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Miss Marple

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There's no PBS site for this one, but I think we all know what it is.
 

Short proper English lady solves crimes in early 20th century Europe. Based on the novels by Agatha Christie.

 
If you have a clever sub-title for this topic, let me know!

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I quite like the McKenzie stories.  Despite her seeming like a kindly old grandmother, she also manages to play Miss Marple's ironclad belief in evil needing to be fought and punished in a way that you could see criminals being afraid of her.  She's also really, really good at making the denouements--which are always massive dumps of exposition--interesting to watch, which isn't easy to do.

 

While McEwan is a good actress, she was completely wrong for the part.  The few adaptions she starred in that I liked were more to do with her co-stars (Zoe Wannamaker and Elaine Paige in A Murder is Announced, Amanda Holden in 4.50 from Paddington).

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I still prefer the Joan Hickson A Murder is Announced.  Loved how faithful it was to the novel, my favorite Miss Marple by far, yet it still seemed to add new levels.  And it introduced me to Samantha Bond.

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Just started watching these (the Joan Hickson series) on Netflix and am enjoying them, even if they are a bit dated.  I've always loved Poirot and never really gave Miss Marple a chance until now, but I'm liking them so far. 

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I generally like the Miss Marple books better than the Poirot books, but I prefer the Poirot TV adaptations over the Marple ones.  Both the Poirot and Marple adaptations are guilty of occasionally drastically changing plot elements, but the Marple ones often annoy me more, because in some cases, Marple wasn't even in the book, and they added her to the story for the purposes of the series.

 

I remember joking on the other board that I wanted to see them adapt "Death Comes As the End" (which is set in ancient Egypt) and somehow insert Marple as a crime-solving Hatshepsut.

 

The next round of Marple begins airing on PBS on September 21.  They are airing A Caribbean Mystery, Greenshaw's Folly (a story from the Double Sin collection), and Endless Night.  Let's see how badly they screw these up.

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Try the Joan Hickson version of Miss Marple, they are generally quite faithful to the original text.  That series includes excellent versions of A Murder Is Announced and Nemesis, two of my favorite MM novels.  This recent spate of Marples with Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie range from downright atrocious (Nemesis) to the mediocre (A Pocketful of Rye).  I'm very skeptical of the upcoming season, A Caribbean Mystery is not one of my favorite Marples, weak plot, easy mystery. Greenshaw's Folly is a good twenty page short story, I don't know how good it will be as a 60+minute teleplay.  Endless Night is one of my top five Christies ever; it's dark, cynical and comic.It also doesn't feature an elderly spinster as a detective, so I'm sure they'll find a way to screw it up, but I'll watch it because I have a huge crush on Tom Hughes.

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Good point. Besides Amanda Holden, I enjoyed seeing Pam Ferris in 4.50 from Paddington

Love Pam Ferris. I hope everyone who enjoys her has seen Rosemary and Thyme and Call the Midwife. You all probably have but I'd hate anyone to miss either series. 

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I don't know if we knew this but they are showing two Miss Marple's this Sunday - one at 8 and one at 9:30 and then another one on the 28th (after a new episode of The Paradise). 

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Miss Marple really gets the great English actors to be on the series.

 

Episode one - Heh, Bond, James Bond.  Which I think is true - that is where Fleming did get the name from.  I kept thinking that the guy in the wheelchair looked like Anthony Sher but I didn't think he did tv shows.  And, it was him!

 

Episode two - They killed Aunt Petunia!  Those bastards.  Though, I fell asleep during an important part - who killed Aunt Petunia and why?  I woke up for the end so the gardener is her son also? 

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There's a full synopsis of each episode available on the PBS website. Click on Special Features under "Season 7 Episode 2" and then on Synopsis - Full Synopsis.

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/programs/episode/miss-marple-s7-e2-greenshaws-folly/

 

The biggest shock was finding out that the housekeeper Mrs Cresswell was played by Julia Sawalha, especially after watching her just a few days ago playing a very young Lydia in the 1995 version of Pride And Prejudice. She looked completely different, there wasn't even a hint of Lydia or Saffy to jog the memory 

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I have both of these in the DVR.  Any opinions on if either or both are worth watching, or do they just cause more frustration?  Is Julia McKenzie more OK in the role than she was in the previous rounds?

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I watched A Caribbean Mystery and found it rather slow.  Maybe I've seen too many versions and/or read it too many times. I believe this is the first episode I've watched with Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple; I really liked her in the role.  I didn't get to watch Greenshaw's Folly although I would have preferred it to the first one.

 

So I can't really help you, blackwing, since I can't compare her performance to previous outings but I thought she was pretty good...maybe not Joan Hickson good but reasonably close.

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They're both watchable, and of course the scenery in Caribbean Mystery is a nice plus, although we might appreciate it more in mid-January.

 

I may have to watch it again though, either my ears were playing tricks on me after several seasons of watching "Death In Paradise", or did the local Police Constable actually have his office in "Sainte Honore"? 

 

The shoutout to "Bond - James Bond" was cute although I don't remember that being in the original story.

Edited by Hyacinth B

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Episode two - They killed Aunt Petunia!  Those bastards.  Though, I fell asleep during an important part - who killed Aunt Petunia and why?  I woke up for the end so the gardener is her son also?

 

Miss Greenshaw was killed by her nephew, the actor guy, with an assist by Miss Cresswell.  Except that the actor guy was not really a nephew - he was faking being the real nephew, who died a year after his mother.  Miss Cresswell is the actor guy's real mother.  She poisoned both the butler and Miss Greenshaw with the atropine from the eye drops.  Actor guy came in - dressed as a police officer -  and stabbed Miss Greenshaw in the neck with the arrow, and finished the murder.

 

The gardener was Miss Greenshaw's real son.  She had sent him to the orphanage when he was born in order to keep him away from her scary doctor father who was conducting inhumane experiments to find a polio vaccine.  She did not know that the orphanage was where he plucked some of his test subjects.

Edited by izabella

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I refuse to believe Julia Sawalha is old enough to be the mother of a grown up. REFUSE! (To acknowledge that would admit how old I am.) Lalalalala I can't hear you!

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I enjoyed them both very much, but Greenshaw's Folly with a little bit of "The Thumb Mark of Saint Peter" (which is a short story in The Tuesday Club Murders) was really the better of the two, and may have displaced The Blue Geranium as my favorite of the stories that have starred Julia McKenzie.  

 

I thought ITV would have cheaped out with the production of A Caribbean Mystery, and was pleasantly surprised that they didn't.

 

That "heap of haddock"/"pile of carp"/"pilocarpine" bit is one the most clever things Christie came up with, and I'm glad they used it so well.

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I have been a huge AC fan for over 50 years. I disliked these two openers for these reasons:

~~Don't care for Julia McK. AT ALL.

~~Didn't like all the whispered dialogue.

~~Didn't like all the dark and murky lighting.

~~And the cleverness of the clue didn't warrant 90 minutes of "GF."

 

DID like the Ian Fleming bits (yeah, over 50 years for that one, too!)!

Edited by LennieBriscoe

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I've found something to like in all the actresses who have portrayed Miss Marple, even Margaret Rutherford. They each bring their own style to it.

 

No matter how many times I've watched the episodes or seen various versions, I can never remember who did what or why. I kept having a hard time figuring out Caribbean Mystery. I kept remembering bits and pieces, but the ending eluded me.

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I'm less up on my Latin than Marpie, but I sorta wanna think Anthony Sher's comment was "We who are about to die salute you." Am I close?

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No matter how many times I've watched the episodes or seen various versions, I can never remember who did what or why. I kept having a hard time figuring out Caribbean Mystery. I kept remembering bits and pieces, but the ending eluded me.

 

I saw that just last night, and I'm still trying to fit all the pieces together.  I don't know about the original story, but the version I saw last night left a lot out.  I loved the scenery and the costumes, but the actual storyline wasn't well written.

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No matter how many times I've watched the episodes or seen various versions, I can never remember who did what or why. I kept having a hard time figuring out Caribbean Mystery. I kept remembering bits and pieces, but the ending eluded me.

I just watched the Hickson version one month ago (it's on Netflix instant) and still couldn't remember the ending!

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Maybe I should give it another try?

 

 

Give the novel a try, way better.  Or better yet, try the AC short story The Case of The Caretaker, it's Endless Night in ten pages.  I wasn't impressed with the production but I was impressed with Tom Hughes' cheekbones, pillow lips and the way he looked in those 60's fashions!

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I don't think adding Miss Marple to the story worked very well.  It just seemed like they shoved her into the scene when she really didn't fit.  Does anyone know how the mystery was solved without her?  The Wikipedia entry just says "At the end of the novel, Michael meekly awaits his fate as villagers discover Greta's murder and local officials investigate him in his home." - I guess the cops figured it out without Miss Marple. 

 

On MPT last night after Miss Marple, there was a really interesting special about Dame Agatha herself with David Suchet. 

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That was an odd one.  The actor is most handsome but the performance was dreadfully dull to me (I don't know this actor so I am assuming he was directed to play it as such) - Marple just seemed so shoe-horned here.  Who, after someone attempts to strangle them, then follows him when they run off and stands around alone with him?  

 

Too much stupid for my head - same with her just popping into his home and then accusing him while believing she and he were alone in the house - no one with two brain cells does that and it took me out of the story - that, and the lethargic performance by the lead.

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Looking on the bright side, I did enjoy the modern house, the good looking actors, the over the top scary gypsy woman and Miss Marple's hilarious snoopiness. She says, pertaining to the missing gypsy, "I'm not sure she went away willingly, she left her purse on her tea table with a great deal of money in it, and her door unlocked." Hee! Miss Marple do you hear yourself?

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Watching it, I could only thing "Maybe Julia McKenzie was busy when they were filming."

 

I think I was a little more enthusiastic about it than most, because I thought the production values were gorgeous, and I'm pretty sure that jewel of a Mid-Century Modern house was featured in an episode of Endeavour.  I don't know, I watch Marple for Miss Marple, and with her on the periphery, it didn't work.

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I dunno. Tom Hughes is increasingly a deal-breaker for me. He's good-looking enough, but there's something about his performances I've seen that increasingly leave me cold. Plus he had no, none, zippo chemistry with the Paradise girl. Plus plus,  pulling on a cigarette like it's the last breath you'll ever take does not read "edgy" to me.

 

I wonder if I could get Marple's poncho in a longer, capier length. I'd like it if I could swing it around insouciantly.

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My mum & I settled in to watch this "final" Marple, and about halfway through we agreed that we wished we hadn't, but it was too late to bail.  That was when I wiki'd the story and discovered it wasn't originally a Marple at all.  It was written in 1967, and the narrative voice-over, which was obviously part of a confession, was in fact how the original story was told.  It was praised at the time for being a departure from Christie's usual style, even though it wasn't what readers (or at least reviewers) were expecting.

 

If it had been advertised as what it really was, an Agatha Christie short story, even with the Miss Marple stickers liberally applied, we would have watched with different expectations.  As it was, we want our 86 minutes back.

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The short story, The Case of the Caretaker, was way different than what was aired last week.  It was part of a series where friends of MM would gather round and tell stories with a mystery and MM would solve them.  It starts off with one of MM's friends saying I know this guy who wanted this house...MM never even met the protagonists.  She never left her chair.  It's not like she popped up in Rome or ran through the woods away from a killer.

 

Whenever you're reading an AC and it's in the first person you know it's going to be something different.

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If it had been advertised as what it really was, an Agatha Christie short story, even with the Miss Marple stickers liberally applied, we would have watched with different expectations.  As it was, we want our 86 minutes back.

I don't know if that was a complete reason to avoid.  They put her in Ariadne Oliver's place in The Pale Horse, and I thought that was pretty well done.

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Yeah, I agree that this one was a clunker. I actually like both versions of the story ( short story and novel) and the "Endless Night" song in the movie still sticks in my head as an eerie piece of music. Despite knowing that it could be justified as originally being a Marple tale, the way they shoved her into this story made no sense. The lead actors were all very attractive but I ended up FF-ing through most of it. The bit where the architect ended up having this connection to Michael and how it all ended was ludicrously soapy. 

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All of the Miss Marple series is now available for sale on ITunes.  Which is great because wanted to buy episode with Benedict (Murder is Easy) but didn't want to have to buy the DVD set - now I can just buy the one episode!

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I've loathed every Tommy and Tuppence I've ever seen -- too frantic, too too twee -- like Wimsey on steroids or something -- However, if they allow Marple to breathe it will be a good thing.  That Jane Austen overload of ten years ago was deadening. I found myself rummaging nervously through names of prospective "new" Marples, hating most of those I thought of as being too young. MacKenzie was only 62 at her start ... too young (in addition to, imho, much too much make-up and too much wardrobe for a retiring old lady). Hickson and Rutherford are my favorites, though McEwan with her utterly dreadful self-made hats, doubtful taste in most things, and ferret like expressions amused me to no end.  They'll likely go with someone like Penelope Wilton (currently 68), well-liked seasoned Downton alum, however, I don't trust them not to go younger with a Helen Baxendale (currently 44) or Juliet Stevenson (currently 58) ... the mind reels. I'm sure there are any number of better choices, but there's so much pandering to the presumed American Masterpiece audience.

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Is anyone else here a big fan of the Geraldine McEwan Marples? At least Season 1, the only one I’ve seen. I know most Agatha Christie fans don’t like these because McEwan herself is a little too impish and witty to be a faithful Miss Marple and because the screenwriters took liberties with Christie’s plots.

But—as filmmaking and as mysteries, I think they’re fantastic. Production values of a Hollywood movie; fine, witty, fast-moving scripts; lots of clues and other mystery-plot niceties. Even the changes to the books work: A much-criticized change in The Body in the Library doesn’t actually alter Christie’s plot, and a change to A Murder is Announced only clarifies a same-sex relationship about which Christie was coy.

Reportedly the episodes degrade in quality after Season 1, but I’m watching the Towards Zero adaptation (Season 3) now and think it’s really quite good so far. What say you?

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I very much liked the Geraldine McEwan version of Miss Marple.

I really enjoyed the 'twinkle' she seemed to bring to the character and prefer her to others.  Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy other versions, but , for me, Geraldine's version is the best.

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I’ve seen a few more of the McEwans now and enjoyed all of them. Kind of baffled that so many Christie fans don’t like these. I find them much more entertaining than the much-praised Joan Hickson adaptations—and McEwan a much more dynamic, fun presence. She’s fantastic in every episode.

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