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Why I Watched Murder on the Orient Express Twice
This is probably one of my favorite Agatha Christie story aside from The Cheap Flat and the constantly interesting. And Then There Were None. Two of them had as its protaganist the Belgian Detective with the funny mustache and aided by the little gray cells finds the solution to a murder. Murder on the Orient Express abd Then There Were None have been adapted into radio plays, films and even comic books.
Murder on the Orient Express is interesting because aside from the challenge of solving a mystery of a murder on train from Turkey to Europe it takes on the issue of justice and vengeance. More than any novel Christie has come up with.
The film adaptations take these themes differently. An interesting difference. The film done in the 1970s with Albert Finney and an ensemble of veteran actors – like Ava Gardner, John Gielgud, Martin Balsam, Sean Connery, Michael York, Richard Widmark, Ingrid Bergman and others – was a visual showcase of the opulence of the upper class and first class, with a larger than life Poirot, who despite the usual schools of red herrings, plots and counter- plots- solves the murder.
On the other hand the recent adaptation with David Suchet delivers a darker adaptation of the mystery. From the first scene where were a soldier shoots himself before his officers. To an adulteress stoned to death on the streets of Turkey. Heralds of the sinister doings on the coach of the train. It is also a more spiritual take on Christie’s story, as a belief against belief are pitted against the other. Poirot here is more reserved in demeanor to the point of being soft-spoken and humble . As deceivingly placid as the sea until faced with what he perceives as an injustice done.
Though both film adaptations remain faithful to the mystery of the Murder on the Orient Express, it is interesting to see how differently they were interpreted one seemed like an enjoyable mystery set in an age that has past while the other makes us think not only of the solution to the mystery but also the consequences that goes beyond the solution. A mirror that reflects the souls of each character and perhaps even mirrors our own.