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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

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Until Murder on the Orient Express was released, big screen adaptations of the works of Agatha Christie (1890–1976) were few and far between. And then came this sumptuous production with a cast headed by 11 Oscar winners and/or nominees. Set in 1930, the plot focuses on a group of highly suspicious-looking passengers aboard the Orient Express (from the classy, gum-chewing Lauren Bacall to the nervous, newly married young Count played by Michael York). The real fun of this leisurely whodunit is guessing which screen legend will next appear. Albert Finney's makeup as Hercule Poirot was such a shock to 1974 audiences that it undoubtedly contributed to the Oscar nomination he won for his interpretation. One of the wittiest wisecracks belongs to John Gielgud, perfecting his persona as a butler seven years before he won an Oscar for it in Arthur. Occasionally, it all gets to be a bit much; the late Ingrid Bergman won her third Oscar as a neurotic missionary, but who could believe her for one second in that role? Sidney Lumet's direction and Geoffrey Unsworth's cinematography add to the overall elegance, and mysterious, creepily shot flashbacks are used to focus on details relevant to the crime-solving. Followed by another adaptation of a Poirot novel by Christie, 1978's Death on the Nile, with Peter Ustinov assuming the role of the Belgian detective.

1974 (PG) 128m/C GB Albert Finney, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Richard Widmark, Anthony Perkins, John Gielgud, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Wendy Hiller, Rachel Roberts, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York, Colin Blakely, George Coulouris, Denis Quilley, Vernon Dobtcheff, Jeremy Lloyd; D: Sidney Lumet; W: Paul Dehn; C: Geoffrey Unsworth; M: Richard Rodney Bennett. Academy Awards ‘74: Best Supporting Actress (Bergman); British Academy Awards ‘74: Best Supporting Actor (Gielgud), Best Supporting Actress (Bergman); Nominations: Academy Awards ‘74: Best Actor (Finney), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score. VHS, LV

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