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Peter Ustinov on the Orient Express

“How did the Orient Express acquire its mythical status?”

This question is posed by the incomparable Sir Peter Ustinov as he takes us aboard the most famous luxury train in history.

Filmed in 1991, Sir Peter sets out from London and it is not long before he meets a series of famous figures from the past that are synonymous with the Orient Express. These include, Sir Basil Zaharoff (pre world WW1), Mata Hari (1920s), Ernest Hemingway (1940s) and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor who honeymooned on the famous train, following King Edwards abdication in 1936.

 The Orient Express even played a part in both World Wars.

We experience boarding the alphabetically named carriages, preparation of the high quality meals and the perfectly trained staff. There’s also a map illustrating the many routes this great train takes.

Sir Peter winds up his journey in Venice with a cruise down the canal on a gondola and the story of Italy’s famous lover, Casanova.

I will admit I am a big fan of the great train and Sir Peter Ustinov so it was a pleasure to sit back and watch this documentary and yes I couldn’t help but think of his highly popular role: Hercule Poirot. As expected there are numorous references to Agatha Christies, Murder on the Orient Express.

If anything it was a trifle short at 55 minutes, however, this only makes me want to board the Orient Express even more and surely that is the sign of a great presenter and subject matter.