Murder on the Orient Express (1974) - Sidney Lumet
Well about two days ago I noticed that my Lumet collection wasn't very impressive, in fact despite how much I've enjoyed the few films I've seen I've never really explored the depths of his filmography. This film was an easy route to go, part Oscar research and fitting snugly between Lumet classics Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon. It certainly seems out of place with those two films and it can get easily distracting whenever you deal with an all star cast. However despite a few scenes where you might sense that everyone is trying to outdo one another this film avoids the "look whose playing a security guard" problem with most of the disaster films of this era. I've never remotely cared for mystery stories and whenever you might ask "who done it?" my typical response is "who cares?" With that in mind Lumet's film is a good twist on that. Albert Finney is annoying however as the Belgian detective, but apparently this character is second only to Sherlock Holmes in British mystery and is the creation of Christie. Finney did impress several people with his ridiculous accent and handlebar mustache earned him an Oscar nomination. However then as now, accents, hunches, and old man makeup are enough to impress many people. Ingrid Bergman actually won for her simple minded Swedish missionary whose total screen time is probably less than 10 minutes. The cast can get distracting and the idea that the man killed really, really, really deserved it lends a unique perspective to this mystery tale.
*Murder on the Orient Express was nominated for best actor (Finney), best adapted screenplay, best cinematography, best costume design, best original dramatic score, and won for best supporting actress (Bergman)