I wrote my thesis on Agatha Christie, and her use of POV. One of the books I used was Murder on the Orient Express. Because of that, I have read it (over and over and over) fairly recently. I am a fan of the 1974 film.
I am also a fan of Agatha Christie. She is sometimes dismissed, but shouldn’t be. She was a master of her craft, and contributed a great deal to the genre. And 30 plus years after her death, she is still widely read. (Another blog post to come, I see.)
I will leave my rants about the recent Miss Marples to another post. This one is for the 2010 adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, starring the quintessential Poirot, David Suchet. The cast was wonderful. The production values were fabulous. But the adaptation. Mais non.
There were changes to the story (spoiler alert) like a stoning at the beginning (which Poirot seems to condone) and the seeming lack of a relationship between M. Bouc and Poirot that made me nervous about other changes, but I went with the flow. I know that a 2010 version, made in the shadow of the great 1974 film, would have changes. But where 1974 was a faithful adaptation, 2010 was more of an inspired by. And herein lies the problem. By tweaking the plot (to make it darker?), they ruined the story.
Some of my biggest problems? Colonel Arbuthnot considers murder to cover up his crime? No. Poirot doesn’t solve the case, but has it explained to him by the Princess Dragomiroff (not Caroline Hubbard? Was that because Eileen Atkins was playing the Princess?) No. The doctor is part of the conspiracy? No. And Poirot fights for the Law over Justice? No.
I will discuss what they’ve done to Miss Marple in another post, but I’ve come to expect those. But to have David Suchet play Poirot in a version of Murder on the Orient Express that I hated? Such a waste.