With the exception of Ocean's Eleven and its sequels, Hollywood no longer makes ensemble blockbusters, the type in which stars inhabit almost every role. These days, it's cost-prohibitive to accumulate so many big salaries. But when '70s directors adapted Agatha Christie's mystery novels, often populated by at least 10 shady characters with compelling motives, they used an A-list actor for each suspect. Murder on the Orient Express (1974), the most critically and commercially successful Christie film, topped out with Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins and Ingrid Bergman, among others. Detective Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney, who received an Oscar nomination for the part) interrogates the train's passengers, providing each actor with a solo showcase en route to the plot's spectacular resolution. Big-name talent aside, the stately Orient Express earned Oscar nods for cinematography, costume design and music. Murder on the Orient Express screens at 1:30 p.m. today at the Central Branch of the Kansas City, Missouri, Public Library (14 West 10th Street, 816-701-3400).
Sat., Nov. 22, 1:30 p.m., 2008