Site icon Movie Reviews. TV Coverage. Trailers. Film Festivals.

Notorious: Celebrating the Ingrid Bergman Centenary: Murder on the Orient Express (1974) ★★★★★


It’s the year 1930. Armstrong’s baby, Daisy is kidnapped. The Armstrong family pays a huge ransom to the kidnappers; however, their beloved child is later found slain. 5 years later a murder occurs on the orient express when the train is stopped due to deep snow. Detective Hercule Poirot is called on to solve the murder. But when he starts investigating the case he realises that the answer he may find will be much complicated than what he would have expected… and after all, nobody promised him it’s going to be easy…

When Sydney Lumet’s film begins, we quickly find out about the Armstrong Baby Case that shocked the United States, which is based on the actual kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s son in 1932, widely known as ‘The Crime of the Century’. Five years later we are taken to the Asian side of Istanbul where Hercule Poirot is on his way to take the Orient Express Train to London. Shortly after, a wealthy man named Ratchett (Richard Widmark) approaches Poirot asking him to become his bodyguard as he is afraid to get killed, which is what happens the same night.

Poirot quickly shortlists twelve probable suspects namely, MacQueen (Anthony Perkins), Colonel Arbuthnot (Sean Connery), Mrs. Hubbard (Lauren Bacall), Countess Andrenyi (Jacqueline Bisset),  Count Andrenyi (Michael York), Princess Natalia Dragomiroff (Wendy Hiller), Miss Mary Debenham (Vanessa Redgrave), Hildegarde (Rachel Roberts),  Antonio Foscarelli (Denis Quilley), a nervous Swedish  missionary, Greta (Ingrid Bergman), Pierre Michel (Jean-Pierre Cassel) and Cyrus Hardman (Colin Blakely). He must now solve the mystery before the train reaches its destination. But once he begins questioning the passengers, he realizes that each of them are somehow involved with the Armstrong case. But the question is, how are the twelve suspects and the murdered man linked to a case that happened five years ago?

The Murder On The Orient Express based on Agatha Christie’s novel is one of those films that relies on acting skills only. Right from the beginning you already know that this is going to be a fascinating movie even if you’ve heard nothing about this novel before. The entire cast delivers an absolutely outstanding performance, especially the five minutes of non-stop performance from Ingrid Bergman where you can tell how great an actress she was. Albert Finney’s transformation into Poirot is quite amazing. But I don’t think you’ll be surprised hearing that…

In conclusion, Sydney Lumet’s film becomes more interesting when you find out that it was inspired by a true story, where the rest, of course, was pure fiction. The fictional portion where Agatha Christie plays a juror, judge and the person who wanted to write her own conclusion of the story is where the ending could have been only one – the one, you as a viewer must see, re-think and accept as an evidence of the feeling, the anger, and emptiness of Christie that made her to take justice into her own hands…

Screening time: Friday, September 4, TIFF Bell Light Box

Exit mobile version