The Christmas Spirit, Part 3

I know these two movies aren’t technically movies about Christmas, but they both take place in the dead of winter, and what better time to watch movies that take place in the dead of winter than in the dead of winter?

Agatha Christie’s oft-filmed story, “Ten Little Indians” is my first suggestion.  There are numerous versions of this classic mystery floating around, and most agree that the 1947  version, “And Then There Were None” is the best of the lot.  If that one was the best, the version released in 1988, which takes place in Africa(!), must surely be the worst.  In between these two is a wonderful but overlooked version filmed in 1965, starring Hugh O’Brien and Shirley Eaton.  Fabian plays the first victim.  Instead of setting the story on an isolated island in the English channel, the story takes place at a deserted, snowed-in resort.  As one-by-one the guests are killed off, the snow gets higher and higher and the temperature gets lower and lower.  I guess by now everybody knows clever twist at the end, but no matter how many times you watch “Ten Little Indians,” it’s always enjoyable.

The second film, like the first, is taken from an Agatha Christie story, “Murder on the Orient Express.”  Filmed in 1974, this one sumptuous, stunning movie to watch.  What an amazing cast:  Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Berman, just to name a few.  Everything about this movie is right:  the costumes, the sets, the music, and the acting.  No wonder it won a bunch of awards.   Though not as well known as “Ten Little Indians,” this one has an equally compelling twist at then end.  The mystery (Richard Widmark is murdered) takes place on a train, which is stranded during a raging blizzard.  Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) happens to be on board and is called upon to solve the mystery before the train gets dug out and moving again.

These are both great movies to watch, preferably at night, with the lights down low and a fire crackling upon the hearth.

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