Released in the U.S. in 1962, but 1961 in England.
Black and White
Image from Amazon.com
I had the chance opportunity to catch this one on Tuner Classic Movies the other night. I love a good mystery, so I can never pass up any showings of an Agatha Christie tale on film.
Based on Agatha Christie's 4:50 from Paddington, this movie is a great example of a classic mystery, and still proof that you don't need a lot of gore or violence to intrigue viewers. The black and white film had the same effect for suspense that it did for Alfred Hitchcock films. This style is also similar to that of the Charlie Chan mysteries, another favorite of mine.
Yes, I know this movie is almost 40 years old, so how can it still hold such promise? Well, it's the star playing Miss Marple, Margaret Rutherford. I don't know what it is, but there's just something about the way she plays Miss Marple that seems to be the beginning of it all.
What I mean is, once you watch this film in particular, you'll instantly be reminded of Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) from Murder She Wrote. The similarities are unmistakable in my opinion. Margaret Rutherford's Miss Marple was the mold to which all other mystery mavens were measured, and for good reason. Unlike other movies where secondary characters have unintentionally stolen scenes from the main actor/actress, I did not find that happening once in this movie. That's not to say there weren't other characters that were enjoyable in this flick, there definitely are, but when Margaret Rutherford is in the scene, her presence just commands your attention, no matter what's going on around her.
That fact is one of the reasons this flick is a great mystery. While this movie has been remade a few times (1987 with Joan Hickson and 2004 with Geraldine McEwan), I doubt that none are as good as this version. I don't care what age you are, if you love a good mystery, this version is a must watch!