I’m a huge Hercule Poirot fan – every year at about this time I go on a Poirot audio book binge, which always includes my absolute favorite book, Murder on the Orient Express. It’s the first Agatha Christie book I ever read and it’s the reason for my misguided choice of French for my high school language – I wanted to know what Poirot was muttering about and we didn’t have online translations back in the day.
So when I heard that there was going to be a new movie version of the book starring Kenneth Branagh, I decided to give it a try. And it was pretty entertaining overall. There were changes, of course. Some were harmless enough – I’m fine with turning Colonel Arbuthnot into Dr. Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr.), and if you want the American detective (Willem Dafoe) to pretend he’s a Austrian engineer, that doesn’t really change things. Plus, it’s always good to be reminded that racism and Nazism are evil.
I don’t think it was necessary to make Mrs. Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer) a man-crazy widow, and I guess we only got Pilar Estravados because Penelope Cruz wanted to be in the movie – Pilar is way more fun in the book she came from, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. But we also have Judi Dench as Princess Dragomiroff, and any movie with Judi Dench in it is automatically better.
Here’s my major complaint, though: THERE IS NO WAY POIROT WOULD EVER GO OUTSIDE IN THE SNOW IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER WITHOUT A COAT. AND PROPER BOOTS. AND AT LEAST TWO SCARVES. NO WAY. That is just so wrong, as any Poirot fan would know.
We’ll definitely be adding this new version to our collection as soon as it’s available on Blu-Ray and DVD, but if you need something to hold you over until then, there are a few good options available from Hoopla, one of our downloadable content providers. The best thing about Hoopla is that everything is always available, so you can download these whenever you want with no wait!
If you need something to watch, try the 2010 TV version from the the series Agatha Christie’s Poirot. It starts David Suchet as our beloved detective, and I’m pleased to note that EVERYONE in this version is dressed appropriately for the weather.
If you prefer audio books, there are two versions available in Hoopla. This 2013 version is narrated by Dan Stevens, who not only does all the accents but gives each character a different voice as well.
And of course, there’s the 2017 movie tie-in version narrated by Kenneth Branagh. He does a fine job with the accents, but everyone sounds exactly like Kenneth Branagh. But there are worse problems to have, I suppose.
Get stabbing!Download Murder on the Orient Express from Hoopla today!
Amy E. is a Senior Librarian in the Music, Film & Audio department. She has a fondness for obscure Japanese mystery novels and true tales of the Gilded Age, though neither one really relates to film or audio.