Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On "Murder at the Gallop" (1963)

Margaret Rutherford
Joan Hickson
David Suchet
All those involved in the making of this movie have to be congratulated -- they did a fine job of murdering Miss Marple, Agatha Christie, and Poirot, all at once! Done them all in properly! Not at all satisfied with changing a Poirot story into a Marple one, the makers had to make a mockery of Marple. I had to watch a Joan Hickson - Marple  movie to get  rid of the frustratingly disgusted, disappointed feelings that this farcical circus of a movie left in my mind. The character of Miss Marple has been completely turned upside down and trampled on by the character that the venerable Rutherford plays. Marple was not a strutting, bragging, condescending female Sherlock (though I like the eccentric  Holmes). She was a dignified spinster who kept a low profile while calmly and surely solving cases through shrewd observation and knowledge of human nature. She never bragged or climbed over stuff to peep in through windows. They could have made a mystery with Rutherford, or say, Ustinov -- it would not make a difference for those who never read an Agatha Christie mystery. But please do not call them Marple or Poirot. Hickson and Suchet are the only actors who knew the soul and the spirit of those characters. But then, it is sad to note that  in the recent Poirot movies, Poirot has suddenly become fanatically Catholic! Unforgiving and railing against immorality! The humaneness of Christie's Poirot is one of his admirable and endearing qualities! Just as calmness and dignity are some of the qualities of Miss Marple.  A dear sweet old lady who appears quite laid back and almost apologetic for intruding. Modest, utterly feminine, and not hurtfully judgemental. Not at all loud or manly or acrobatic!!! Or sexily clad in strappy dresses and doing the twist!! Notthat there is anything wrong with all that. But that it just isn't Marple.