Murder on the Orient Express (again)

Trailer here.

I saw Johnny Depp’s name come up and my heart fell, anticipating some campy travesty of Poirot. Fortunately

he plays Ratchett, so he is disposed of fairly early on.

Since I can’t imagine anyone doesn’t already know the “reveal” (although I won’t spoil it here) and the previous two versions (Albert Finney’s all star turn from 1974 and the British TV version with the definitive Poirot, David Suchet, from 2010, with bonus religious overtones) offered ample opportunities to savor period furnishings and opulence and ham acting, I wonder what this version has to offer that is worth making a new movie for?

Kenneth Brannagh plays Poirot, with at last the ferocious moustaches I was led to expect from the books (except he would never let them go gray like that), Judy Dench plays Princess Dragomiroff, Michelle Pfeiffer plays Mrs. Hubbard, and Derek Jacobi plays the valet. Brannagh also directed, so in some sense it may be a vanity project, but he’s certainly done good work before.

Coming in November. No doubt to breathless anticipation.

I’m shocked - SHOCKED! - that Derek Jacobi is still alive! But delighted. I’ll look forward to it.

At this late date, Agatha Christie is basically performance art. The producers can not possibly suppose that any significant proportion of the audience is ignorant of the plot and its resolution, so the production has to revolve around how they can make it fun to watch the inevitable plot spin out.

Certainly no one has been sitting around wishing for another adaptation of this book but at least it looks like it could be a bunch of fun. Great cast and I do enjoy Brannagh, as an actor and director.

I just heard about this a couple days ago. My first thought was that this movie really didn’t need to be remade. But then I saw the cast. It may still not measure up to the original, but they’ve brought some serious talent to it.

She wrote 80-something novels; there must be a few whose plots aren’t that well known.

Very true. But not this one.

It would be interesting to see someone go the Clueless/Ten Things I Hate About You/Sherlock route and to a really good modern day adaptation using the core elements of the plot - while not actually using the same name. Not sure if she died long enough ago to allow that.

I’m having a really hard time seeing Keneth Branagh as a Poirot. Jury Dench would make an awesome Princess Dragomiroff though.

Murder On The We-Don’t-Use-That-Word-Any-More-It’s-Politically-Incorrect Express

Murder While You Wait: a cast of thousands stuck in the airport as the claim forms for delay compensation and missing baggage are handed out, all of them with murder of someone on their mind, but only one body in the end…

Murder on the Orientate Express

Set on a train heading in the wrong direction

That’s an impressive cast. Coupled with an impressive moustache.

You think Branagh will have a problem playing a self-important ass?

Well, looks interesting, though mrAru commented that Brannaugh as Poirot is really wrong, but he sort of looks like Bridges as The Dude … :dubious::smack::stuck_out_tongue:

I am somewhat bemused as Poirot is described as basically pudgy, a dapper dresser, an egg shaped head with classic heavily waxed moustaches. Much like David Suchet in the TV version of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. [we actually were binge watching them this past couple of weekends.]

As an aside, is there a decent Lord Peter Wimsey anywhere to watch?

The only ones I know of are an ancient (1950s/60s?) series with Ian Carmichael, and one from the 1980s or so with Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walter (which was pretty good but it only did a few of the stories). I see there are examples of both on Youtube.

I see very little upside to this remake. The original had a better cast and was helmed by a better director. The latter is critically important because the movie is, by necessity (a) very talky, and (b) bound to essentially a single set. Lumet proved with 12 Angry Men that he could execute on this level in spades, and he did (I think it’s still probably the best Christie film adaptation, even though I like Ustinov’s Poirot better). Branagh as director has yet to show he has those kinds of chops (it’s a very hit-&-miss career) and furthermore, I think he’s miscast as the detective, too (especially if his Belgian ack-sent is as bad as his American one). Of course, morbid curiosity means I’ll probably get around to it eventually, but there are so many of Dame Agatha’s books that haven’t seen the silver screen–why not do one of those instead?

Actually, quite a lot of folks today don’t know what the famous solution to it is. While she still has name recognition, Agatha Christie certainly has fallen out of popular appeal and at least two generations of movie-goers have grown up not being familiar with either the book or the 1974 movie. The David Suchet series was mainly popular among the already committed fans. (And, IMO, the David Suchet version added some interesting elements, but was one of the weaker adaptations in the series. The solution itself was de-emphasized.) It actually makes sense to remake it now, since few people know it.

And if nothing else, “Orient Express” lends itself to an ‘all-star’ cast movie, wherein a lot of great character actors are set loose and allowed to chew up the scenery. We’re long overdue for a great romp like that.

I wouldn’t recommend the old TV series these days, but I always thought Carmichael’s performance of the Audiobook versions were great.

Albert Finney’s performance makes that version, for me at least, unwatchable. I’m hoping beyond hope that Kenneth Brannagh doesn’t set my teeth on edge.

Actually, there WAS a made-for-TV adaptation in 2001 that updated the story to the (then-) present day. It starred Alfred Molina, who seems to have done his usual good job, but fans were outraged at the update…they just couldn’t get their brains around Hercule Poirot looking up info on a laptop. I think they were trying to get a TV movie series going with Molina in more updated Poirot stories, but it never got off the ground.

But just to play devil’s advocate…why is the 2001 Murder on the Orient Express considered such a travesty, when Sherlock and Elementary are so well-received?

Someone tell Jacobi he’s three times the actor Branagh is (And i kinda like Ken). He doesn’t need to be Branaghs second fiddle.

I first saw this movie with Finney in the 80s. My brother walked in, and remarked 'Oh, this is the one where ***** did it." I replied that I didn’t know, I hadn’t seen it before. Convinced I must have mis-remembered, as how could I not know this movie by now, went into detail about the ending to jog my memory, despite my protestations that no, I had never seen the movie before, and didn’t know who did it. The look on his face when he realized that indeed, I had never seen the movie before and he just spoiled the whole thing was priceless, but it didn’t stop me from wanting to kill him.