Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thoughts on Murder on the Orient Express

-Agatha Christie's famous Detective Poirot (played here by Albert Finney, with a hammy accent and a mustache that's hardly the greatest in the world) gets caught on the eponymous train on a snowed-in track with the murdered body of a shady retired businessman (Richard Widmark) and 12 potential suspects, who's connection with the man and his past are gradually revealed in one glorious scene.

-Aside from the fact that every non-English nationality is played by a British person, but Ingrid Bergman as a nervous, middle-aged Swedish missionary (she gets five major minutes of uninterrupted scene, and she earns that Oscar nomination), the acting is pretty awesome. Sean Connery, as always, nobly makes no effort to appear British in any way, Lauren Bacall is an extremely talkative, fussy older woman who is also somehow awesome, Anthony Perkins is basically Norman Bates with more nervousness and less personalities, Vanessa Redgrave is a British teacher returning from Baghdad (she and Connery, both relatively small roles, basically embody the atypical hero and heroine that many movies of the time had, and making it almost funny that they are in the background the entire time), and other people I have no patience to list.

-A solid, old-fashioned mystery directed by Sydney Lumet, with a bit of a disappointing, but in hindsight obvious, climax.