HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Diana's Wedding
Deerskin
Toll, The
Two of Us
Nowhere Special
Rainbow Jacket, The
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1
First Cow
Undiscovered Tomb
Being Frank
Occupation: Rainfall
Jeanette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc
Pariah
Weapon, The
Godzilla vs. Kong
Love and Monsters
Tove
Young Wives' Tale
Son
Jumbo
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Murder on the Orient Express Well Trained
Year: 1974
Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts, Richard Widmark, Michael York, Denis Quilley, Colin Blakely
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: The famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) is in Istanbul to board the Orient Express, having recently completed a case there, although he has caught a cold in the process. As he waits for the ship taking him to the European part of the country, he notices a couple embracing on the lower deck, and idly stores away the observation as they embark. Once he has met his old friend Bianchi (Martin Balsam), he is ready to board the train, and takes note of the other passengers arriving, not realising he will soon be using his powers of deduction to solve a mystery that appears to incriminate them all...

Agatha Christie, author of the book Murder on the Orient Express, was very pleased with this prestige production of one of her most celebrated works, but then any author would have been delighted with the cast the producers had assembled here, as they had brought in a big name star for practically every role. Therefore the film was a success in its day almost purely for the names associated with it, from Christie herself and that ringing endorsement, to the likes of Sean Connery and Ingrid Bergman (harnessing an Oscar for her trouble) all getting a scene to themselves to strut their thespian stuff - with this array of talent it was sure to be something special, right?

Well, not quite, as while star fanciers were thoroughly catered for, what was so effortlessly effective on the page tended to lie stagnantly on the screen, particularly when the locomotive ends up stranded in the snow about half an hour in. There's nothing that director Sidney Lumet and screenwriter Paul Dehn (then doing well off Planet of the Apes sequels) could do to disguise the static nature of the piece, and once you got past the fact that all those well-kent faces had turned up to entertain you, there was little to amuse. Not least because by now, the ending of the film, and the book, are so infamous that neither hold many surprises, even if you've never seen it before.

Not helping was a frankly bizarre performance from Albert Finney, who looked to be trying to rename himself Albert Funny as in peculiar judging by the manner he went about squeezing himself into the role. Not that he didn't try manfully, but the effort was all too plain to see, and it was pretty exhausting watching him contort himself into the version of the detective that people who knew the source would have wanted to watch. Nowadays, his rasping accent makes him sound like Papa Lazarou from the League of Gentlemen which only enhances the outright grotesquerie of the reading here, and with his fellow cast doing their best to make themselves heard over each other, Finney wins but for the wrong reasons.

As it transpires, nobody in support truly stands out as they're all about as good as each other, with each taking advantage of their opportunities when they are interrogated by Poirot. Why are they being quizzed? That's because the night before the Express got stuck in the snow one of the passengers was murdered (hence the title), and the more the Belgian delves into their pasts the more it appears they had a connection to the dead man, and also the kidnapping and murder sensation of five years before that ended with the culprit getting away scot free. Could the victim have been the gangster who ordered the killing of the kidnapped child? Was this a revenge killing? Poirot does his thing, it all finishes much as you'd expect, and everyone goes home after a very long two hours. This isn't a dead loss, but for one of the most famous movies of the seventies its reputation far outweighs its entertainment value. Good music by Richard Rodney Bennett, mind you.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4595 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Sidney Lumet  (1925 - 2011)

Esteemed American director who after a background in theatre moved into television from where he went on to be the five times Oscar nominated filmmaker behind some of the most intelligent films ever to come out of America. His 1957 debut for the big screen, 12 Angry Men, is still a landmark, and he proceeded to electrify and engross cinema audiences with The Fugitive Kind, The Pawnbroker, Cold War drama Fail-Safe, The Hill, The Group, The Deadly Affair, The Offence, definitive cop corruption drama Serpico, Murder on the Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon (another great Al Pacino role), Network, Equus, Prince of the City, Deathtrap, The Verdict, Running On Empty and his final film, 2007's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Often working in the UK, he also brought his adopted home town of New York to films, an indelible part of its movies for the best part of fifty years.

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: