Ordinarily, you probably don’t think of Miss Marple as funny. That will change if you are able to see Margaret Rutherford’s portrayal of Miss Marple. You will most likely by tempted to think of her as “Jane” instead of “Miss Marple.”
At first, I was quite put off by Ms. Rutherford’s portrayal of Miss Marple. Once I got over my initial shock (for truly that is what it was!) I was delighted by these early 1960s movie productions. The Agatha Christie Miss Marple Collection includes Rutherford in the classics Murder, She Said, Murder at the Gallop, Murder Most Foul, and Murder Ahoy. Margaret Rutherford was truly busy playing this feisty rendition of Jane. And, as an added bonus, we are able to see Joan Hickson appear as the housekeeper in Murder, She Said!
Some of you may ask…. Who is Joan Hickson, and why would seeing her be a treat? For some, those who were teenagers or older in the 1980s, Joan Hickson will always be Miss Marple. She has a quiet resolve about her… She is very proper, never excited, always observant. Fortunately for those of us who remember Ms. Hickson playing Miss Marple, there are now DVDs available for us to capture the true essence of Miss Marple. (I miss the days when A & E played these classic BBC shows, don’t you?)
Joan Hickson portrays Miss Marple in such a manner that makes it totally believable when she is able to casually stay in the background while gleaning even more information than the police detectives. I read somewhere that Agatha Christie had actually said that Joan Hickson was the actress who best could play Miss Marple as she had written her.
There are several sets out on the market (as well as being available through rental places) that brought back memories of a time when you had to be seated in front of your television at the precise time the show was scheduled to begin if you wanted to watch a Miss Marple movie/episode. Shows like The Body in the Library, A Murder is Announced, and A Pocket Full of Rye (Gift Set)…The Mirror Crack’d, 4:50 from Paddington, Sleeping Murder, and A Caribbean Mystery (Collection 1)… Nemesis, They Do It with Mirrors, The Murder at the Vicarage, The Moving Finger, and At Bertram’s Hotel (Collection 2) And, such luminary actors as Donald Pleasence, Claire Bloom, Jean Simmons. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the BBC produced these shows… You know that you can rely on the costumes and sets to be right on the mark!
I think that Joan Hickson’s portrayal of Miss Marple is probably the one which most captures Agatha Christie’s character, including the hair pins in her bun and the knitting needles in her over-sized (almost a carpet!) bag. If you love cozy mystery movies, then I strongly recommend checking out these Joan Hickson renditions of our beloved Miss Marple.
Here is the actual way that the Joan Hickson/Miss Marple shows aired:
1 The Body in the Library
2 The Moving Finger
3 A Murder is Announced
4 A Pocketful of Rye
5 The Murder at the Vicarage
6 Sleeping Murder
7 At Bertram’s Hotel
9 4:50 from Paddington
10 A Caribbean Mystery
11 They Do It With Mirrors
12 The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side
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