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A+ Cast Aligns for Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express Cast

Kenneth Branagh/Photo © Denis Makarenko

Editor's Note:

Good news for Murder on the Orient Express fans, and devastatingly poignant news out of Jordan as we wrap up Banned Books Week. This and more in your Daily Blunt.

The new film version of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express has big shoes to fill — the 1974 version featured Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, and Ingrid Bergman among others. Director Kenneth Branagh is well aware of this, and has populated his upcoming film with the kind of stars you’d pay to watch even if they were just sitting on the train and reading a newspaper the whole time: Michelle Pfeiffer and Judi Dench for starters, plus relative newcomers Daisy Ridley and Michael Pena, and possibly even Johnny Depp. Bring on the murder! The question remains, however, for those who haven’t read Christie’s classic mystery: Do you bone up before the movie comes out, thus spoiling the ending for yourself? Or do you go in cold and let yourself be surprised, at the expense of getting to read with a pure visualization of the characters?

We’re closing out Banned Books Week with sad news from Jordan, where violence has officially preempted injustice. Nahed Hattar, a writer who was about to stand trial for a cartoon poking fun at Islam, was assassinated by a lone gunman on his way to the courthouse. Hattar’s trial had already ignited concerns about Jordan’s freedom of speech, and his death has drawn condemnation even from those who sought to prosecute him for the blasphemous cartoon. It’s a devastating reminder of how far some people will go to silence those who oppose their sincerely-held beliefs with even a handful words or brush-strokes.

Every year, comics writer Benito Cereno takes a look at which scary movies will be on Netflix throughout the Halloween season, and composes a handy viewer’s guide to steer people toward “the good, notable, or at least interesting” among them. Here’s 2016’s harvest, which is broken up by sub-genre (for example, “Vampire shit” vs. “Slasher shit”) as well bonus categories you might not have thought to creep yourself out with, such as “Horror-adjacent Documentaries.” This also serves as a reminder to watch “The Exorcist” before you go to bed tonight — it will vanish from the streaming service tomorrow, October 1.

There can be only one… “Highlander” katana, that is. The mythic sword used as a prop by the aforementioned Connery and Christopher Lambert in the venerated 1986 fantasy film has come up for auction, and is expected to fetch £10000 to £14000. Also, we lied: Apparently another prop sword exists, scavenged from the Highlander TV series. The winners of these lots will have to cross blades to determine who has the claim to eternal dominion over all fandom (fortunately the blades are blunted for stunt-use, so decapitation won’t be an risk).