The Original Miss Marple
Terry D. Robertson | Asheville, NC USA | 04/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oscar winner Dame Margaret Rutherford was the first to play the famous Agatha Christie amateur sleuth. This time around, Miss Marple is doing her usual charity drive and runs across a dead wealthy recluse. The death is cited as a heart attack due to his fear of cats, but Marple has a piece of hardened mud of a riding boot marking. She deliberately listens through the window of the reading of the will and none of the family seem to upset over the death but are keenly interested in what they might gain. The estranged sister declares he was murdered and Miss Marple finds her later stabbed through the back of a chair with a long hat pin. The nephew owns "The Gallop" a pseudo hotel riding stable and Ms. Marple declares to the always exasberated Inspector Craddock, she is going on holiday--much to his relief (or so he falsely assumes). It it at the Gallop the movie unfolds and clues mount complete with false leads until the killer is revealed. But only after Marple fakes a heart attack in order to corner the murderer of the brother and sister.
The Miss Marple MGM series made in the UK only totalled 4 films although a fifth installment was announced at the end of the 4th movie--it never materialized (possibly due to Ms. Rutherford's failing health).
There have been many Miss Marple incarnations, but Rutherford was the first and the best. She plays the role as Christie created her with great panache and wit. The spinster sleuth is as clever a detective as any of Mrs. Christie's inventions and other writers of the genre.
Rutherford is a delight, as usual and real-life husband Stringer Davis plays her friend and sidekick. Charles Tingwell is also great as the sometimes harassed Inspector Craddock who has to take the snooping Miss Marple with more than a just grain of salt.
The complete Miss Marple series has been compiled into a DVD set and is worth the investment because once you watch just one, you will want to see the other movies in this worthwhile but short-lived series.
Extremely well done."
More humorous than her I die
Jacques COULARDEAU | OLLIERGUES France | 07/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This mystery is a marvel. Miss Marple is once again fascinating. Fascinating because she can do so many things that are so unexpected, such as climbing the top of a pile of barrels on a draughtsman's cart to snoop, overhear and eavesdrop in order to know what is being said in a private meeting in some notary public's office. But she reveals herself again as an ex-champion this time in horse riding in some kind of competition some decades ago. She even reveals herself as a Charleston dancer in the old days turned a twist dancer in the early 1960s. Persistent little booger who cannot be stopped even by a criminal, and a nasty criminal there is in the surrounding vicinity. Everyone expects a man and it is not. Everyone expects a family person and it is not. Everyone expects the criminal to hit and strike again and that is the real truth. It happens in no time, over and over and over again. Marvelous. But she declines a proposal that would have been charming business for her but she is too keen on snooping and meddling and investigating that she cannot accept to become a businesswoman behind a counter even if it is a luxury counter. And I must admit Margaret Rutherford is a prodigious actress that can turn any simple situation into some kind of dark deep mysterious menacing trap, for criminals of course but also for the audience. And her films have such a wonderful level of humor that it becomes hilarious at times like when she pretends she is suffering a severe heart attack. We wonder how gullible people can be, criminals can be to fall into such a shady but threadbare trap. It is true this second level reading or watching is also one essential element in these simple films.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines