Saturday, February 13, 2010

Murder on the Orient Express

I mentioned Murder on the Orient Express briefly a long, long time ago. TCM is showing it again, overnight at 4:00 AM ET on February 14.

The brief rundown is that Richard Widmark plays a businessman taking the Orient Express from Istanbul to Paris in those glamor days of the 1930s when taking a train like the Orient Express was elegant. However, the train gets stuck in the snows of the Yugoslav Alps, and Widmark is found murdered in his cabin. It's up to detective Hercule Poirot (played by Albert Finney) to find the killer.

And, it seems as though everybody in the car could have been the killer. Not only that, but it's quite the all-star cast; as I mentioned back in April 2008, the suspects range from a nun (Ingrid Bergman, in a role that won her her third Oscar) to a Russian princess (Wendy Hiller) to a Hungarian count (Michael York) to a British colonel (Sean Connery). They're a motley crew of head-cases, and they make the movie utterly charming. It's helped by the art direction; there's something about the demise of the studio system that made period pieces better. As much as I like a lot of the historical dramas from the 1930s, the studio system makes the sets and locations look inauthentic.

Thankfully, Murder on the Orient Express is on DVD, so you don't have to get up in the middle of the night to watch this one.

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