Kenneth Branagh is the latest in a long line of directors to adapt Agatha Christie’s seminal detective novel Murder On The Orient Express, in which he also plays Hercule Poirot.
The 1974 Sidney Lumet directed adaptation proved to be both a critical and commercial hit, and is widely regarded as being one of the best ever interpretations of Christie’s work. It also helped that, alongside the Academy Award nominated director, the film starred Albert Finney, Martin Balsam, Richard Widmark, Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York, and Ingrid Bergman, who won the 1974 Academy Award For Best Supporting Actress for her performance.
Those are pretty big shoes to fill. Especially as Fox reportedly spent $55 million on this adaptation, which suggests they have big plans for “Murder On The Orient Express." Possible sequels that would revolve around Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot have already been touted.
“Murder On The Orient Express’” box office receipts will ultimately decide whether further installments are made, but considering the terrific exploits of the world’s most famous detective in the recently released film there will be scores of people eager to see his immense deduction skills in action again.
What exactly did Hercule Poirot achieve in “Murder On The Orient Express,” though? Well he found out exactly how Samuel Ratchett (Johnny Depp) died, something that you can learn about for yourself by clicking below. Obviously there are SPOILERS ahead.
Who is the Murderer On The Orient Express?
Everyone. Well, everyone except for Hercule Poirot and the Orient Express’ director Bouc (Tom Bateman) that is. It actually took Poirot being shot in the arm by the expert marksman Dr Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr.), to realize all of his suspects were in on the murder of Ratchett, though.
Why? Because Ratchett was actually born as John Cassetti, who in the early 1930s abducted a little girl named Daisy Armstrong hoping to be paid a huge ransom by her wealthy family, but instead murdered her, even though the money was paid. This tragedy cause Daisy’s pregnant mother Sonia to go into premature labor, killing both her and the unborn child. Daisy’s father then committed suicide soon after.
John Cassetti got away with the murder, and escaped to Europe, where he forged a new life as Samuel Ratchett. But those closest to the Armstrong family never forgot, and, at the urgency of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Caroline Hubbard, a meticulous and calculated plan was made to murder Ratchett that involved 11 other people.
That’s right, all 12 passengers helped to hold down Ratchett as the others then stabbed him once, which resulted in his death. What were their connections to the Armstrong family, though? Here’s a breakdown:
1) Hector MacQueen (Josh Gad) – Employed undercover as Ratchett’s secretary. But his father tried to prosecute Armstrong’s innocent nurse, who killed herself, which destroyed his career.
2) Princess Dragomiroff (Judi Dench) – Daisy Armstrong’s godmother.
3) Hildegarde Schmidt (Olivia Colman) – The Armstrong family’s cook.
4) Dr. Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr.) – Served in the army with Daisy’s father.
5) Biniamino Marquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) – The Armstrong’s chauffer.
6) Pilar Estravados (Penelope Cruz) – Daisy’s nursemaid that fell asleep when she was abducted.
7) Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley) – Daisy’s Governess.
8) Edward Masterman (Derek Jacobi) – The Armstrong’s butler, who is working undercover in the same role for Ratchett.
9) Countess Elena Andrenyi (Lucy Boynton) – Daisy’s aunt, who is actually called called Helena Goldenberg.
10) Gerhard Hardman (Willem Dafoe) – An American detective name Cyrus, who was in love with the nurse accused.
11) Pierre Michel (Marwan Kenzari) – The accused nurse’s brother.
12) Caroline Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer) – Actually Linda Arden, who was the mother of Sonia Armstrong.