Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Best Actor 1974: Albert Finney in Murder on the Orient Express

Albert Finney received his second Oscar nomination for playing famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express.

Murder on the Orient Express is a movie that seems to have been made to be like a old fashioned movie. With its particular use of editing, cinematography, and acting. I actually enjoyed it well enough. I really have not seen a lot of Agatha Christie work so I cannot compare it to others, but I liked it as it is.

The acting in this film has a lot of over the top nature to that, and no one goes more over the top in this movie than Albert Finney. Again I have not seen other portrayals of Poirot so I am basing this solely on his performance and how it works in the film. Finney certainly is mannered here, by arching himself to have his head under his shoulders to look all the stranger. He uses a strange accent that is a bizarre mixture of his own British accent with a Belgianish accent. With all those oddities, I did like his performance actually. It is not subtle or really brilliant but I was entertained by his performance.

An interesting thing is that despite being the lead Finney's character really has very little to him, since I guess the other novels fleshed out Poirot instead. Finney is there as almost a machine just to solve the mystery. He has no personal stories or personal investments in the murder, he is just there to solve it. He does that with his various interrogations, which amount to basically the same thing over and over, but I find Finney makes them entertaining. Then Finney has his last scene involving the long explanation. I do believe Finney puts the right amount of energy into this scene to keep it going, and he almost makes the explanation seem believable. This is not an amazing performance at all, but I enjoyed it enough, and I thought it worked well for the film.

5 comments:

Sage Slowdive said...

Very weak performance...even though Orient is far from being wonderful, I thought the actresses in the film dominated it.

Fritz said...

He was good but nothing like Poirot in the books who may be very arrogant but he is also very funny.
Of course, the supporting characters stole the film.

Louis Morgan said...

I thought the supporting characters were a mixed bag, some were interesting mostly the women but some were rather pointless like Connery and Michael York.

joe burns said...

What did you think of Bergman in it?

Louis Morgan said...

I thought she gave an interesting performance but nothing that needed to be awarded.