Agatha Christie’s Murder She Said (1961) – 7/10 murder mystery movie review

Cast / crew
Margaret Rutherford: Miss Marple
Arthur Kennedy: Quimper
Muriel Pavlow: Emma
James Robertson Justice: Ackenthorpe
Writer (Original Novel) 4:50 from Paddington: Agatha Christie
Thorley Walters: Cedric
Charles Tingwell: Craddock
Writer (Adaptation): David Osborn
Writer (Screenplay): David Pursall
Writer (Screenplay): Jack Seddon
Producer: George H. Brown
Director: George Pollock

Murder She Said, Agatha Christie’s (1961)

"If you imagine I am going to sit back and let everybody regard me as a dotty old maid, you are very much mistaken." Miss Jane Marple tells the police in no uncertain terms that she will get to the bottom of a murder she witnessed while travelling by train though there is no other evidence of it ever haven taken place.

7/10

Margaret Rutherford’s version of Miss Marple bursts onto the screen fully formed and wonderfully captures the sense of fun and character of Agatha Christie’s stories. This streamlined version of "4:50 from Paddington" is well adapted to bring Marple centre-stage but cannot do anything about the weakness of the climax. Marple reckons she can recognise a pair of hands after a brief glimpse several days before but I suppose it’s more about the accusation shaking the murderer into exposing himself. Much better is the opening murder scene with the scream of the train whistle over the scream of the woman being strangled; simple but brilliant. Cast-wise, things are interesting as well. James Robertson Justice adds some spectacular bluster and his world-class beard, there’s an early outing for future British sit-com legend Richard Briers and Rutherford’s Marple also meets future ultimate Marple Joan Hickson. Oh, and special mention for Ron Goodwin’s irresistibly fun theme music.

This movie contains violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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