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Miss Marple - General Discussion


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4 hours ago, dgpolo said:

The one that turned me off of Geraldine McEwan for good was The Body in the Library. If you want to write your own story don't pretend it's Christie.

This is why I never got into the 'Marple' adaptations, whether McEwan or McKenzie. They made such sweeping changes to the stories, right down to changing who the murderer was - the very first one I watched put me off right from the start. Give me Joan Hickson any day of the week. Her version was of its time, sure, but captures the spirit of the novels to perfection. A wonderfully faithful adaptation.

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2 minutes ago, BlackberryJam said:

Call me crazy but I loved Helen Hayes in that one film she did. She nailed woolly and fluffy.

Hayes did three Marples (though one wasn't really a Marple) she's probably my second favorite.

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She did! I was on my phone responding though.

I could have liked McEwan because she got that appearance of scatterbrain. However, the changes to the mysteries were just terrible. Do not get me started on that MacKenzie abomination of The Secret of Chimneys.

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4 hours ago, BlackberryJam said:

I could have liked McEwan because she got that appearance of scatterbrain. However, the changes to the mysteries were just terrible. Do not get me started on that MacKenzie abomination of The Secret of Chimneys.

I’m new to the series. Finishing up on the McEwan and McKenzie ones.

But I’m the opposite-I found McEwan’s Marple cunning and that she knew from almost the getgo who the guilty one was and McKenzie the scatterbrained one.

I am left wondering though, why so many adaptations have thrown Marple in, when she wasn’t in the books. Like Ordeal by Innocence, and now The Pale Horse. I’m sure there are more.

I am enjoying seeing so many actors and actresses that crossed the pond to Hollywood movies and shows.

I will DEFINITELY be checking out the Hickson version when I’m done.

A big THANKS to @BlackberryJam for directing me here!

 

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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I really can’t stomach the McEwan or McKenzie ones for the same reason I don’t like many of the Lester Poirots: too many changes. Agatha Christie was a brilliant writer who was an absolute genius at creating mysteries. I can think of no good reason for monkeying around with her plots and characters.

I’m not a total purist. I realize that some things have to be changed (at times) in the move from page to screen. But unnecessary changes and major alterations (like the identity of the damned killer) is a HUGE no-no for me. I’m guessing they shoehorned Miss Marple into some of those stories because they wanted a longer series and there weren’t all that many Marple books. There’s a much bigger Poirot library to work with. But that’s no excuse in my book.

If you want to make that many changes, just write your own story and characters and set it in England in the 19-whatevers. You lose name recognition, but you’re not going to piss of Christie fans.

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21 hours ago, AgathaC said:

I’mnot a total purist. I realize that some things have to be changed (at times) in the move from page to screen. But unnecessary changes and major alterations (like the identity of the damned killer) is a HUGE no-no for me. I’m guessing they shoehorned Miss Marple into some of those stories because they wanted a longer series and there weren’t all that many Marple books. There’s a much bigger Poirot library to work with. But that’s no excuse in my book.

If you want to make that many changes, just write your own story and characters and set it in England in the 19-whatevers. You lose name recognition, but you’re not going to piss off Christie fans.

I TOTALLY get you. While not in the same league as Dame Christie, my all time favorite author who I’ve read since she started in category romance and moved on to romantic suspense, has had several books into movies and they all SUCKED. Changing characters and the most egregious-the killer. I love this author so much so I just 😒🙄🙄 when she says read the book if you don’t like the movies. Yeah, if I hate the movie, why would I want to read the book? And the books are vastly superior.

Ahem. Topic?

Finished McKenzie’s series and UGH UGH UGH as to the episode they finished with. Endless Night. More like interminable night. Even fast forwarding through most of it, it was AWFUL. The monotonous, sonorous voice over narration made it worse. And Marple being all emotional and teary about misjudging Michael? As if she had known him since he was in nappies? It was horrible.

And since I first saw Jonathan Cake as a dirty, skeevy former ADA turned defense attorney in original recipe Law & Order, I would have pegged him as the killer in The Pale Horse. But since I read to see if Marple was also inserted, I knew Easterbrook was one of the protagonists, so he was a good guy!😁

So I’m watching Hickson’s The Body in the Library and immediately see the difference-this one is more…humorous-with Col. Arthur Bantry’s reaction when questioned if he was involved in any hanky panky with the victim. And the tone so far. Unlike McEwan’s where Bantry was almost mute and in a deep depression throughout the episode.

And now I’m blanking on what else I’ve seen Joan Hickson in-she looks so familiar.

But over all, I love the settings in the English villages-makes me want to go play tourist* in those villages, and other non-London/city places! 

And the FASHION! Won’t lie-I have 3 or 4 vintage 50s style dresses!

And I just giggled when I see two from Game of Thrones and two from Outlander alumni! Though only a casual viewer of the former, diehard of the latter and I remember Simon Callow with a horrendously dubbed American accent in 1984 season two of Scarecrow & Mrs. King (one of my favorite shows during my teens).

And at the risk of being BEANED, I find Angela Lansbury’s Marple in The Mirrror Crack’d more enjoyable plus the amazing Hollywood cast. Sue me. I’m a sucker for Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, and Liz Taylor!

Though I do wonder if Angela Lansbury’s take of Marple is what got the attention of CBS to have her play Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote

*Adding English villages to bullet list of next trip to Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand.

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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So. McEwan’s version “modernized” who the killers were in The Body in the Library? I haven’t read the book (though I plan on doing so), but can someone confirm the book version?

Watching The Moving Finger and I see that here, Joanna isn’t the sophisticated “tart” femme-fatale-like character as McEwan’s version was.

What I appreciate is the light touch with the make-up in the Hickson series.

OH! One of the best things about McKenzie’s series? A young and HAWT Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch! Soooo glad he was working with Miss Marple! Surprisingly, I Sussed out who the killer was almost immediately. Because I didn’t like the sound of their voice!😆😆😆

And I will also admit, the episodes that have Americans/characters who are Americans are my least favorite. Takes me out.

Oh, forgot to mention I’m watching these on Britbox (MaEwan/McKenzie) and Amazon Prime (Hickson, Lansbury’s movie version).

Would love to get your take on my take since most of you are die hard fans and have read the books as well.😁

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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Just FYI, it's Joan Hickson, not Joan Dixon as Marple. 

In The Body in the Library 

Spoiler

Mark Gaskell, the son in law of Conway Jefferson, is secretly married to Josie Turner, the cousin of the deceased, Ruby Keene. Josie drugged Ruby and the did the dance with Raymond Starr. Mark later kills Ruby and puts her in the trunk of the car which is found burnt. 

Mark and Josie had convinced Pamela Reeve (the school girl) to get a screen test. They killed her and dressed her up like Ruby, smashing in her face. They then put her body at Basil Blake's place.

Basil moved the body to the Bantry's library.

Mark and Josie planned to frame Blake for Ruby's murder and creating their own alibis by playing bridge/dancing coinciding with what they'd timed for "Ruby's" cause of death, using Pamela's body.

Josie was shocked when the body was found in the library at the Bantry's.

Marple noticed the nails were bitten, not what Ruby's nails should have been, and cottoned on to the fact that the library body was Pamela and the burnt body in the car was Ruby.

In talking to Dinah Lee at Blake's house, she gets a brainwave when Dinah asks her if Marple knew Dinah and Blake were married because she checked Somerset House.

Marple then has Somerset House checked, finding the marriage certificate of Mark and Josie.

They set up a sting with Jefferson, and Josie, I think, shows up with a syringe to murder Jefferson and is caught.

Adelaide is not a lesbian dating Josie. 

 

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2 minutes ago, BlackberryJam said:

Just FYI, it's Joan Hickson, not Joan Dixon as Marple. 

I noticed my typo on that and fixed it! Very bad on my part because I’m anal about getting names and spellings right!

So the info under the spoiler tags is the book version, right?

I find I actually prefer Hickson as Miss Marple!

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1 hour ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

I noticed my typo on that and fixed it! Very bad on my part because I’m anal about getting names and spellings right!

So the info under the spoiler tags is the book version, right?

I find I actually prefer Hickson as Miss Marple!

Yes, the book version. 

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If anyone with Britbox is interested, British actor/commedian Allan Carr has  a three part show about "Adventures with Agatha Christie"  - he appears to be a genuine fan - one episode visits Agatha places and discusses her life, the other two are devoted to Marple and Poirot.  Very light entertainment but I found the series to be fun. 

Hickson was my first Miss Marple visually (was already into the books by then).  While I can always find faults with the others, I have generally enjoyed these variations far more than the more recent Poirot ones. 

@GHScorpiosRule - I am right there with you ducking in defense of Angela Lansbury's movie version.

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1 hour ago, Grundoon59 said:

If anyone with Britbox is interested, British actor/commedian Allan Carr has  a three part show about "Adventures with Agatha Christie"  - he appears to be a genuine fan - one episode visits Agatha places and discusses her life, the other two are devoted to Marple and Poirot.  Very light entertainment but I found the series to be fun. 

Hickson was my first Miss Marple visually (was already into the books by then).  While I can always find faults with the others, I have generally enjoyed these variations far more than the more recent Poirot ones. 

@GHScorpiosRule - I am right there with you ducking in defense of Angela Lansbury's movie version.

The Allen Carr shows were fun. As much as I've read and followed, I learned some new stuff.

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19 hours ago, Grundoon59 said:

@GHScorpiosRule - I am right there with you ducking in defense of Angela Lansbury's movie version.

Hee! I'm glad I'm not the only one! Though I do have to admit, while this movie came out before the television series on itv, it was still weird to see that Miss Marple and Dolly seemed to just be acquaintances in the movie. And I remember going "nooooo! They killed off Arthur!" and that Dolly and Miss Marple seemed to be very good friends in other episodes and in the television episodes of "The Mirror Crack'd".

Just saw "A Pocketful of Rye" in the Hickson version, and OH.MY.GOD. I don't know why Dove didn't sack Gladys, she was so incompetent from what we were shown. Kept messing up, disappeared...lied. In other period pieces someone like this would have been shown the door instead of being given chance upon chance to not mess up again.

And speaking of Dove, I could only shake my head at how she just repeated gossip and her own speculations. Nothing like butlers of old, who wouldn't tell the coppers what they thought. Well, I guess things changed by the time the 50s rolled around, eh?

I'm almost done with the Hickson episodes. Two more seasons to go.

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21 hours ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

Just saw "A Pocketful of Rye" in the Hickson version, and OH.MY.GOD. I don't know why Dove didn't sack Gladys, she was so incompetent from what we were shown. Kept messing up, disappeared...lied. In other period pieces someone like this would have been shown the door instead of being given chance upon chance to not mess up again.

In the books, which were written at the time they are set and so reflect the lived experience of the author, we are told time and again that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find servants to work in houses like this - or in any house at all. A generation or so earlier, it was common for poor working families to send their children out into service - it was a standard career option for families with few other job opportunities open to them. But by the post-war era things were changing. New careers were opening up, and girls with other options didn't want to go into service, with all the restrictions such work entailed (living in, no 'followers', only a couple of hours off a week, etc). That's why incompetent maids like Gladys weren't fired - because they were better than nothing!

If the story were set a generation or two earlier, then yes, Gladys would have been fired and replaced. But this is a post-war story. They keep Gladys on because they can't find anyone else willing to take the job.

Edited by Llywela
clarity
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One thing I always found interesting about The Mirror Crack’d was that it was one of the ones (like Murder in the Orient Express) inspired by real-life events. I saw the Angela Lansbury movie before I read the book and, at the time, my classic Hollywood obsession was in full swing. So, I was excited to recognize that the motive/backstory in this one was pretty obviously inspired by the (tragic) true story of Gene Tierney.

I was about 13 at the time, watching with my grandmother (who introduced me to all things AC), so I felt very smart pointing that out. 😉

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1 minute ago, AgathaC said:

One thing I always found interesting about The Mirror Crack’d was that it was one of the ones (like Murder in the Orient Express) inspired by real-life events. I saw the Angela Lansbury movie before I read the book and, at the time, my classic Hollywood obsession was in full swing. So, I was excited to recognize that the motive/backstory in this one was pretty obviously inspired by the (tragic) true story of Gene Tierney.

I was about 13 at the time, watching with my grandmother (who introduced me to all things AC), so I felt very smart pointing that out. 😉

Me too, only it was my aunt. 

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Okay I’m laughing! Why? Because I’m down to the second to Hickson’s series finale-“They Do it With Mirrors” and Joss “Diplomatic Immmmunityyy” Ackland* is playing Lewis Serrocold!😆😆😆😆😆

*He will always be that villain from South Africa in Lethal Weapon 2!

I know Marple wasn’t in the novel Ordeal By Innocence or The Pale Horse, but I would have liked to have seen a Hickson version.

I will admit, Hickson’s version is so vastly superior in terms of storytelling. There was a none of the “modernization” that is anachronistic with changing relationships and characters in the McEwan and McKenzie versions.

Though the set of Marple’s home confuses me. I thought she lived in a cottage? But in “A Pocketful of Rye” and “4:50 From Paddington” the front looks like it’s part of mews? Is that the correct term? All brick and the inside doesn’t look like it has any windows. So where’s her garden and the rest of the village that we saw in “The Murder at the Vicarage”?

I just LOVE David Horovitch as Inspector Slack! That look of dread when he hears Marple’s voice in ”4:50 From Paddington” cracks me up!😂😂😂😂 I think he and Lake were the only recurring characters played by the same actors.

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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7 hours ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

Okay I’m laughing! Why? Because I’m down to the second to Hickson’s series finale-“They Do it With Mirrors” and Joss “Diplomatic Immmmunityyy” Ackland* is playing Lewis Serrocold!😆😆😆😆😆

*He will always be that villain from South Africa in Lethal Weapon 2!

I know Marple wasn’t in the novel Ordeal By Innocence or The Pale Horse, but I would have liked to have seen a Hickson version.

I will admit, Hickson’s version is so vastly superior in terms of storytelling. There was a none of the “modernization” that is anachronistic with changing relationships and characters in the McEwan and McKenzie versions.

Though the set of Marple’s home confuses me. I thought she lived in a cottage? But in “A Pocketful of Rye” and “”4:50 to Paddington” the front looks like it’s part of mews? Is that the correct term? All brick and the inside doesn’t look like it has any windows. So where’s her garden and the rest of the village that we saw in “The Murder at the Vicarage”?

I just LOVE David Horovitch as Inspector Slack! That look of dread when he hears Marple’s voice in ”4:50 to Paddington” cracks me up!😂😂😂😂 I think he was the only recurring character played by the same actor.

See, to me as a Brit, Joss Ackland is in absolutely everything, so I don't think of him as one particular character only.

Joan Hickson is the quintessential Miss Marple. No other has ever quite compared. She was chosen by Agatha Christie herself, you know - when she was still quite young, she performed in one of Christie's plays, and Christie sent her a note saying, "I hope one day you will play my dear Miss Marple." And forty years later, she did.

I don't think I'd spotted that about the cottage. It's been a while since I rewatched the series. Next time I rewatch, I will have to look out for that! Maybe in the later episodes they couldn't get the same location to film? Or maybe those scenes are in a different part of the cottage? I'll make a mental note to look out for it.

(Now I just need a bit of clear time for the rewatch...)

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On 8/25/2023 at 3:49 AM, Llywela said:

Joan Hickson is the quintessential Miss Marple. No other has ever quite compared. She was chosen by Agatha Christie herself, you know - when she was still quite young, she performed in one of Christie's plays, and Christie sent her a note saying, "I hope one day you will play my dear Miss Marple." And forty years later, she did.

She really is! I love her portrayal. Especially, as stated above, in those episodes when she's out of sight, and Inspector Slack shows up, hoping he won't have her "butting in" only to see she's there!

And what wonderful trivia! I wonder what Dame Christie thought of David Suchet as Poirot? Never mind-I just learned she passed away before this series made it to television!

I started on the finale last night: "A Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side" but had to shut it off after an hour because my meds made me sleepy. I noticed that we got Slack again-promoted to Superintendent! And Lake! I love that those two were played by the same actors for the Hickson series.

And hello, Craddock! I have to go back to when he first appeared, because I don't remember his or even Miss Marple saying he was her nephew, as he told Slack in the finale. John Castle is soooooo scrumptious.

Wot??

Ahem.

Anyway, I noticed that the one change from the other episode and the movie was that Miss Marple didn't sprain her ankle.

And I so love the way she says: "Quite."

She really was good at playing the dotty old lady to suss out information.

I may just get all the dvds.

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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So I watched the hour long special celebrating 100 years of Agatha Christie were cast, writers, members of her estate, and even her great-grandson appeared. Also Samantha Bond, her biographer, and some of the cast from the Sewell remake of The Pale Horse, though it’s more likely they just took the name and made it into a miniseries that has NOTHING to do with the source material!

But no David Suchet! Which I found odd as I recall seeing a special about Poirot/Dame Christie that had most of it interviewing Suchet.

I just 🙄🙄🙄🙄 at all the actors-even BOND! and the people who run her estate, lauding Branagh’s HORRENDOUS take on Poirot as well as the Sewell mini series. Really? It’s okay to take the name of not only the book, but her name—and twist and distort it and still praise it has an adaptation? Whatever. But I suppose they didn’t want any criticism. But I say the criticism would have been levied at that asshat Sarah what’sherface, Branagh, and whoever is massacring the source material. Not at Dame Christie. Though there was a line by someone about how “some fans” didn’t like it. There is no NEED to modernize Agatha Christie!!! 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

To end on a positive note, I loved Bond revealing how she wrote a note to Hickson about her playing Miss Marple, as @Llywela also posted up thread, but the best was hearing Dame Christie’s own voice!

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