Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom, 1974. EMI Film Distributors, G.W. Films Limited. Screenplay by Paul Dehn, based on the novel by Agatha Christie. Cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth. Produced by John Brabourne, Richard B. Goodwin. Music by Richard Rodney Bennett. Production Design by Tony Walton. Costume Design by Tony Walton. Film Editing by Anne V. Coates. Academy Awards 1974. National Board of Review Awards 1974.
The seventies saw a few Agatha Christie murder mysteries made into films, and this is the most celebrated of them all. While riding a train through Europe after solving yet another confounding case, Hercule Poirot (a slyly hilarious Albert Finney) finds that a notable passenger (Richard Widmark) was murdered during the night when the vehicle stopped due to heavy snow conditions. When it is discovered that every passenger on board has some involvement to a recent kidnapping case in which the victim is also implicated, a whole slew of guests are immediately seen as suspects and our investigator must go through them all one by one to find out who actually did the deed. Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for her gem-like performance as a shy Swedish missionary, though surprisingly her entire performance is virtually accomplished in one scene. Sidney Lumet doesn’t waste a single member of the cast (which includes Sean Connery, Jacqueline Bisset, Wendy Hiller among others), letting them all have their moments and giving them all a chance to shine. Reportedly, Christie was more satisfied with this film adaptation of her novel than any other made in her lifetime (and thankfully she never lived to see Appointment With Death).