Monday, May 22, 2023

Movie Monday: Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Movie Monday: 
Murder on the Orient Express

We’re still in the 1970s, and today we’re going to look at the 1974 version of Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express. With a budget of just under $1.5 million, the film was a resounding box-office success, earning over $35 million. The producers’ choice of directors, Sidney Lumet, was no doubt a calculated move. He is reportedly one of the most prolific filmmakers in the modern era, directing more than one move a year on average since his debut in 1957. Actors loved working for him, and critics could count on a well-executed film. Although fourteen of his movies were nominated for Academy Awards, and Lumet himself was nominated for five, he never won an individual Oscar. Late in life, he received an Academy Honorary Award. Intriguingly, he directed Murder in between Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon.

The cast is star-studded and included Sean Connery, Albert Finney, Ingrid Berman, Lauren Bacall, Jacqueline Bisset, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Widmark, and Michael York. Connery was the first actor approached and said yes immediately. He would ultimately make five films with Lumet. Lumet wanted Bergman to play Princess Dragomiroff, but she chose instead, the smaller role of Greta Ohlsson. Obviously, a good choice because she won Best Supporting Actress.

Exterior filming was mostly done in France, and the scenes of the train going through Central Europe
Pixabay/Jorg Vieli
were filmed in the Jura Mountains on the Swiss-French border. There were concerns about the lack of snow proceeding the scheduled shooting of the snowbound train, therefore snow was trucked in (at quite a large expense). Ironically, heavy snowfall occurred the night before the scheduled filming making the extra snow unnecessary, and stranding the snow-laden backup vehicles.

Christie only liked two of the film adaptations of her novels, and Murder was one of them, the other being Witness for the Prosecution. She passed away fourteen months after the movie’s release. Roger Ebert was effusive with his praise, specifically saying, “What I liked best about this movie is its style, both the deliberately old-fashioned visual strategies used by director Sidney Lumet, and the cheerful overacting of the dozen or more suspects.”

A classic that’s not to be missed.


Dial S for Second Chances

Can years of hurt and misunderstanding be transformed into a second chance at love?

Jade Williams agrees to be on the high school reunion committee because the-one-that-got-away is out of the country and won’t be home in time to attend the festivities. Now, he’s not only home, but joined the committee. Is it too late to back out or can she set aside forty-five years of regret and pretend she isn’t to blame for her broken heart?

One of the downsides of being rich means fielding requests for money and favors. But when an old high school buddy contacts Derek Milligan to be on the reunion committee as just one of the gang, no strings attached, he can’t resist. At the first meeting, he’s dismayed to find himself sitting next to his former high school sweetheart. He should be angry. Instead, he’s attracted. Can he risk his heart a second time?

Reunion festivities include calling into WDES’s program No Errin’ for Love with fake relationship problems. When both use their real situation, the stakes are raised higher than either imagined.

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