In times past, say when Siskel and Ebert ruled the genre, it was expected that film writers would be familiar with movies. That requirement no longer seems to be the case. How else does one explain a tweet by one Rebecca Theodore, a contributor to the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly, posting a picture of the cast of the upcoming Kenneth Branagh-directed adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” with the following lament: “’Movie called "#Orient Express’ – and I don't see any Asian people on here?” According to Twitchy, the reaction was fast and furious, though having nothing to do with the movie franchise.

For those who might be as ignorant as Ms.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Theodore, “Murder on the Orient Express” is a murder mystery that takes place on a luxury train that ran from Calais to Istanbul back in the 1930s. The story featured Christie’s signature detective, the Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot. The story does not take place in Asia nor does it have any Asian characters. The book was previously adapted for the screen in the early 1970s.

Apparently, Ms. Theodore tried to double down on her inane tweet and suggested that, yes, the original story did have an all white cast, but for reasons of diversity one or more could have been changed to “South Asian” of whom she believes many lived in Great Britain at the time of the story. Finally, she gave up and took her Twitter account private, effectively blocking all of those people who were pointing out that she was an idiot.

Advertisements

The kerfuffle makes one wish for the return of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, the two Chicago-based film critics who pioneered the television film review in their PBS show “Sneak Previews” starting in the 70s and ending in the late 1990s. To be sure, Siskel and Ebert often annoyed by interjecting their politics in their reviews, but at least they died before the current obsession with diversity at all costs in film casting. One suspects that their love and knowledge of film would have overcome their leftwing politics and caused them to look askance at the ignorant musings of people like Rebecca Theodore. Of course, Ms. Theodore would likely have snarkily replied about “white male privilege” or some such buzz phrase millennial race baiters like to use to shut down debate.

One can hardly wait for Ms. Theodore’s review of the film and her complaints that Poirot is to be played by Branagh who is, as all the world knows, not Belgium but British. And what is up with the French accent? Wouldn’t Poirot speak with a Belgium accent? The mind boggles.