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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Murder At The Gallop (1963)

When Miss Marple (Margaret Rutherford) discovers the body of an elderly curmudgeon (Finlay Currie) in his home, she suspects foul play but the local police inspector (Charles Tingwell) will have none of it. The coroner's report states he died of a heart attack. Naturally, she decides to do some sleuthing on her own. For fans of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple books, the robust Rutherford is nothing like the genteel birdlike spinster of the novels. Of all the many actresses who have played her, perhaps Joan Hickson came closest to the books' Marple in the English TV versions of the 1980s. Indeed, MURDER AT THE GALLOP isn't even based on a Miss Marple book, it's adapted from Christie's AFTER THE FUNERAL in which the sleuth is her other great creation, Hercule Poirot! The film also has Miss Marple on horseback and dancing the Twist, something Miss Marple would never do. Okay, enough of the bitching. As for the film, it plays like a good episode of MURDER SHE WROTE but as usual, Margaret Rutherford is irresistible (even Christie thought so, she dedicated her book THE MIRROR CRACK'D to her) and while she may not be the book's Miss Marple, to many cinema goers of a certain age, she is Miss Marple. Directed by George Pollock. With Robert Morley, Flora Robson, James Villiers, Katya Douglas and Stringer Davis (Rutherford's real life husband). 

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