‘The Mirror Crack’d’ (1980) (Film)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Movie Star Murder with Angela Lansbury’s Marple

So, here we have the first and only movie to feature Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple. A shame really! I would’ve liked Angela Lansbury to do more Miss Marples. She later did ‘Murder, She Wrote’.

After the success of the first two Poriot films they made – ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and ‘Death on the Nile’, producers John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin decided to do Miss Marple territory. 🙂

As I understand it, there was originally going to be three movies made with Miss Marple, like there were three movies made with Poriot by the same producers. Unfortunately that didn’t happen here.

‘The Mirror Crack’d’ was considered a box office disappointment when it was released in America. I assume it did well in the UK, but sadly all the plans for future ‘Miss Marple’ films had to be scrapped.

With that said, I don’t think ‘The Mirror Crack’d’ is a great film adaptation featuring the Miss Marple character. Not that Angela Lansbury isn’t great as she provides an intriguing take on the character. 🙂

It’s just the creative choices made behind this film sometimes make it a less faithful film adaptation of the book it was based upon. There are clearly certain characters reduced and omitted in this film.

It’s interesting about ‘The Mirror Crack’d’ as a film adaptation of one of the Miss Marple books. It’s of course based on the 1962 book ‘The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side’. A very long title for a film!

Hence why they cut to ‘The Mirror Crack’d’! 😀 I’ve seen other TV adaptations of this ‘Miss Marple’ tale. They include the 1992 Joan Hickson BBC version as well as the 2011 Julia McKenzie ITV version.

It was fascinating to watch this film adaptation of a Miss Marple story that I knew fairly well and compare/contrast it with other TV versions I’d seen. The story’s the same despite certain alterations.

Angela Lansbury is no stranger to the world of Agatha Christie as she played Salome Otterbourne in the 1978 ‘Death on the Nile’ film with Peter Ustinov. Surprised she didn’t play Miss Marple in that. 🙂

I enjoyed Angela Lansbury’s portrayal of Miss Marple in this film. Although she decided to play it straight in the film, Angela Lansbury’s Marple comes across as very enthusiastic in solving a murder.

There are also creative choices I would question about Angela Lansbury’s Marple such as her smoking in the film. I don’t recall any of the other Miss Marples like Joan Hickson’s Marple smoking.

It’s also interesting to wonder why the film producers chose ‘The Mirror Crack’d’ as their first Marple film. I can assume all the other Miss Marple stories with Angela Lansbury occurred before or after. 😀

The story takes place in 1953. In the English village of St. Mary Mead, a film crew from Hollywood comes to make a film there. But soon a sudden death takes place and Miss Marple must investigate.

Like the previous films featuring Poriot, ‘The Mirror Crack’d’ features a star-studied cast. There are actors of the American continent in this as well as British, although the American cast have a priority.

Elizabeth Taylor stars as Marina Gregg-Rudd, the glamorous Hollywood film star who takes up residence in Dolly Bantry’s home. Marina has a tragic past as she lost a child that became retarded. 😦

Rock Hudson stars as Jason Rudd, Marina’s husband and the film’s director. Rock Hudson was a big movie star of his time. It’s intriguing how he portrays Jason Rudd who protects Marina in her illness.

There’s Tony Curtis as Marty N. Fenn, the film’s producer who’s a sort-of rival to Jason Rudd during the film shoot. Interestingly Tony Curtis was in the 1959 film ‘Some Like It Hot’ with Marilyn Munroe.

Kim Novak stars as Lola Brewster, another Hollywood star that is Marina’s rival. I’ve seen Kim Novak in the film ‘Vertigo’ with James Stewart. I found the Lola character in this film bitchier than others. 😀

There’s Geraldine Chaplin as Ella Zelinsky, Jason Rudd’s secretary I believe. It was interesting to see Ella making blackmail phone calls to Marty Fenn I believe before she gets killed very horrifically here.

Edward Fox stars as Inspector Dermot Craddock, Jane Marple’s nephew who conducts the investigation. It was strange how he gets introduced as I thought he was going to kill Miss Marple. 😀

The cast also includes Charles Gray as Bates the butler; Richard Pearson as Dr. Haydock and Wendy Morgan as Cherry. There’s Margaret Courtenay as Mrs. Dolly Bantry, who only has one scene in this.

Interestingly, Margaret Courtenay starred in ‘The Mirror Crack’d’ story again with Joan Hickson in 1992. 😀 There’s also Maureen Bennett as Heather Babcock who is the first murder victim in the film.

By the way, there’s a young uncredited Pierce Brosnan in the film who plays an actor name Jamie acting in a scene with Elizabeth Taylor’s character. I didn’t realise it was him until I looked him up. 😀

There’s a teaser movie at the film’s beginning called ‘Murder at Midnight’ featuring actors I knew like Anthony Steel, Dinah Sheridan, Nigel Stock, Hildegard Neil, John Bennett and Allan Cuthbertson.

I enjoyed ‘The Mirror Crack’d’ with Angela Lansbury’s Miss Marple. It’s not a great film adaptation of the original book, but it’s decent. It’s a shame there aren’t more Miss Marples with Angela Lansbury.

The DVD special features are as follows. There’s a theatrical trailer for the film.

‘The Mirror Crack’d’ (1980) rating – 7/10

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