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MURDER on ORIENT EXPRESS - any opinions on newest version?

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Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot? - your favorite parts?

Your opinions of the "Suchet" version

and the 

"Albert Finney" versions?  Just wondering!


>>>personally, I still love the various "characters" in the first version (Finney)--they are very clear cut, and especially Tony Perkins is still thrilling and perfect.

>>>I love anything Toby Jones does, so the "Suchet" version is darned good. But what really sets this one apart is the "Stoning" scene in an Istanbul courtyard (just look away, it's their culture) and the fantastic acting by David Suchet, who steals the show from all the other characters.


thanks, fans, for your opinions!

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I really didn't enjoy the remake. It was lushly filmed, but I felt the character development was not up to what it should be and blame Branagh for that.  His Poirot seems flat to me. This was unfortunate because I do like Branagh and I love Poirot. I think the acting was great, but I felt that director's choices when cutting a scene made for inelegant transitions and clipped or truncated exploration of character motive. I couldn't figure out why he made the choices he made as a director. Maybe someone else has a theory on what he was going for, and if so, please share. I'd like to like this movie. 

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It's really hard for anyone to compete with Sidney Lumet's adaptation of Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express" because he not only did an excellent job but he pulled a "Grand Hotel" on us and at that particular time in the world it may have been the last time that we could see that many Golden Age Stars come together for one final curtain. Lumet had top World talents, top Hollywood talent and current top talent.

Albert Finney of course was tremendous even though I don't particularly like his take on Poirot--I'm too used to Suchet's "sweetening" of the character, which of course had to be done if you were ever going to maintain an audience over a period of years with a limited series.

I don't think there will ever be a greater screen actress than Ingrid Bergman and this was one of her last great roles. Sidney Lumet had initially offered her the role of the princess, which he thought was befitting her abilities and stature.  But Ingrid wanted the meatier role of the nanny.

I love the way the Hollywood movie stars meld with the British stage stars and there's a lot of intersection in between.

Sean Connery and Vanessa Redgrave set the stage--giving an old-style British Empire noblesse oblige tone to the movie.

One of Hollywood's most underrated character actors, Marty Balsam, completely goes unrecognizable into character as the director of the railroad line.

One generation's Shakespearean Hamlet was John Gilgeud, who is an Antiquated Jewel, as the minimal butler.

The legendary cast is filled out with Wendy Hiller as the princess, Richard Widmark as the gangster and everybody's favorites psycho, Tony Perkins as the hyper- nervous gangster's secretary.

Two current stars of the 70s played the young beautiful couple-- Jacqueline Bisset and Michael York.

And the famous veteran actress was played by another famous veteran actress, the top femme fatale of the noir Golden Era,  Lauren Bacall.

Well, there you have it Grand Hotel, 1974, on the rails.

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Thanks very much for your interesting replies.!!!

Afraid I will NEVER watch the new version---I simply cannot stand to look at Kenneth Branagh's makeup.

It is too disgusting to even describe.

All I can assume is that he (or the hair/makeup crew) got some sort of payoff to destroy the film's

profitability.(similarly, Johnny Depp's dead raven on his head in LONE RANGER scuttled any chance for a good box-office for that film)


And: Hey, folks, let's for once get a real BELGIAN actor to play Poirot, Ok? There must be some. Would that be beyond the realm of possibility?

The other actors and the sets look stunning. But all to naught--I can't watch it.


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It’s pleasant, and the photography is beautiful but there were a lot of weird arbitrary choices made, seemingly just to be different from the great Lumet film. Branagh’s acting is fine but his appearance is distracting. The ending, all new, and nothing like the book, is almost impossible to make sense of. All in all it’s fun to watch, but it’s not a patch on the 1974 film. Also, I find the Suchet film just about unwatchable. By this time his Poirot character had changed significantly and become tiresomely sanctimonious and pompous. Nothing at all like the fussy, cerebral but charming character we loved earlier in his run.

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Also, I find the Suchet film just about unwatchable. By this time his Poirot character had changed significantly and become tiresomely sanctimonious and pompous. Nothing at all like the fussy, cerebral but charming character we loved earlier in his run. 

I love Suchet's version of Poirot, as far as I'm concerned, he is the standard.

I didn't care for Finney in the 1974 film at all. Frankly, I couldn't understand him half the time.

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Yes I set the standard by Suchet as well.

I will say that one thing I like about the new version is that it draws attention to the older versions.  With all of the remakes and reboots out there it becomes evident to the public that there were other versions and maybe they decide to seek them out.

As far as Branagh's Murder on The Orient Express goes I think it falls into the category of good enough.  It is by no means the most memorable, but it was entertaining enough that I would watch it again.  I agree Branagh's acting was fine, but physically I did not see Poirot.  When I think Poirot I think Suchet followed by Ustinov then Finney and finally James Coco.  Who am I kidding, Coco right after Suchet. :lol:

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Suchet was the best Poirot of them all, but I have yet to see his version. I preferred the lighter takes from that series before they became deadly serious later on.... Its been a long time since I saw the 1974 film which had the best cast of the three versions. I really do need to rewatch it. As for the most recent version, there were some moments that didn't fit in, in particular a brief action sequence about a minute in length that was just not appropriate for Dame Agatha. But, overall, it worked. The story was still mostly intact, Branagh (in spite of the giant moustache) gave a good, understated performance, the film looked fantastic ( it was done on 65 MM film), and they really emphasized the emotional hurt that motivated the murder, and it was a very good idea, made the story more poignant, more tragic, and certainly gave a certain someone one of their meatiest scenes in years to play.

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Branagh's mustache had a mind of its own.  It was hilarious in its own way, but was also absurd.  There is a funny scene where he's asleep and his mustache has its own sleep mask on.  However, I do agree with previous comments that the character development was lacking.  We never really learn much about the characters, except for what we see them doing.  Aesthetically, the film looked beautiful, but at the same time, some of the CGI was over-done and it was very obvious that it was computer generated.  The film was worth the .75 I paid for it when I rented it from RedBox, but I don't need to see it again.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It premiered on HBO last night. I agree with some that David Suchet is the standard, but I was intrigued by how Branagh played the character, a more imposing presence than we're used to with Poirot. He definitely wasn't the fussy little man whom most people wouldn't credit with a brilliant mind always at work, analyzing everything at a discreet distance. Branagh's front and center, more proactive than reactive. His Poirot is a real take-charge kind of guy. But at one point, as someone mentioned, it veers into Indiana Jones territory with the chase/fight on the trestle, so overall he's maybe too imposing. It wasn't nearly as bad as the two films not too long ago which made action heroes out of Holmes and Watson, but I think that scene was a dumb choice. Maybe they figured they had the services of CGI artists, so they may as well go for it with the rough and tumble, but I wish they'd just stuck to the gorgeous CGI landscape shots, such as the aerial view of the train pulling out of Istanbul.

Something I liked was that Branagh seemed to recast Poirot's mania for order as something beyond simple (I know it's not simple.) OCD. When his shoe stepped into horse ****, after a moment of thought he stuck the other shoe into it, explaining that it was about balance. The same with the two breakfast eggs. When the second batch still didn't quite match in height, Poirot was able to smilingly tell the boy who had fetched them that it was close enough, demonstrating that he could live with a slight imbalance without being a jerk about it. The idea that it was all about balance for a man dealing with the scales of justice made good sense out of that particular quirk of Poirot's. It also helped to make sense of Poirot's ultimate choice at the end of the movie when he had to balance these people's guilt against the enormity of the crime against them.

One thing I questioned was the final scene where the police guy at the station tells Poirot that they need him in Egypt, because there's just been a murder on the Nile. OK, so they're maybe setting up a sequel, but that murder doesn't happen until after Poirot's arrival, so it struck me as a sloppy way to do it.

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