Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Murder on the Orient Express

"Murder on the Orient Express" is a movie I've been wanting to watch but was never really in the mood to actually sit through it. Old movies just aren't my style and this was from 1974. But once I got around to it, I found the film highly entertaining.

The movie is, of course, based on Agatha Christie's mystery novel featuring her famous detective- and my favorite- Hercule Poirot. When you've formed your own idea of how a character looks, it's hard to get into someone else's portrayal of them. However, Albert Finney played the part of Poirot well and even had the detective's famous moustache. The rest of the cast was very star studded. The names I was able to recognize included Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York, and Wendy Hiller.

The movie mostly stayed true to the book and without having it seem like a lifeless re-enactment of it. I think that's what makes any adaptation good- if it can retain the spirit of the original source but can bring its own interpretation and energy into it. The cleverness of the crime and solution was captured as well. I also enjoyed the small jokes I caught in reference to the casting like the reference to "Psycho" with Anthony Perkins' character's close attachment to his mother on this film.

According to the "making of" documentary, the movie was meant to be a throw back to old-fashioned glamorized filmmaking. With the cast, costumes and music, I think "Murder on the Orient Express" achieved its goal. In another bonus feature- "Agatha Christie: A Portrait"-, it was nice to see pictures of the literary legend in her later years. This movie just reminded me of how much of a genius she really was.

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