-done-it’s, but I loved Lumet’s own Deathtrap from 8 years later. It can’t be that I’m having an issue with claustrophobia, with so many characters in such a cramped space, as I consider 12 Angry Men a masterpiece. All I can think of is the script and the performances, and, dare I say it .. the direction.
As the opening credits rolled, and star after star…
"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.
It was an ok murder mystery.
I enjoyed the cinematography, score, and Ingrid Bergman. The film started with some energy and gradually gets boring.
This all-star version of an Agatha Christie antiquity promises to be a sumptuous spread, and so it is, but not as tasty as one had hoped. When the train stops--it's snowbound throughout the murder investigation--the picture loses its impetus. Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts, and Ingrid Bergman are standouts in a cast that includes John Gielgud, Lauren Bacall, Wendy Hiller, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, Richard Widmark, Tony Perkins, Michael York, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Martin Balsam, George Coulouris, Colin Blakely, Denis Quilley, and Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot. Sidney Lumet directed, from Paul Dehn's script. The percussively edited pre-title montage is by that wizard of film shorthand, Richard Williams; the film proper, shot by Geoffrey Unsworth, reaches its visual peak in the railway station, at the opening. Production design by Tony Walton. Paramount.
A near all star cast in an old fashioned murder mystery? Yes.
While not as engrossing, sly or sophisticated a screenplay as it could have and should have been, "Murder on the Orient Express" will without a doubt please fans of the popular Agatha Christie novel as well as the general genre centric film fan.
A chatty Lauren Bacall, a James Bond persona Sean Connery, A Psycho persona Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York and a fantastic Ingrid Bergman are a part of the impressive ensemble cast and, wow, what better group of actors and actresses could you have possibly rounded up for this film? All the stars bring their veteran acting chops to their individual roles and define them…
Sidney Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express (1974), adapted from Agatha Christie's crime novel of the same name, offers unique style of photography, directing, set-designing, editing and a few of the performances (e.g Albert Finney).
Dt.: MORD IM ORIENT-EXPRESS
Ein Wahnsinns-Staraufgebot spielt in der Verfilmung des wahrscheinlich bekanntesten Werkes von AGATHA CHRISTIE. Eigentlich macht der sehr konstruierte Fall wenig Sinn, doch es ist ein Vergnügen ALBERT FINNEY, als Halslosen Hercule Poirot, bei der Lösung zu beobachten.
I dare you to live a real murder in life and tell me your experience.I mean... Sydney Lumet is great, he is a great director. But as many films of that time in hollywood, do not transcend in more deeper ways, because they were too much focused on the galant and exuberant character development, dialogue and plot union. Murder on the orient express, is in fact well narrated, not better than the book obviously, but its shape is so thinked and pulled it together it is unreal, it is fantastic. And when fantasy joins with murder i would always say to be careful, because it turns murder into something entertaining and unreal.
It took me many years to figure out that I'm generally not an auditory learner when it comes to film plots. I'm more of a visual learner. Therefore, "infodump" dialogue almost always goes straight over my head and I can't retain a lick of it. So when you give me a dry mystery film like Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, a good chunk of which consists of Hercule Poirot filibustering and explaining everything, it may as well be in Swahili. Call me crazy but I'll take Tim Curry running around like a lunatic in the third act of Clue over Albert Finney's Poirot any day. At least I could follow Tim's explanation.
No real slight on this film, though. It's probably more of a brain deficiency on my part. It's beautifully shot by Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon, Network), the cast is stellar (including the woefully underrated Anthony Perkins) and, uh, the train is nice.
Sidney Lumet was a magician, and this film is one of his most charming.
It's a spunky stage-like whodonit, and it boasts an all-star cast, pulling us along every step of the way.
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