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Murder, She Said
16 Uhr 50 ab Paddington

UK 1961
directed by George Pollock
starring Margaret Rutherford, Arthur Kennedy, Muriel Pavlov, James Robertson Justice, Thorley Walters, Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Conrad Phillips, Ronald Howard, Joan Hickson, Stringer Davis, Ronnie Raymond, Gerald Cross, Michael Golden
based on the novel 4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

Miss Marple, Miss Marple (Margaret Rutherford)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Witnessing a murder in a train overtaking the one she travels in but failing to convince police inspector Craddock (Charles 'Bud' Tingwell) - mainly due to the absence of a corpse -, Miss Marple (Margaret Rutherford) decides to take investigations into her own hands. Searching the surroundings of the traintracks, she & Mr Stringer (Stringer Davis) soon find a trail that leads to Ackenthorpe Manor, & since Miss Marple soon figures she needs someone on the inside, she takes up a job at the manor as maid. The household consists of old Mr Ackenthorpe (James Robertson Justice), a grumpy, greedy but immensely rich invalid, his daughter Emma (Muriel Pavlow), his grandson Alexander (Ronnie Raymond), & creepy gardener Hillman (Michael Golden) ... & of course the corpse, whom Miss Marple soon finds with the help of young Alexander, a lively lad who would do anything to ewscape boredom. Finding of the corpse of course brings inspector Craddock back to the case, & he soon rounds up the rest of Ackenthorpe's family as possible suspects (Thorley Walters, Ronald Howard, Conrad Phillips, Gerald Cross) - they were all at the manor on the day of the murder, mainly to fight over their father's inheritance. Also, a motive is soon dug up when it is suspected the victim was Nicole, the French widow of a long deceased son of Ackenthorpe, who would make a claim on part of the money. Of course, as they are all here, some more murders occur, including food poisoning, but the murderer, of course, is someone completely different - family doctor Quimper (Arthur Kennedy), the secret lover of Emma, who was already married in France though, to the first victim he only lead the others to believe was Nicole to shed suspicion onto the Ackenthorpe household - & Miss Marple tricks him into a confession, to be heard by inspector Craddock. In the end, Ackenthorpe even proposes to her, but she rudely declines.

 

First in a series of 4 Agatha Christie-Miss Marple adaptations (The others are Murder at the Gallop, Murder Most Foul & Murder Ahoy)  - & quite possibly among the best Christie adaptations ever. Though it takes great liberties with the novel 4.50 from Paddington, it does stay true to the spirit of the writer's work, in placing the crime in the Englich countryside, populated by a host of eccentric characters (with Rutherford of course being the scenestealer - in a good way) & always carefully balancing between dead-serious & blackly funny elements. Somehow later adaptations of Miss Marple (including a long-running - 1984 to 1992 - series of tv-movies starring Joan Hickson, who has a minor role in this one) never quite managed to get this mixture even remotely right.

Agatha Christie by the way was very pleased by this treatment of her novel & even dedicated another book about Miss Marple (Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side) to Margaret Rutherford - which was never filmed with Rutherford though, but with Angela Lansbury in the lead. The character of Mister Stringer on the other hand was completely made up especially for the movie, allegedly as a favour for Margaret Rutherford who, in real life, had been married to actor Stringer Davis since 1945. Stringer Davis does work quite well as a sidekick, though.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD