Based on the 1934 novel by Agatha Christie, Albert Finney took on the famous role of Hercule Poirot to solve the Murder on the Orient Express.
Directed by Sidney Lumet, the film was adapted by Paul Dehn for the big screen.
Starring Albert Finney as the Belgian detective Poirot, the storyline is simple: Poirot is on his way home via the Orient Express train when a business tycoon is found dead on the train. And its suspicious.
Train company director Signor Bianchi (Martin Balsam) asks Poirot to investigate the death of Samuel Ratchett (Richard Widmark) and begins to question the numerous possible suspects played by an all-star cast: Lauren Bacall, Michael York, Vanessa Redgrave, John Gielgud, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Jacqueline Bisset and Anthony Perkins.
As Poirot had briefly met Ratchett, who had asked him to investigate death threats before his death, he feels compelled to find out what has happened and who is responsible for stabbing the man 12 times. Who is the culprit when there are 13 suspects, including a valet, a princess and a British officer?
Made for a budget of US$1.4 million, the production company had to convince Christie to allow them the adaptation – but since she had a fondness for Finney, she agreed. And they landed Sean Connery as the first star, which led others to agree to participate.
Filmed in and around Paris, the film was released in November 1974 by EMI Films/Paramount Pictures, to a round of positive reviews, with Roger Ebert saying the film was “a loving salute to an earlier period of filmmaking.”
Making $35 million at the box office, the film was nominated for six Academy Awards, with Ingrid Bergman winning best supporting actress, and winning the same award from the BAFTAs. The film won several awards and was considered the most successful and best adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel.