Monday, May 16, 2011
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (1974) - Sidney Lumet
It's hard to believe this frothy, star-studded murder mystery came smack dab in between the more poker-faced Pacino classics Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon on Lumet's resume. Maybe he needed a break from the NYC grime and corruption. Like Detective Hercule Poirot's own abbreviated sojourn by rail, this movie feels like a grand vacation gladly interrupted by a call to work, a happy chance to ply one's trade while traveling abroad.
Lumet does so without phoning it in, relishing the chance to juggle a classic Agatha Christie plot with 12 or 13 of the world's best actors. You feel his camera delight in the challenge of shooting them all in such a cramped space. I, for one, was delighted to see what Ingrid Bergman looked like in color (a lot like her daughter Isabella, actually). If you like the board game Clue, are a rail enthusiast or just appreciate fine acting, this train is not to be missed.