The formula can't fail: a first class journey on the '30s Orient Express, meticulous detail, a murder with all suspects aboard. In fact, the most suspect thing is the comfortable complacency of it all, threatened only by the flashback beginning, a Lindbergh-type kidnapping recalled with dream-like intensity, and Richard Widmark's haunted performance. The script copes with the silliness of Agatha Christie's plot (whodunit is disappointingly obvious), and works best as an essay on the use of the English language by foreigners: the train's full of them, and their quirky phrases help provide the solution to the mystery. Lumet ensures a smooth ride, but as usual takes too long to say what he means and brings the Express in 20 minutes late.
Cast and crew
Albert Finney Lauren Bacall Martin Balsam Ingrid Bergman Jacqueline Bisset Jean-Pierre Cassel Sean Connery John Gielgud Wendy Hiller Anthony Perkins Vanessa Redgrave Rachel Roberts Richard Widmark Michael York