Tommy and Tuppence Beresford visit their aunt Ada in a nursing home. Aida cryptically mentions to Tuppence about a murdered child. The next day Ada is found dead in her bed. Causes appear to be natural but Tuppence's suspicions are aroused when a note from Ada mentions that fellow-nursing home dweller Mrs Lancaster is not safe. Coincidentally, Mrs Lancaster has just checked out, accompanied by Mr and Mrs Johnson. While pondering all this at the nursing home, Tuppence runs into someone who is intrigued by her musings - Miss Marple. Together, and aided by a painting, they set off to find the Johnsons and Mrs Lancaster, as they are sure they are key to a mystery and potentially a murder, or two.Written by
Although the date of is not made clear, it appears to be set in the Post-War late 40s or early 50s. The movie version of Jane Eyre (1943) that it refers to was made during the war in 1944, so although the poster art from the film appears similar to the Robert Stevenson film, it doesn't mention either Joan Fontaine or Orson Welles, who starred in the film. The part of Jane's friend, who dies in the film, was originally played by Elizabeth Taylor, although she dies from pneumonia, not leukemia, as stated in "By the Pricking of My Thumbs." See more »
Judging by the presence of the USAF, the story is supposed to take place at the end of WWII. However Steven Berkoff's lawyer character Mr Eccles mentions that he shouldn't be pronouncing the country as "Keen-ya" but "Kenya". This was the case from 1963 onwards when Kenya gained independence and changed the pronunciation. This is anachronistic unless Mr Eccles is meant to be better informed and more sensitive to Kenyan sensibilities than the general British populace was back then. See more »
Worth seeing, but don't worry about the source novel!
The quite good Christie novel on which this was based has been radically altered and expanded, so it's really an almost entirely new story, and really not bad, though bewildering at times. Red herrings abound! Anthony Andrews, as Tommy, really hasn't enough to do; this is Tuppence's story, and she's quite an unusual sort of sleuth. Interesting to put Miss Marple with Tommy and Tuppence; now let's bring in Poirot and Mrs. Oliver and have a proper mystery mob! Apropos this, Christie herself did remark that Poirot's ego wouldn't tolerate sharing the spotlight with Miss Marple, as I recall. One can always enjoy the settings and period detail of these tales, and of course Geraldine McEwan is a charmer; I'm sure that Dame Agatha would have approved of her as the wily Marple. I had a little issue with the supporting casting, though; the very handsome O.T. Fagbenle, playing the romantic American G.I. Chris Murphy, was detectably English passing for American, and seemed to be imitating John Malkovich's voice. There were just a few inflections that gave him away, though overall he did quite well. At least he hadn't been coached by whoever was making many British actresses play Americans who all sounded like Midwestern farmwives, whatever the character's station in life. Also the sense of period is compromised by the fact that no one seems to notice that Fagbenle plainly has some African blood (father Nigerian), and in fact looks a great deal like Harry Belafonte (gorgeous). Bearing in mind the attitudes of the time and place, someone would have commented on the interracial nature of his romance with an English girl, unless we're to assume that he's passed for white. Or are we to assume he actually IS white in this role? They do make a beautiful couple, at any rate. Colorblind casting works for stories in modern settings and onstage, but to be really faithful to a period one must allow for some limitations, though this can regrettably exclude a lot of fine performers-- it's a problem, and where's the correct balance to strike? But then this isn't real history; it's fiction, so one can make a bit free with Fact, I suppose. Just how free, though? Casting should be credible. Anyway, this production does make for an intriguing mystery, whatever minor points one cares to consider worthy of fuss!
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