Intriguing Facts About ‘Murder on The Orient Express’ by Agatha Christie

Embark on a journey through the fascinating world of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and discover intriguing behind-the-scenes insights and lesser-known facts. From Christie’s own globetrotting adventures that inspired the iconic characters to the royal involvement in bringing the story to the big screen, each detail adds depth to the enduring legacy of this beloved tale. Join us as we delve into the captivating universe of murder, mystery, and intrigue aboard the legendary Orient Express.

  • Agatha Christie drew inspiration straight from her globe-trotting adventures. Picture this: In 1931, she’s travelling back from the Middle East on the Orient Express, clocking all the diverse folks sharing her journey. Some of these colourful characters? They became the blueprint for the iconic personas in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. Plus, Christie’s travels weren’t all smooth sailing—she faced delays from flooded train tracks and even heard about the Orient Express getting snowed in, adding some serious real-life drama to her storytelling arsenal.
Murder on the orient express by Agatha Christie
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  • The Daisy Armstrong storyline drew inspiration from a true-life tragedy. Charles Lindbergh, famous for his transatlantic flight, faced a harrowing ordeal when his child was kidnapped and tragically killed. Numerous parallels between the Armstrong case and this real-life crime emerge, such as a falsely accused servant taking her own life. Despite the devastating event, Charles and his wife Anne continued to live for many years following the kidnapping.
Daisy Armstrong storyline--Agatha Christie
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  • In the United States, the title of the book underwent a change. Upon its initial publication, it was renamed ‘Murder on the Calais Coach’ to distinguish it from another novel titled ‘Orient Express’ by Graham Green. This alteration aimed to prevent confusion among readers and to ensure that the book reached its intended audience effectively.

  • Christie cleverly weaves references to ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ in her other books. In ‘Cards on the Table,’ Poirot subtly hints at the solution to the mystery by revealing the murder weapon to a young woman. However, it’s best not to dive into this book before experiencing the Orient Express adventure! Additionally, in ‘Murder in Mesopotamia,’ the narrator mentions Poirot’s involvement in a murder case aboard the famous train during his journey home. Furthermore, a character in ‘Appointment with Death’ possesses knowledge of some of the secrets surrounding the Orient Express crime, adding intriguing connections across Christie’s literary universe.
‘Cards on the Table'-- Agatha Christie
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  • Agatha Christie’s mastery of the Russian language has been a key element in her storytelling before. In ‘Murder on the Orient Express,’ the Cyrillic alphabet becomes pivotal in unravelling a crucial clue at the crime scene. Similarly, in the short story ‘The Double Clue,’ Poirot’s understanding of Russian proves essential in solving a jewel theft case. Christie’s adept use of linguistic knowledge adds depth and intrigue to her mysteries.
The Double Clue--Agatha Christie
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  • The 1974 film adaptation soared to unprecedented success. Sidney Lumet’s rendition of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ became the highest-grossing film in Great Britain for a significant period. It garnered numerous award nominations and secured multiple wins. Albert Finney earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Poirot, while Ingrid Bergman clinched her third Academy Award for her outstanding supporting role as Greta Ohlssen.
  • While Agatha Christie generally gave her thumbs-up to the 1974 film adaptation of ‘Murder on the Orient Express,’ there was a minor hiccup. Christie felt that Albert Finney’s mustache didn’t quite live up to her description of it as “the finest mustache in England” from the book.

Also Read: Agatha Christie’s Influence Beyond Fiction

  • The Royal Family played a significant role in bringing the movie to life. It’s said that Lord Louis Mountbatten, who happened to be the father-in-law of one of the producers, played a pivotal part in persuading Agatha Christie to grant the rights to the film. Notably, Charles Dance, known for his roles in various adaptations of Christie’s works, portrayed Mountbatten in ‘The Crown’.
  • ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ made its mark in the gaming world with a computer game adaptation released in 2006. Featuring David Suchet as the voice of Poirot, it marked a unique instance where he portrayed the detective across different media formats for the same story. In the game, players assume the role of train employee Antoinette Marceau, assisting Poirot after he’s injured in a train crash. Poirot guides players with helpful hints throughout the game. While the ending is slightly altered for a more uplifting outcome, the essence of Christie’s tale remains intact.
Murder on the orient express by Agatha Christie game
Image Courtesy: Steam
  • ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ found its way onto the stage through the skilled adaptation of renowned dramatist Ken Ludwig. Premiering in 2017, the play received rave reviews and has since been staged by theatres globally, captivating audiences far and wide. To streamline the production, six major characters were omitted from the play. Similarly, a 2001 TV adaptation starring Alfred Molina also made cuts to the suspect line-up, maintaining the suspense while adapting the story for television audiences.
Murder on the orient express by Agatha Christie play
Image Courtesy: Broadway Booking Office (BBO)
  • Agatha Christie toyed with the idea of personally adapting “Murder on the Orient Express” for the stage. When renowned playwright Ben Hecht expressed interest in adapting it, she declined, contemplating her own version instead. Her adaptation would have likely delved into the aftermath of the Armstrong kidnapping, exploring its impact on those involved. Although Christie never penned the play, a 2015 Japanese miniseries took inspiration from this concept. It adapted the original novel in the first half and explored the backstory of the crime in the second half, bringing Christie’s envisioned narrative to life in a different medium.

  • During the filming of the 2017 adaptation, a unique technique was employed by Kenneth Branagh. Television screens were positioned outside the windows of the train sets, displaying simulated movement of the Orient Express. However, the ultra-realistic effect had an unexpected downside: a few cast members experienced motion sickness as a result.

‘Murder on the Orient Express’ by Agatha Christie remains an enduring masterpiece that continues to captivate audiences worldwide. From Christie’s own adventures that inspired the narrative to the diverse array of adaptations across various mediums, the allure of this timeless mystery knows no bounds. With its rich tapestry of characters, settings, and plot twists, the ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and the enigmatic detective Hercule Poirot will undoubtedly continue to fascinate and enthrall generations to come.