Remaking Murder on the Orient Express

When they re-made Murder on the Orient Express a couple of years back, I made it a point to NOT go see it.  The Albert Finney version made in 1974 is a favorite of mine and you all know full well that I don’t generally like Hollywood to re-make my favorites.

But it’s been on tv lately, so I succumbed last week.  It wasn’t a good beginning as far as I was concerned and by the time it got to the discovery of Ratchett’s body (which was very weirdly and disorientingly shot from above), I was done.   Then a couple of nights ago, I thought “what the heck” and clicked it on.  By luck of the draw, it was right in the spot where I had turned it off before so I didn’t have to watch the first 25 minutes again.  I made myself watch it until the end.

For the most part I like Kenneth Branagh but his Poirot was dark and moody, something I didn’t expect.  The characters weren’t all the same and the two movies varied widely on how the interviews were done and the murder solved.  Not to mention a couple of wildly grandstanding moments like when Branagh is standing on TOP of the stalled train “thinking”.   This MOE just isn’t a good a film as the 1974.

The wide variations between the two films made me really stop and wonder.  Do I really know which of the two movies is closest to the book?  I have to admit that no, I do not.  I read Murder on the Orient Express in high school, which is when I read all the other Agatha Christie novels.  High school was a LONG time ago so I’ll have to say, except for the stunning “they all killed him” denouement at the end, I really don’t remember most of the book.

You know where this is going, right?  I’ve requested the book from the library to find out.  I’m hoping the 1974 version is closer to the book, but even if it isn’t, I’m pretty sure it will still be my favorite!

When was the last time you had to look something up to refresh your memory?  Any movie remakes that you actually LIKE?

35 thoughts on “Remaking Murder on the Orient Express”

  1. I have to look things up almost daily, not movies but things hovering in the dim recesses. I just remember enough to know what it is I need to refresh.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It didn’t do anything for me. Yes, it is well made, but nothing happens. And I get that basically, that’s what it’s about: these girls and their lives. I’ve never read the book. I wasn’t expecting car chases and gun fights, but still… nothing happen. So I found it kind of boring. A well made boring film.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s what Thomas Niles of Roberts Brothers Publishing thought when Alcott gave it to him. His niece, however, to whom he gave the manuscript loved it and that gave him the confidence to publish it.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. I’ll be interested in seeing how they do the costumes and hair. A lot of the old “historical” films were ridiculous in both their interpretation of costume and hairstyle. Modern versions do better with costume but few of them get the hair accurate. To modern eyes, mid-nineteenth century hairstyles aren’t pretty.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. i am a peter otoole fan. in the 60’s he and petula clark remade goodbye me chips
    i really liked it without knowledge of the original robert donant version with greer garson. before the days of don demand i used to frequent video rental stores. a new one opened near my edina home and i went in and rented goodbye mr chips took it home and plunged it in only to discover there was a non peter otoole version. i was upset and took it back. the owner of the shop gave me my money back and asked if i had watched the older version. i said no. he said too bad it’s a better movie. i have since read that many agree with him and peter otoole got low rankings on a movie i loved.
    i do really like the original but the 60’s version is still a favorite
    i hadn’t watched the 70’s version of murder on the orient express but i enjoyed the recent one. i’ll go back and check it out and report in.

    i’m having trouble with my phone and didn’t get my post in yesterday because i kept getting kicked off
    you all recently heard my go to zen is farmville and i may need it
    like vs the travel industry implosion is killing my peace of mind . my new air bnb business went from exceptional to death spiral with travel at zero all of a sudden.ill have time for books on tape or movies while i do my postings on ebay i guess

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We watched Maigret, based on the novels by Simenon, and starring Rowan Atkinson. It was hard to picture him in a serious role but he was excellent, as was the series. Later we discovered an earlier Maigret series starring Michael Gambon. It was also excellent but had a different texture.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. OT: I am taking liberties here with this comment. I just received a link to an article on Covid 19 that seems exceptionally intelligent and well-researched. It came to me seconds after I canceled a routine doctor’s appointment. When I visited that clinic in December I caught an eye infection. I exactly fit the profile of people who are most at risk from this virus, so I’m ready to err on the side of caution.

    Here is a link to the article:

    Authorities tell us we should not panic. But they also tell us we might need to make some difficult choices in the next few days.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the concern. Staying with Molly and her guys isn’t an option. I actually have little contact with people here, so I think I’m as safe here as I can be. But this is something we haven’t handled before, and it is giving us a lot to think about. People are suddenly changing plans and lifestyles, which means we might avoid a major breakout . . . or not. If the virus gets in places like where I live, the results would be unimaginably bad. Most of my friends here are in fragile health. Let’s hope the steps many of us are taking will be effective and in time.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Just at grocery store. Bleach, toilet paper, and distilled water sections all empty. People are protecting their Precious Bodily Fluids.
    I needed distilled water for CPAP. They brought me a gallon from the back where they were hoarding it for people like me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Husband needs that, too. Here in ND we have only one case detected case of the virus. Social distancing isn’t too difficult out here. We have a lot of room!

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Morning-
    I’ve never read or seen this. But one of the local theaters is doing a production that just opened last night. Probably won’t see that either.

    Speaking of pandemics, the annual technical theater conference that I sometimes attend has cancelled this year. Was supposed to be the first week of April.
    Locally, I had a few events scheduled to work that have postponed or cancelled. And people I know in the industry have lost work because festivals are postponing.
    Things are rough all over.
    Our college is on spring break this week. Haven’t said we’re cancelling classes yet, but we are keeping a close eye on things.
    Mom’s senior living place still provided breakfast, but wrapped in plastic and sent her back to her room to eat. Sounds like a good plan for that type of situation.

    Take care of yourselves Kids. And wash your hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Moments like this are fascinating because they make you rethink your priorities. A day ago it was a real problem for my daughter to get through this week and the next, working at home with her son home from school because of the strike. She assumed I would be doing some serious babysitting to help her family get through the next days.

      As of an hour ago, she has decided I shouldn’t do a minute more of child care than is absolutely necessary. Kids spread viruses. If I come down with this thing, there is a strong chance I won’t come out of it okay. If I get it, perhaps it spreads to some of my friends and neighbors here. And then my family would have a very difficult legacy to live with, always wondering if they were complicit in a complicated medical disaster.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. tough stuff steve
        i hope this sorts itself out as we progress with the virus. my guess is it will be a month or 6 weeks till it is past the freak out stage then summer break and a cautious fall winter reintro.
        time to figure out how to do liam grandpa in the proper way.
        hang in the steve.
        my heart hurts for you


    2. My college (All of MNSCU system) has extended spring break another week and told faculty to prepare for alternate learning options.
      Gatherings of over 100 prohibited and no more rentals after Monday.
      I do still have a dance show here this weekend as far as i know. And Sundays DFL convention still on last I heard.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I noticed about a week ago that there’s a new series based nominally on the life of Emily Dickinson. That interested me, so I investigated. What I found was that calling it “nominally based” was wholly accurate because her name was about the only historically accurate thing about the series.

    In scripting it, the producers have modernized the language and idiom, the characters and the situation. Emily is an outspoken young woman trying to “make it” with her poetry.

    The standard portrayal of Dickinson as a quirky agoraphobe do her a disservice, but this production, to my mind, is a travesty. If that’s the story they want to tell, why link it to Dickinson at all? Will the viewers of this series believe they have learned something?

    If you want to see for yourself, here’s a link:

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I did see ads a couple of times for this and I will absolutely not go see it. Somethings are just too far over the line.


    2. I totally agree that a spunky, feminist ED would be unforgivable. I sympathize, however, with efforts–hopefully limited and carefully chosen–to avoid alienating modern audiences with language issues.


      1. I’m OK with them modernizing a story about a young woman in nineteenth century Amherst. Just don’t pretend it’s an historical biography.

        Liked by 4 people

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