Sleeping Car Murders, The (1965)

Sleeping Car Murders, The (1965)

“We may be fairly sure this job is not the work of a professional.”

A detective (Yves Montand) in Paris investigates the murder of a beautiful young woman (Pascale Roberts) on a train.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Costa-Gavras Films
  • Detectives and Private Eyes
  • Murder Mystery
  • Simone Signoret Films

This fast-paced murder mystery was Greek director Costa-Gavras’ only stab at “pure entertainment” films before turning to political thrillers such as Z (1969), State of Siege (1973), and Missing (1982). While Murders garnered raves from critics upon its release, but it hasn’t aged well. The film’s two ostensible leads — Catherine Allegret (Simone Signoret’s real-life daughter) and Jacques Perrin as young lovers who meet on the train — are annoying:

… and while Signoret provides some moments of campy enjoyment as a self-absorbed actress, she (along with nearly everyone else) is too quickly killed off. To its credit, The Sleeping Car Murders does keep one continually guessing as to the identity of the killer — but the ultimate resolution of this mystery is unsatisfactory, and the plot has become so convoluted by this point that it’s hard to care.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Simone Signoret as an aging actress

Must See?
No. Though it holds some historical interest as Costa-Gavras’ directorial debut, this is not “must see” viewing.


One thought on “Sleeping Car Murders, The (1965)

  1. First viewing. A must…not!

    What was Director Costa-Gavras thinking?! (And Peary?!)

    Dreary. Confusing. By the end, laughable. Probably defied good direction; the script is ABYSMAL! (Doubtful it would sound better in French; and the dubbed version does accent comic potential – what would Woody Allen have come up with had he given this the ‘What’s Up, Tiger Lily?’ treatment?)

    Among the cast, a number of fine French actors…set adrift, and left at sea. (Only interesting performance: a cameo by dependable Bernadette Lafont.)

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