Starry remake of classic whodunnit

Cast members of the new Murder on the Orient Express, starring and directed by Kenneth Branagh.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Agatha Christie’s classic mystery, Murder on the Orient Express, with its richly drawn characters confined to a luxurious passenger train, taut scenes and crisp dialogue, has fixated audiences since the novel’s debut in 1934. We first had a star-studded movie version in 1974. Now we have another – equally as star-studded. BILLY SUTER reports
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

HERCULE Poirot, the best detective in the world, is travelling on the Orient Express when the train accidentally gets stopped because of strong snow. Little did he know that a murder was planned and that a person on this train was capable of commititng such crime.

Will he solve this murder before the train starts working again?

This is the premise of Murder on the Orient Express, considered one of the most ingenious stories ever devised.

More than 80 years after its publishing, Christie’s novel remains beloved by new generations of readers, and director Kenneth Branagh’s retelling of the mystery with its acclaimed ensemble and breathtaking scenery, is now on the big screen.

The new film, which reached South African screens on November 24, stars Branagh as Poirot, and also features cameo appearances by Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Penelo Cruz, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Judi Dench and Adam Garcia.

Fictional detective Poirot, is one of Agatha Christie’s most famous characters, appearing in 33 novels and more than 50 short stories.

Branagh’s preparations to play Poirot were extensive and included reading all of the Poirot novels, according to the new film’s production notes. He began a year ahead of the shoot with a birthday present of a paperback First Edition – The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

Fittings for his bespoke suits started nine months ahead of shooting, the notes add. The most time-consuming element was the exact thickness and angle of the knot in his tie, and its perfect reproduction every time he wore it. This required three months of experiment with fabrics, starch and a good deal of patience.

Johnny Depp in Murder om the Orient Express.

Branagh was also measured and fitted for handmade shoes, wearing them in over a period of three months.

The actor also gathered all written descriptions of Poirot’s moustaches by Agatha Christie, using the extensive resources of the Agatha Christie Estate.

After this began the nine-month process of research and development for the requisite face furniture that would live up to what Miss Christie described as “the most magnificent moustaches in all England”.

Poirot has been described by Christie in a variety of ways throughout her work. As Kenneth Branagh observes: “She had fun evolving him and not being too strict about rules she may have set.

He adds: “Occasionally, I think she was frustrated by him in that he was her most popular creation, but I think she learned to love him again and again and again. His distinguishing feature is his kindness, and it’s often repeated how kind he is.

“He is also very fastidious, both about his personal appearance, but particularly about his immense and magnificent moustache. A touching piece of vanity that Christie often reports on, and that Poirot acknowledges.

“She also is quite wry about suspecting that his hair colour may not be entirely natural, and may have been helped out by various unguents. His sharpness of mind and his clear brilliance as a detective is something that she makes no bones about.

“ His ability to see detail, and particularly, to see human psychology in depth, and with nuance, I think she enjoyed. She clearly had that as an individual herself. She makes a lot of snap judgments about people, in her life, in her letters.

“She herself travelled widely, and she was a very independent-minded person, and very, very observant. So, she gives all of those qualities to Poirot.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s