An elderly spinster called Miss Marple witnesses a man strangling a woman on a passing train. When nobody believes her she investigates the crime herself. Murder She Said marked the first big-screen appearance of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. The script by David Pursall and Jack Seddon is based on the 1957 novel "4:50 From Paddington". Its success lead to three more equally entertaining films starring Margaret Rutherford. Agatha Christie liked Rutherford as an actress but thought that she was all wrong for the part. Indeed Rutherford is nothing like the Jane Marple that Joan Hickson would portray in the highly successful BBC series of the 1980's-90's, but she is a delight to watch as she makes the part entirely her own and earned herself a legion of fans. Incidentally, Hickson appears in this film in a minor role as the miserable housekeeper Mrs Kidder. A great supporting cast includes Muriel Pavlow, Arthur Kennedy and James Robertson Justice. Charles Tingwell plays the hapless Inspector Craddock who cannot bear Miss Marple interfering and solving his cases for him, a role which in which he is featured in all the entries in this series. Another regular in the series is Stringer Davis (Rutherford's real life husband) who plays the local librarian and her closest friend Mr Stringer. Director George Pollock worked steadily as an assistant director during the forties and fifties and during that time he learned at the feet of some of Britain's most acclaimed directors such as Thorold Dickinson on Gaslight (1940) and David Lean on Brief Encounter, Great Expectations (both 1945) and Oliver Twist (1948). After directing a few trivial comedies such as Village Of Daughters (1961), Pollock had an opportunity with the Marple films to show that he was a very good director investing the films with great British humour as well as intriguing mystery making them timeless entertainment. The films resembled the quota quickies of the 1950's, but they were done with a slightly higher budget, more professionalism and better production values. In addition, Ron Goodwin's music is splendid and the harpsichord laden theme tune would become familiar as it was used in all the other entries in this series. I don't think I would be going over the top to use a well-worn phrase "they don't make them like that anymore". "4:50 From Paddington" has been filmed twice subsequently. In 1987 the BBC gave us a faithful but rather stodgy version starring Joan Hickson and ITV filmed it in 2004 as part of their new series of Miss Marple whodunits starring Geraldine McEwan. But the less said about these the better. Sequels: MURDER AT THE GALLOP (1963), MURDER MOST FOUL (1964) and MURDER AHOY (produced in 1964 but released in late 1965 to space out the series).
Murder She Said
Murder She Said
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When Miss Jane Marple reports witnessing a murder through the window of a passing train, the police dismiss her as a dotty spinster when no trace of the crime can be found.
February 12, 2021