It has been 43 years since the original Murder on the Orient Express streamrolled its way into theatres. Based on the classic Agatha Christie novel many of us were forced to read in High School (only to find out that it was actually amazing), this blockbuster just might invigorate and familiarize an entirely new generation with the gripping murder mystery. For those of you who haven’t read the book or seen the original, the story follows a group of strangers on a lavish train trip across Europe when a murder takes place. When the world’s best detective with the most magnificant mustache, Hercule Poirot, is called on board, everyone immediately becomes a suspect so that the mystery can be solved before the killer strikes again.
The 1974 movie was a major hit starring some of the biggest names of the day, including Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, etc. The glitz and glamour of the setting, aboard the luxurious Orient Express train, coupled with the equally glamour clientele, made the story a perfect platform for an impressive all-star cast. In fact, the film was noted for being one of the most powerful ensemble cast productions of its time. Other film and television adaptions of the book were made in the years since, but honestly none of them are really worth noting.
Fast-forward to 2017, and we do have something to talk about. In the new Ridley Scott production, we see Kenneth Branagh not only take on the role of Belgian detective Poirot but occupy the director's chair as well. He and Scott have assembled another all-star cast that can arguably rival the original. Some of the famous names include Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, and Willem Dafoe. When Johnny Depp is not the biggest star on a project, it's worth noting!
Among the younger stars is Daisy Ridley, who shot to fame recently playing Rey in the Star Wars sequel trilogy; Josh Gad, who most recently played the highly discussed breakout character LeFou in Beauty & the Beast; as well as Broadway star Leslie Odom Jr., who appeared as Aaron Burr in Hamilton.
The post-Halloween season is one of the biggest times of year for movie theaters, and although Murder on the Orient Express couldn't quite catch up to the godlike numbers of Thor: Ragnarok at the box office, it did manage to open at #1 on its release date this past Friday.
With the movie doing so well, it just might inspire some of us to dust off the book and re-read it before watching it ourselves. Agatha Christie and our high school English teachers would definitely appreciate it!