Saturday, February 26, 2011

Murder on the Orient Express




“The murderer is with us now!”

            Murder on the Orient Express is one of the quintessential mystery stories ever written… of course it is the story was written by the great mystery writer of all time Agatha Christie. Christie excellently takes her main mystery and motive from the Lindberg Baby kidnapping and weaves the sad story into the lives of her characters. The story takes place on board the famous Orient Express traveling from Turkey (on the European side) to London. Famous detective Hercule Poirot is traveling back to Belgium on the train on the insistence of his friend Mr. Bianchi. One night the train gets caught behind a large pile of snow on the tracks. The next morning the body of a passenger named Ratchett is found in his room dead from multiple stab wounds. There seems to be no motive behind the killing. No one on the train knows each other… or do they? What possible motive would strangers have for killing this man?
            Such a great plot for a murder mystery book which was made into an even better murder mystery movie. No writer in Hollywood today could come up with a better story for a movie. From the moment the train pulls out of the station you get this great thrill of excitement as if you were on the train traveling across 1930s Europe yourself.
            Another great thrill is watching the amazing cast. This is like a movie dream team. The reason I bought this movie was for Ingrid Bergman around the time I started to become interested in classic film. This was actually my first Lauren Bacall movie I had never seen her in anything before although I knew who she was. Seeing a young Michael York aka “Basil Expedition” from Austin Powers was a bit strange at first but now I can only picture him as the Hungarian Count Andrenyi. Anthony Perkins plays McQueen who is oddly in a way a less psychotic more neurotic version of Norman Bates. Sean Connery was the biggest name at the time and the lure to get the other big names signed on for the movie. He plays Colonel Arbuthnot a former Colonel for the Scots Army. Vanessa Redgrave is the beautiful Miss. Debenham in love with Arbuthnot. And let’s not forget Albert Finney who brings great life to the main character Hercule Poirot.


Murder on the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express

            Everyone in the cast brought great life to their characters. I read the book after having watched the movie and the whole time I was thinking about the actors in their parts and all of them fit so well. Reading the book you can just imagine Albert Finney as Poirot with his slicked hair and funny voice. Ingrid Bergman and Lauren Bacall were hysterical in their roles they make this movie so enjoyable to me. Bergman plays the timid Swedish missionary Greta. She has some of the funniest lines in the movie, they’re not supposed to be funny but the way she says them with her real Swedish accent have me laughing before she even starts talking. Bergman won an Academy Award (and the only Award of several the movie was up for) for this part and she deserved it. Her facial expressions are almost like an instinct or real like she was not acting at all. Lauren Bacall is the obnoxious American Mrs. Hubbard who constantly talks and very loudly. Even in her fifties Bacall was still a beautiful lady (even now currently in her eighties) with a great bite. She was perfect for the role of Mrs. Hubbard. I find it rather a great coincidence that both Bergman and Bacall made their greatest films in Hollywood’s Golden Age with Humphrey Bogart.

            Murder on the Orient Express is a movie I can watch over and over again and never be tired of. It is one of the movies that was made and put together so wonderfully. Watching Murder on the Orient Express always makes me wish movies like this could be made today one that had some of the top best actors and actresses of today with a story that is as great as they are. The movie remains very faithful to the book and is the only film adaptation of her books which Agatha Christie was liked very much.