Angela Lansbury does the honors as Agatha Christie's determined sleuth, Miss Marple, in this adaptation of Christie's novel. A washed-up movie star (Elizabeth Taylor) is attempting to make a comeback but is driven to distr... more »action by a mysterious event from her past. Also problematic for Taylor's struggling actress is a series of murders occurring with clockwork regularity in the quiet, 1950s English village where a film is being produced--killings that are all somehow connected to her. Despite the British backdrop, most of the suspects, including Rock Hudson, Kim Novak, and Tony Curtis, are American in this 1980 feature directed by Guy Hamilton (Evil Under the Sun). (At least Miss Marple's nephew, the redoubtable Inspector Craddock, is played by Edward Fox.) The bad news: this is a curiously flat, monotonous film, with a mystery hook that, sad to say, is among Christie's more familiar and predictable. Hamilton doesn't demand much of his largely ornamental cast, and they don't volunteer much to fill the void. Still, fans of Miss Marple and Christie, especially those with a burning hunger to see every film or television program based on the books, will want to check it out. This DVD edition is presented in the film's original widescreen format, and it includes television spots that were part of the film's marketing at the time of its theatrical release. --Tom Keogh« less
Charlene C. (mccoffield) from SOUTHLAKE, TX Reviewed on 12/31/2015...
I love Agatha Christie's mysteries, and though this film, which I believe was released in the 1980's, is a typical 'Hollywood' production -- not one of the much superior PBS productions -- it still has its charms and is a must-see if only due to its all-star cast.
Leading the cast is Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Kim Novak, Tony Curtis, Edward Fox, Geraldine Chaplin, and of course, Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple. Taylor plays a very dramatic Hollywood actress, newly arrived in a quaint English village to shoot a movie. Hudson plays her producer husband and delights us with some of the best facial expressions of his career. It's also interesting to see Kim Novak play a rather nasty supporting role as long-time nemesis to Taylor's character. Curtis has a relatively minor role as director(?) or assistance to Hudson's character. Landsbury's role as Miss Marple was also cast as a supporting character, rather than the intricate leading character from Christie's novels.
Still, this is definitely a must-watch either for fans of Christie or for fans of Taylor, Hudson, etc. The DVD quality is pretty darn good for a film of this period, as it's been technically enhanced for widescreen viewing.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
A Mild Meow
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 05/01/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Like many screen adaptations of Christie novels, THE MIRROR CRACK'D features an all-star cast--and in this case the casting would seem inspired: Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple, Rock Hudson as a film producer, Elizabeth Taylor as his movie-star wife, Kim Novack as a rival screen queen, and Tony Curtis as Novak's lover and the producer of the film they are all making. But director Guy Hamilton is more interested in having his cast offer star turns than in actually serving the story, and the result is a strangely uneven, extremely plodding film that only comes to life when Taylor and Novak square off in the series of hilariously written and performed cat-fights that run throughout the movie.Part of the problem lies in the source material. THE MIRROR CRACK'D is one of Christie's lesser novels, written in a very sparse style and lacking Christie's usual knock-out solution in its story of a fan who drops dead of poisoning at a film star's reception. In order to flesh out the tale, the script piles extraneous scene upon extraneous scene--with the Taylor-Novak scenes a case in point: enjoyable as they are, they actually have little to do with the story and so tend to slow the film down. To make matters worse, the performances are extremely casual at best. Taylor and Novak are extremely enjoyable in their scenes together--but elsewhere they are merely adequate. Hudson and Curtis are flat. And Angela Lansbury, a normally brilliant actress, has one of her rare failures with the role of Jane Marple.At most, this film is for viewers who want to be in on the last major cinematic gasps of Taylor, Novak, Hudson, and Curtis--and those who derrive a certain joy from evaluating the level of decay seen here in the aging cast. And most will enjoy seeing Taylor and Novak flog each other with nasty one-liners delivered with considerable flair. But cat-fight scenes aside, THE MIRROR CRACK'D is just one very mild meow."
Humourous and Likeable
Review Lover | At a place... | 01/06/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's not big, it's not terribly clever, and it won't change the way anyone thinks about anything at all, but this 1980 version of one of Agatha Christie's less-loved novels of the same name is still an enjoyable tale of murder and gentle rebuke.Set in a highly stereotypical American vision of the 1950's English countryside, the whole town is abuzz when Lola Brewster (Kim Novak) and Marina Rudd (Elizabeth Taylor) take up residence to film a production of 'Mary, Queen of Scots'. When one of Ms. Rudd's long-time fans is murdered at a reception given for the Star, Miss Marple (Angela Lansbury) and her nephew Inspector Delbert Craddock (Edward Fox) investigate the crime.Script and direction are nothing more than diverting, with a nod here and there to the likes of Joan Crawford and Bette Davis - the two movie Queens feud continually - and some extremely clever one-liners - Ms. Taylor's line about Doris Day takes on a whole new level of meaning, as her director husband Jason is played by Rock Hudson. As Christie's well-loved sleuth, Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple is amusingly self-depracatory in her role, claiming that not everyone who comes into contact with her winds up dead. She'll never be Joan Hickson, but in a film such as this, Lansbury's lighthearted and somewhat campy performance is perfectly pitched. Tony Curtis and Rock Hudson do passable jobs in their respective roles as Producer and Director, and the supporting cast is nothing more than perfunctory (including a rare nonspeaking cameo from a VERY young Pierce Brosnan), but for all that, they hang together well enough as an ensemble.The plot and subsequent climax are forgettable, but, as with the rest of the film, come with a gentle likeable atmosphere that saves them from being mundane.If you can pick it up cheaply, then go for it, it's perfect Sunday afternoon viewing. In total, 'The Mirror Crack'd' is a sweet, campy film that unfortunately stays too close to 'Average' to be a definite recommendation."
Lansbury before She Was Jessica Fletcher
Movie Mania | Southern Calfornia | 01/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The team that that brought you Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile are putting their talents to the other great Agatha Christie sleuth, Miss Marple. The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side was the best book to use the all star treatment.
St. Marysmead is being invaded by Hollywood. They are making a movie of Mary Stuart but the costars are bitter rivals. It all comes to a head when there is a murder attempt on the film's star Marina (Elizabeth Taylor) at a welcome party, just when her rival Lola (Kim Novak) enters. Instead of Marina, a village woman is killed.
Marina's husband Jason (Rock Hudson) is trying to keep the peace but a second murder attempt happens and Marina is completely unraveled. Of course there is always another murder - Agatha is never satisfied with just one! And like her counterpart, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple (Angela Lansbury), collects the suspects and solves the mystery.
This film is pure camp and does not measure up with the two mention Poirot films but it's nice to see all the fading stars. This would be Rock Hudson's last film and it is fitting that his costar is his best friend, Liz Taylor. Also nice is to see Tony Curtis and Kim Novak in films again.
Even though the film was not a success, it did lead to Angela Lansbury's biggest success, Murder, She Wrote.
Just sit back and enjoy the film. "
O.K. Agatha Christie
James L. | 08/06/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"An American movie production invades a small English town, and if that weren't enough to cause a disruption, murder comes with it. Once again, Miss Marple comes to the rescue, with her incredible knack for detail and deduction, as well as her understanding of human nature. Miss Marple is played by Angela Lansbury, who doesn't quite capture the famous character, but is entertaining in the role nonetheless. Rock Hudson is the director, Tony Curtis the producer, while Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak are the stars of the American production. Their performances are alright, with Novak seeming to have a lot of fun, but nothing special. Actually, that's part of the problem with the film - it's competently done, but nothing more. There's some good dialogue between Taylor and Novak, but on the whole, the film lacks energy. It could have been a lot better, although it is certainly watchable."
Miss Marple Crack'd
Francis M. Hough Jr. | Charlotte, NC USA | 03/10/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I think Angela Lansbury is one of the world's great actresses, versatile with comedy, drama, and musicals, but though giving it her best effort, she's just not quite right for the frail, bright eyed Miss Marple in this adaptation of one of Miss Marple's lesser mysteries.I say lesser because I was easily able to guess the killer despite a wide assortment of suspects, and when one is able to do this easily with Christie, something just isn't right.The quality of the new DVD release of this 1980 film isn't in the same league with EVIL UNDER THE SUN and DEATH ON THE NILE either. The image is not as sharp as it should be nor are colors as vibrant as I was expecting. The mono sound is fine, the melancholy score adding immeasurably to the somber nature of the story as we delve deeper into untying the knots of the mystery. The supplements are skimpy to be sure.Yes, there are changes from Christie's book, and the actors cast are a Who's Who of 1950's Hollywood, appropriate for the time period of the film (1953), but each one is overaged for his part by at least fifteen years. The star power is so great, however, that few will probably quibble. It's great to see some of these people in a big budget film one more time.If you get this DVD, get it for the celebrated cast but be forewarned that the mystery is subordinate to the star wattage on display."