Murder on the Orient Express, VHS movie with Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot
Two out of five stars
In my opinion, Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” is a great story, far better enjoyed in print than on screen. Several movies of the story have been made and, in this case, the great detective Hercule Poirot is played by Albert Finney. In this case he is one of an all-star cast of major actors and actresses.
Unfortunately, the magic of the systematic Poirot is simply not captured very well. The emotional intensity that Christie was able to develop in her novels was not generated and even the major stars seemed to get in each other’s way. None of them was able to really grab a scene and dominate it.
A century ago, the Orient Express was a train line from the countries of western Europe to Istanbul in Turkey. In this case, the train is starting from Istanbul and going to the west coast of Europe. In an interesting twist of fate, the great detective Hercule Poirot is on board when a man is murdered. The trip is taking place during the height of winter, so the train is stopped for an extended period of time so that the tracks can be cleared of ice and snow. This gives Poirot time to think the matter through and then present his conclusions in front of the twelve prime suspects, correctly describing how the murder took place and who did it.
While the story is a great one with an unusual plot twist at the end, this depiction by actors just does not have a lot of intellectual or emotional power.