Sidney Lumet’s 1974 production of “Murder on the Orient Express” is terrific. It has an all-star cast that includes Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Michael York, Jacqueline Bissett and Ingrid Bergman who won a best support actress Oscar for her performance. The production is lush with an unforgettable film score.
Then there’s the 2001 CBS television production which is totally forgettable. It stars Alfred Molina as Poirot. Here they’ve made him younger and given him a love interest (wtf?). The train passengers have been cut from 12 to 9 people which sort of defeats the whole idea of a jury.
And in updating the story, the Armstrongs are now software millionaires and one character has been been updated to be a personal trainer.
Screenwriter Stephen Harrigan’s has primarily written for TV and frankly his Writers Guild of America membership should be revoked (and maybe Alfred Molina should burn his SAG card too). And whoever is managing Christie’s literary estate should probably be fired too.
If you are a glutton for punishment, you can see the entire movie at this link.
To celebrate Agatha Christie’s 125th birthday, the Swedish company ‘Bookmark’ published a series of her books, freshly translated and with these beautiful minimalist covers. The books are translated by Helen Ljungmark and the covers are illustrated by Sara R. Acedo.
I finally got around to watching the 1974 version of Murder on the Orient Express.
It captured the book pretty well. Parts of it were “meh”, but the actual murder part was still fantastic.
I totally get why they used an all-star cast besides for money. If you don’t know the solution, you won’t know who the murderer is based on who is paid the most. Plus, many of the actors were known for crime/spy films so that added extra confusion. An excellent choice all-around.
*sees that there will be a remake in 2017*
Why would someone do that? Who could have enough clout and artistic vision to be able to pull off…
*sees that Kenneth Branagh is directing*
I shall accept the existence of this remake and save judgement until I actually see it.
Agatha Christie is one of the best, if not the best, mystery writer of all time. One of her most famous characters is detective Hercule Poirot, and he is our main character in this well-known Christie novel.
Travelers on the Orient Express are met with surprises around every turn on this wild ride. Poirot is met with unexpected events before he boards the always-empty-except-tonight train. After being woken up several times during the night, Poirot is told that a passenger on the train, Mr. Ratchett, has been murdered. The list of suspects is narrowed down because the train has been stopped by snow. Knowing that the murderer has to be on the train, Poirot’s mission is do find out who committed murder on the Orient Express.
As usual, Christie takes readers on an unexpected journey. There is literally no way of knowing how her novels will end, which is what I love about her writing. Try as you might, you will never know who the killer is until Christie wants you to know who the killer is. She keeps you entertained and perplexed at the same time, which is a feat that most authors cannot accomplish.
This may sound silly, but one of my pet peeves with Christie novels is her random use of French. I don’t speak French and I don’t understand French, so I definitely don’t like reading French. I find that every time I read a Christie book, I dread the random French lines that are completely unnecessary. I know that it’s not a huge deal, but it’s something that bothers me about all of her books.
In the end, readers can overlook the random French and enjoy another amazing Agatha Christie tale. With plot twists around every corner, readers will wish that they could be on the Orient Express with the crazy cast of characters, including one of the most beloved detectives in literary history.
Rating: 4 stars
Favorite quote: “He tells his lie very well- quite in the Seigneur manner, but what else than a lie could it be?”
“Well, you know, I had the preposterous idea that it might be the truth.”
The eldest child of Sir Michael Redgrave and
Rachel Kempson, sister to Lynn and Corin Redgrave, former wife of
director Tony Richardson and now of Franco Nero, mother of Joely and
Natasha Richardson and director Carlo Gabriel Nero and mother-in-law of
Liam Neeson, she really is part of an acting dynasty.
Her debut on the West End stage she had in 1958, appearing already
the following year in plays with Charles Laughton and Sir Laurence
Olivier. Also in 1958, she had her first screen role.
her big screen credits are A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (1966, dir. Fred
Zinnemann), BLOW UP (1966, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni), CAMELOT (1967,
dir. Joshua Logan), THE DEVILS (1971, dir. Ken Russell), MURDER AT THE
ORIENT EXPRESS (1974, dir. Sidney Lumet), BEAR ISLAND (1979, dir. Don Sharp) and many more - in fact, she’s
still busy today.
Redgrave was nominated for an Academy Award
six times between 1966 and 1992 (winning one for 1977’s JULIA), for six
Emmy Awards between 1981 and 2002 (winning two) and for an amazing 13
Golden Globes between 1966 and 2002 (again, two wins). She also won
multiple awards for her stage work.
She also is a political
activist, an UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and has declined in 2003 the
offer by Tony Blair’s gouvernment to becoming a Dame of the British
The photograph shows her as Jane in Antonioni’s BLOW UP.
I’ve mentioned I’m a fan of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express”. I think it was the first novel of hers that I read. I love the 1974 film starring Albert Finney. And I enjoyed listening to the audio book read by Dan Stevens.
So when I heard that there was a Japanese TV miniseries produced in 2015, I had to track it down. Actually it was pretty easy finding two different websites that had it available for download.
Watching it was a very weird experience. This version is set in 1933 Japan and involves a train traveling from the south to Tokyo. All the characters’ names have been changed but it’s essentially the same plot and most of the same details. But what’s strange is that while most of the actors are playing it “straight” (seriously), the actor playing Poirot (renamed Suguri) is playing him for laughs. There is no subtlety to his performance. Every look and gesture borders and surpasses mugging. It’s impossible for me to figure out whether this is intentional for maybe some cultural difference that eludes me. Researching the actor as well, I found that he is famous for a certain style of Japanese theater that is similar to Commedia Del Arte. Huh?
When I think of Poirot I don’t think “comedic”. While both Albert Finney and David Suchet’s performances may have had slimy wit, neither were buffoons.
THEN I remembered Peter Ustinov’s version (in a couple of films and TV show). He certainly played Poirot for laughs. And in the 1960s Tony Randal played Poirot in “The Alphabet Murders”. I found a clip on YouTube and Randal certainly was treating the character for laughs. In facts he couldn’t keep his accent straight, wavering between and English accent and a French accent in the same sentence.
I hear Kenneth Branagh will be directed a new version of MOTOE. I’ll be curious do see how that turns out.