Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassell, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts, Richard Widmark, Michael York
Written by: Paul Dehn, based on Agatha Christie's novel
Directed by: Sidney Lumet
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 127
Date: 11/24/1974
IMDB

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Wild Stab

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Sidney Lumet followed up his hit cop thriller Serpico with this velvety epic, which plays more like actor worship than a tense mystery. Based on Agatha Christie's novel, the film tracks the events after the murder of an American businessman (Richard Widmark) on a train full of suspects. Fortunately the great detective Hercule Poirot (brilliantly played by Albert Finney) is also on board. The film takes a while to build to the murder, and then we get interviews with each of the suspects, played by a superior international cast: Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassell, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller (I Know Where I'm Going!), Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts and Michael York. The conclusion is interesting, but vaguely disappointing. Only Finney goes to extra length here to play the finicky Poirot, though for some reason Bergman was singled out for an Academy Award -- her third. Lumet drags things on a bit too long, but the power of certain individual scenes can make up for this shortcoming. The director next made one of his greatest films, Dog Day Afternoon.

DVD Details: Extras include a 10-minute documentary on Agatha Christie, narrated by her grandson, a 50-minute documentary on the making of the film, featuring new interviews with Sidney Lumet, and a trailer.

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