Guy Hamilton (director)
23 October 2017 (released)
30 October 2017
Set in a quaint English village in the early 1950’s, this third Christie adaptation is the most disappointing of the four releases and even its (mainly) American superstars such as Liz Taylor, Kim Novak, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis and Geraldine Chaplin can’t save this from being an embarrassing and cheesy affair lacking any kind of suspense or tension!
THE MIRROR CRACK'D (1980) sees Angela Lansbury as ‘Miss Marple’ though here she tries too hard (ridiculous make-up aside) and the main bulk of the investigation is conducted by her favourite nephew Inspector Craddock (Edward Fox) though with his ultra-posh accent he should be a professor at Oxford university rather than a member of the police force.
The little community of St. Mary Mead is excited because a big Hollywood costume drama is being filmed – the movie is meant to be the comeback role for Marina Rudd (a tubby Liz Taylor) – a former star who was absent from showbiz after a ‘lengthy illness’. During a party held in a local mansion, during which Rudd’s director husband Jason (Rock Hudson) oversees every aspect, Marina finds herself besieged by an over-enthusiastic fan called Heather Babcock who reveals that she had met Marina once before: after a variety show during WW2 when Marina gave Heather her autograph and allowed her a peck on the cheek. Minutes after Heather’s revelation Marina’s facial expression turns from mock-charming to frozen as she seemingly stares at the unexpected arrival of rival Hollywood star Lola Brewster (Kim Novak) and her producer husband Marty Fenn (Tony Curtis) even though Lola is set to co-star in Marina’s new film. Seconds later Heather collapses dead on a chair, the autopsy reveals she was poisoned…
This film adaptation is a case of a great opportunity missed, all the more disappointing seeing how a competent director such as Guy Hamilton called the shots. Plenty of speculations going on and given the fact that Lola Brewster would like nothing better than getting rid of rival Marina the same can be said for Ella Zielinsky (Geraldine Chaplin), Jason’s assistant who is secretly in love with him… leading Craddock to assume that Heather’s death was a mistake and the poisoned drink was in fact intended for Marina. But when Ella gets bumped off too, existing theories need to be re-considered. What shame then that the majority of the plot is wasted on Lola Brewster’s tantrums, Marina’s increasing hysteria and a schmaltzy soundtrack which only further emphasises the shallowness of this bloated and unnecessary pompous affair.
Restored Blu-ray once again boasts various special features.