Trying to find how a millionaire wound up with a phony diamond brings Hercule Poirot (Sir Peter Ustinov) to an exclusive island resort frequented by the rich and famous. When a murder is committed, everyone has an alibi.
A friend of Miss Marple's sees a woman being strangled in a passing train. When police cannot find a body and doubt the story, Miss Marple enlists professional housekeeper, Lucy Eyelesbarrow, to go undercover.
Hercule Poirot (Sir Peter Ustinov) attends a dinner party in which one of the guests clutches his throat and suddenly dies. The cause seems to be natural until another party with most of the same guests produces another corpse.
Miss Jane Marple's (Dame Margaret Rutherford's) on-board a train when she sees what appears to to be, a murder - a woman being strangled - in a passing train. When the Police refuse to believe her story, she decides to do some investigating of her own. In this, Rutherford's first appearance (as well as her first on-screen appearance) as Dame Agatha Christie's beloved sleuth. Though fans of the stories can see instantly see that Dame Margaret Rutherford does not fit Dame Agatha Christie's physical description of her, and Dame Agatha was not a fan with the casting decision - at first. But, when the two women met, they became big admirers of each other (Christie even dedicated one of her boois; "The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side" - to her "friend, Margaret Rutherford".Written by
So yes, Miss Agatha Christie herself did not quite care for Miss Margaret Rutherford in the role but Miss Rutherford made of the part her own in her own inimitable fashion even going to the extent of having her very own obedient side-kick, her real-life husband Stringer Davis, known as Jim Stringer in the series, inserted into it. She called the shots and kept the studio afloat. And what a series!
This is the first in it and it evokes the era extraordinarily well, the quick murder and disposal of the body, the old country house, the many suspicious relatives and one of my favourites, James Robertson Justice heading up the entire clan. He even gets to propose to the lady herself, so impressed is he with her detecting.
Add the requisite cute kid, Ronnie Raymond, an excellent bit part by Joan Hickson (the future Miss Marple in the excellent BBC series) and what faults are there to be found in this unique first film of four in the series.
8 out of 10.
Incredibly entertaining, wonderful use of black and white film medium and a really good score.
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