31 December 2008

"Trial by twelve good men and true . . . It's a sound system."

This post is a part of J.D. at Valley Dreaming's 2nd Annual Endings Blog-A-Thon.

(There's spoilers. No duh.)

It's a testament to the quality of Sidney Lumet's cinematic output of the 1970s that he was able to amass a cast of celebrated actors like Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Vanessa Redgrave, Wendy Hiller, John Gielgud, Michael York, Jacqueline Bisset, and Alfred Finney to star in Murder on the Orient Express for what must have been a much lower salary than usual. However he managed to get them all under one roof, I'm glad that he did.

Probably my favorite aspect of Murder on the Orient Express is the last scene in which Albert Finney is called upon to deliver what is essentially an 8 page long monologue that sums up the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Ratchet and stages a depiction of how all the passengers played a part in the crime.

The scene calls for Finney to explain every detail of the case and essentially carry a good portion of the film on his shoulders, and he does it amazingly well. I love this film, and I love this ending. See it if you haven't. You're unlikely to find a more entertaining example of classic Hollywood glamour and stardom at its best.

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