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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Poster

Goofs from Murder on the Orient Express

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Jump to: Spoilers (4)
  • The opening scene takes place in 1934 Jerusalem, more exactly next to the Western Wall (also known as the Wailing Wall). There was no yard in front of the Wall until after Israel took over the place in 1967.
  • Poirot solves a mystery of a theft in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, announcing his solution in front of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Immediately after this, he appears in a port city to travel by boat to Istanbul. Although Jerusalem is landlocked in the desert, he is not supposed to be in Jerusalem, but his travel to the port city (likely Jaffa) is not explicitly shown.
  • Poirot wears an elaborate mustache protector the first night on the train. The second night, however, he doesn't, which is out of character, seeing as how he psychologically needs everything to be perfect.
  • There are prominent product placements for Godiva Chocolatier in the film, however they are using the modern logo rather than the more ornate one which would be correct for the 1930s. Further, prior to the 1950s Godiva only had one store (in Brussels), making it unlikely that the chocolate would be available on a train journey from Turkey to France.
  • Between Vinkovci (last stop before the murder) and Brod (today Slavonski Brod, the final stop in the movie) there is roughly 70km of a totally flat railroad. Nowhere near the alpine/mountain/snowy setting that it is depicted in the movie.
  • When Johnny Depp's character is in the small bathroom in his carriage compartment, you can clearly see the holes in his earlobes from his ear rings. It would be unusual for an American man in that era to have pierced ears.
  • Poirot writes down the words from the burning paper in his notebook. When he returns to the notebook it is clear that the message has been rewritten as the writing is not exactly the same.
  • Hercule Poirot famously looked after his "moustaches" by wearing a cover over them at night. This is shown in the first shot of him tucked up in bed with his book. However, when the train is derailed it would appear that Poirot had decided not to cover his moustache that night.
  • The number of passenger cars changes between scenes. It is also mentioned that there is a second-class carriage, but the train consistently has four carriages, and all of them are accounted for (first-class, baggage, two dining cars).
  • At the end of the film, Poirot is needed in Egypt to investigate a 'death on the Nile', referring to a possible sequel based on another Christie novel. In the novel, however, the murders take place after Poirot is aboard the Nile steamer.
  • Hercule Poirot continuously mispronounces the french word "oeufs" (eggs). The "fs" at the end should be silent.
  • In the incredibly tight shots inside the train, there are dozens of hinges that are attached with Phillips head screws. Phillips head screws were first invented in 1930, so it is difficult to imagine they would be installed so prominently on a train in Europe only four years after their invention.
  • Poirot is a native French speaker, yet multiple times pronounces the word for "eggs" (les oeufs), as "leyz euhfs". In actual French, both the F and the S are silent; it is pronounced with just a vowel sound for the noun, like "leyz euh".
  • At the end of the film, Poirot is told of a "death on the Nile". Poirot was on the boat, on the Nile, when the murder from the novel "Death on the Nile" occurred.
  • As the train leaves Istanbul, a panorama of the city shows the Galata Tower, a cylindrical tower with a distinctive high conical roof; however, although built in by the Genoese in 1348, the roof was destroyed in 1875, and was not restored until renovations which took place in 1965-67. For the intervening period, including during the time-frame of the movie, the tower was flat topped.
  • At the very end of the movie, Poirot is summoned to the next case, Death on the Nile, where a murder took place, while he was working the case on the Orient Express. However, according to the book "Death on the Nile", Poirot was already in Egypt and on the boat there, long before that crime was committed.
  • Clearly in one scene an actor is seen lighting his cigarette with a classic 'Zippo' lighter (and casually closing the top). As the story takes place in 1934, it may seem anachronistic for the 'Zippo', however the first Zippos were manufactured in 1932.
  • In the final scene at the Wailing Wall, Poirot's white pocket square is on the right side of his jacket...where no pocket exists. In the next scene, it's on the correct, left side. Then again on the ferry, it's back on the right.
  • When Poirot is trying to secure a last-minute berth on the train, he is told that it is fully booked. Various berths are discussed by numbers, until he is finally allocated space in number three. In other words - the number of one's berth is decided at the time of booking. However, when Princess Dragomiroff boards the train she rejects two berths before selecting a third. If her berth was pre-booked she should not have been able to do this.
  • When Poirot interrogates Ms. Schmidt, she is requested to speak in German. Although the effort is commendable, there is a strong accent and you can tell right away that she is not a native speaker.
  • When Ratchett's door handle is broken off by Poirot using his cane, the handle is on the right side of the door. In a flashback scene showing people leaving Ratchett's room, the handle is on the left side of the door.
  • On the train station in Brod, Poirot is talking to two policemen of color, which makes no sense for 1930s Yugoslavia.
  • Hercule Poirot presents a mystery he had to solve that took place in a church. In his words to the public who came to see him in front of the Western Wall, he mentions that the church is The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, that he claims to be, in his words, "just above them". Well, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is indeed in the Old City of Jerusalem, but in another part of it: In the Christian Quarter. Above the place where he stands there's, in fact, a different holy place: the Dome of the Rock, but that's an Islamic shrine - not a church.
  • Even though attractive SNCF 241.P 65 was used, the Class 241 was built from 1948 to 1952, but the movie takes place in 1934. In addition while the train goes through Turkey and Yugoslavia the locomotive never changes. This would be impossible due to regulations at the time. During the trip of the Orient Express the locomotive would have been changed on every border crossing.
  • Although most of the movie plays out in winter in the mountains, none of the characters take special precautions with regards to warm clothing, none seem to mind the cold, and none of them have visible breath as they should in such cold environment.
  • The "ice" on the outside of the cabin windows is exactly identical on every window of the train.
  • On just about every scene Poirot's goatee has either a different shape or different hair patterns. With prominent gray hairs you easily spot the lack of continuity. This is very strange for a character that supposedly has OCD and such a prominent visual characteristic.
  • In the Italian version of the movie, when making his offer to hire Poirot, Mr. Ratchett says: "Italians, third world!". The term "Third world" was created during the Cold War by Alfred Sauvy in an article published in the French magazine L'Observateur on 1952 referring to unaligned countries with either Soviet bloc or the NATO bloc.. long time after 1934 when the movie takes place.
  • Since the events took place in 1934, it's a clear mistake of the movie makers having included two recordings from 1935 ("Merry-Go-Round", performed by Duke Ellington, and "I Get A Kick Out Of You", performed by Leo Reisman), and one from 1938 ("Any Old Time", performed by Artie Shaw).
  • When Poirot describes the scene of the rabbi, the priest and the imam speaking he says, while standing in front of the Wailing Wall, that the three clergy men were "in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre above us". The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is some 600m away / 10-12 min walking and in no way "above" the Wailing Wall, above which there is nothing.
  • The threatening letter Ratchett is reading in his cabin is misspelled.
  • When Poirot suspects an issue with Mr. Ratchett Poirot uses his cane to open Mr. Ratchett's berth door by first snapping off the handle then using his cane to break the chain lock off which can only be locked from the inside of the room. During the scene of how the murder occurred, Michelle Pfeiffer's character Caroline Hubbard is seen exiting from Mr. Ratchett's room and closing the door behind her. This could not be possible because she could not have locked the door using the chain lock. She would have had to exit through the berth window if the chain was broken off by Poirot.
  • The bridge type, over which stopped the train, is common in USA, but not seen anywhere in Europe.
  • In the opening scene in Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock is shown covered in shiny gold. Although the golden dome is an instantly recognizable landmark of Jerusalem - in 1934, when the movie takes place, the Dome of the Rock was covered in blackened lead, and was coated gold only in 1959.
  • Just after Poirot boards the train, a phonograph is shown playing a record. The disk is actually a modern 12" LP. In 1934, there were only 10" 78;s.
  • McQueen uses the term 'cash cow', which was not coined until the 1960s, 30 years after this movie was set.
  • Uniform LED-like interior accent lighting seen inside the train cabin. There was no technology in 1930s that would allow this kind of lighting at that time. When the train leaves you can also see a tubular light bulbs on the wall of the final car, again, these kind of light bulbs didn't exist in 1930s.
  • In Istanbul, they announced the departure of the Simplon Orient Express "with connections to..". The Simplon was a direct service to Calais so there wouldn't be any connections as announced.
  • Steam engines are powered by steam, generated by burning oil, or in this case coal. Steam is piped to the rail cars the heat them, and is expanded to run a generator and produce electricity. We see the cars are warm and the lights are on, therefore indicating the steam engine is under fire and producing steam. However, all shots of the steam engine show it with snow stuck to the boiler indicating the boiler is at or below freezing. Furthermore, the engine appears to be knocked off the tracks, which would result in the crown sheet of the boiler becoming uncovered of water and causing the boiler to potentially explode.
  • Both threatening notes received by Ratchett misspell the word "better" as "bettr".
  • Although the steam locomotive shown in the film is an European model, its added effects and features only occur in US locomotives and it would hardly be found in a European locomotive: the sound of the whistle, the bell, the snowplow (seems more like a cowcatcher)
  • At the end of the film the Countess Elena Andrenyi tips her medication Barbital down the sink. If she had the dependency that she depicts earlier in the film, doing such a thing would kill a person in a matter of days. Barbital was a powerful barbiturate, similar to Valium but obviously as a liquid, harder to regulate, the withdrawal from a large amount to nothing would almost certainly kill anyone.
  • When a knife is pulled out of Caroline's back, not a drop of blood is on it.
  • The rescue crew is equipped only with hand tools, yet they are somehow able to re-rail not just an 82-tonne (180,000 lb) tender but also a locomotive weighing over 131 t (289,000 lb)
  • Despite beautiful landscaping, that's not how it looks between Vinkovci and Slavonski Brod in Croatia. That part of Croatia (Yugoslavia in 1934.) is actually lowland and there are no hills or mountains.
  • During the effort to find a berth on the Orient Express, attendant Pierre Paul Michel stated passengers already booked all First & Second Classe berths or seats, respectively. Second class passengers would have a separate car from the first class passengers. The train pulled only four cars: a baggage, sleeping, dining, and bar car. During the transit and after the train stopped the film neither shows a second class passengers nor do the characters refer to them, ever.
  • Late in the movie when Dr. Arbuthnot confronts Poirot with a handgun he employs a two handed grip on the gun colloquially know as tea cup or cup and saucer method. This method of handgun shooting was not taught until WW 2. A WW 1 military trained shooter like Dr. Arbuthnot would have been taught to shoot a handgun with a one handed grip exclusively.
  • In the opening scenes, one character is seen doing what appear to be martial arts kicks and moves that would not have been widespread in the early 1930s. However, he is a famous and accomplished dancer, and the moves look somewhat like ballet moves. Alternatively, he could have traveled enough to have been exposed to the martial arts.
  • When Poirot is questioning the Count and Countess Andrenyi he looks at her Hungarian Passport. It is issued by the Kingdom of Hungary and on the inside above the Countess's name it says "Au nom de Sa Majest? Fran?ois Joseph 1er". In 1934 Hungary was indeed a (nominal) monarchy but the Emperor Franz Josef died in 1916.
  • Hercule Poirot is a French speaking Belgian detective, but Kenneth Branagh repeatedly mispronounces "oeufs", the plural of egg.


  • Poirot and Arbuthnot fight each other in a boxcar, however, the next shot is of the entire train, which does not include a boxcar.
  • Although every cabin is affected by the derailment and the sudden stop of the train -to the point that suitcases are thrown off their storage and people off their beds- Ratchett's cabin stays unaffected. Ratchett himself is nicely tucked in bed and his belongings (pocket watch, ashtray, etc) on the table.
  • When the derailed train is finally put back on the rails, there is a scene immediately following that shows Poirot standing in front of the locomotive. The train is clearly still derailed in this scene, even though we saw it get put back on the rails just a moment earlier. A few scenes later, the train is back on the rails again.
  • When Poirot and Dr. Arbuthnot fight, they are on the floor in an open side door in the baggage wagon, facing a great depth. In the general view of the train that follows, there is no such door, so it is either missing in the shot, or facing the other side of the train, where there is no great depth.
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