Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Whodunit, Detective Film, Ensemble Film  |   Run Time - 128 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Brendon Hanley

This lavish adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express is uncharacteristic territory for director Sidney Lumet. The creator of socially conscious message movies (12 Angry Men, Fail-Safe), intense emotional dramas (The Pawnbroker), dark satires (Dog Day Afternoon, Network), and morally complex crime movies (Serpico), Lumet usually marks his films with a gritty, realistic edge. Rich and visually ornate, Murder is opulent in both style and pacing. The leisurely direction appears well-suited to most members of the large, talented cast. Albert Finney was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor in the lead role and Ingrid Bergman won her third Oscar as a Swedish missionary (though Lumet initially wanted her for Wendy Hiller's role as the Russian princess). The elegant cinematography and costume design were also nominated for Academy Awards. The success of Murder paved the way for a number of other Christie adaptations.