Saturday, 20 October 2012
Murder on the Orient Express (1974) - ★★★½
Writers: Paul Dehn (Screenplay), Agatha Christie (Novel)
Stars: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Anthony Perkins, Ingrid Bergman, Martin Balsam, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York
This is arguably the greatest ensemble cast in the history of film. So many legends, so many talents, such good acting all in one film! Not to mention, this is my favorite Agatha Christie novel. Murder on the Orient Express is a very entertaining, beautiful film that I enjoyed every minute of.
Famous detective Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) is returning to England aboard the Orient Express, which is a train unusually crowded for the time of year. Shortly after the train's departure, a wealthy American businessman, Rachett (Richard Widmark), tries to secure Poirot's services for $15,000 since he has received many death threats, which Poirot turns down. The next morning Ratchett is found stabbed to death in his cabin. Poirot enlists the help from his friend Bianchi (Martin Balsam) and Dr. Constantine (George Coulouris) to solve the mystery of who killed Ratchett. Poirot soon discovers that Ratchett was not who he claimed to be. His secret past indicates a clear motive for murder, even justification, but who was the killer?
The story is filled with many twists and turns and clues for the viewer to solve. There is beautiful cinematography and music throughout the film which enhanced the joy of watching the mystery unfurl. At first I wasn't sure if I liked Albert Finney's Poirot, but after a while I grew to like how he portrayed the character. I personally think that the best portayal of Poirot is by David Suchet.
The supporting cast were magnificent. For me the clear standouts were Bacall, Bergman and Gielgud, who were all entertaining and clearly the masters of acting in the film. Anthony Perkins was great to watch too, especially when he talked about his mother in the film (which I had a laugh about, remembering Psycho). It's not often you see Sean Connery and Vanessa Redgrave outshined in a film, but this was one of them. They're both great actors, who had to compete with legendary actors, making this film full of great acting!
Not only is this one of the greatest murder mysteries there is, but it's also my favorite. The acting is so good that no matter what I say about it, it would not do the film or the actors justice. I love this film, however, not as much as the David Suchet version. I recommend it to anyone that loves a good mystery.