Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie


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After reading Martin Edwards’s blog post  at ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’, I was left willing to revisit either the book or the film. I did not have to wait long; last night I had the opportunity to watch in TeleMadrid the film version directed by Sidney Lumet in 1974.

I don’t pretend to review the film here and you can check what Kerrie wrote about the audio book at Mysteries in Paradise. All I want is to bring to your attention Ingrid Bergman’s performance. She earned her third Oscar with this interpretation, her first one for Best Supporting Actress.

Director Sidney Lumet offered Bergman the role of Princess Dragomiroff, with which he felt she could win an Oscar. However, she insisted on playing the much smaller role of Greta Ohlsson, the Swedish missionary. Lumet discussed Bergman’s role:

‘She had chosen a very small part, and I couldn’t persuade her to change her mind. She was sweetly stubborn. But stubborn she was… Since her part was so small, I decided to film her one big scene, where she talks for almost five minutes, straight, all in one long take. A lot of actresses would have hesitated over that. She loved the idea and made the most of it. She ran the gamut of emotions. I’ve never seen anything like it.’

3 thoughts on “Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie”

  1. >José Ignacio – Thanks for calling attention to this film and in particular to Bergman's performance. That scene is, indeed, memorable and Bergman did a wonderful job in the rest of the film, too. Also, thanks for sharing what Sidney Lumet said. I enjoy learning what goes on "behind the scenes."

  2. >She is good in the film though I must admit overall this film is one of my least favourite adaptations of Christie's work – I thought Albert Finney was all wrong as Poirot and some of the other performances were very melodramatic too. I'm looking forward to seeing the new take with David Suchet when it is eventually aired here in Australia

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