‘THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE’ (2004)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Vicarage Murder with Miss Marple
The second film of ITV’s ‘Marple’: Series 1, ‘The Murder at the Vicarage’, is based on the original book published in 1930. I found this second film better than the first film in Series 1 of this ITV series.
What I enjoyed about this film is that it takes place in Miss Marple’s home village. It deals more with Miss Marple’s back-story as well as focusing on a murder mystery, putting her home village in panic.
In the film, the vicar of Miss Marple’s home village says that the murder of Colonel Prothero would do the world a service. These words haunt back at him as the murder does take place at his vicarage.
I enjoyed how this film provides a lot of murder suspects. It’s never certain who committed the murder. The joy of Agatha Christie murder mysteries is the finger points from one person to another.
The build-up to the murder is rather slow, since the murder happens halfway in the film. But surprisingly, this didn’t bother me as I enjoyed the development of the characters from that village.
As ever, this film features a superb cast of familiar faces that I recognise whilst watching the film. I was able to pick out plenty of ‘Doctor Who’ stars as well as stars from comedies, movies and others.
Geraldine McEwan again is superb as Miss Marple in this film. Unfortunately for Miss Marple, she sprains her ankle when a motorcyclist nearly runs her over and she falls to the ground in the street.
But that doesn’t stop Miss Marple from being the amateur sleuth she likes to be. Oh no! There’s a scene when she notices something odd about two people when the murder at the vicarage happens.
Sir Derek Jacobi guest stars as Colonel Prothero in the film. For me, Sir Derek played the Master in ‘Utopia’ in the new series of ‘Doctor Who’. Tragically, Colonel Prothero gets murdered in the movie.
Tim McInnerny guest stars as Rev. Leonard Clement in the film. For me, Tim guest starred in the ‘Doctor Who’ episode ‘Planet of the Ood’, as well as appearing in ‘Blackadder’ with Rowan Atkinson.
There’s also Rachael Stirling as Griselda Clement, wife of Rev. Leonard Clement in the film. Rachael is the daughter of Diane Rigg and has guest starred in the ‘Doctor Who’ episode, ‘The Crimson Horror’.
Mark Gattis also appears in this film as the curate Ronald Hawes. For me, Mark is a writer and actor in the new series of ‘Doctor Who’. Mark does get everywhere and appear in anything, doesn’t he?!
Robert Powell guest stars as Dr. Haydock in the film. For me, Robert played ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ in the 1977 TV series of that same name. I was surprised to see Robert Powell since I didn’t recognise him.
There’s also Jane Asher as Mrs. Lester in the film. For ‘Doctor Who’ fans, Jane played Andrea Yates in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ story, ‘Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane?’ It was nice seeing her here.
Janet McTeer guest stars as Anne Protheroe, wife of Colonel Protheroe in the film. There are some nice scenes between Anne Protheroe and Jane Marple when she shares her marriage to the Colonel.
There’s also Jason Flemyng as Lawrence Redding. Lawrence is an artist and seems to be a charmer for the ladies, especially when she paints the Colonel’s daughter, Lettice Protheroe in her swimsuit.
The cast also has Angela Pleasence as Miss Hartnell; Miriam Margolyes as Mrs. Price Ridley; Christina Cole as Lettice Protheroe; Herbert Lom as Ausgustine Dufosse and Emily Bruni as Helene Dufosse.
There’s also Stephen Tompkinson as D.I. Slack. I’ve seen Stephen Tompkinson in the TV drama series, ‘Ballykissangel’. In the film, D.I. Slack values Miss Marple’s help when he’s solving the murder.
In some flashback scenes during the film, there’s Julie Cox as a young Miss Marple. Julie also played Mary Shelley as a ‘Doctor Who’ companion in the Big Finish audios, featuring Paul McGann’s Doctor.
Also in those flashback scenes, we see the young Miss Marple with her lover Marc Warren as Captain Ainsworth. Marc Warren played Elton Pope in the ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘Love and Monsters’.
I enjoyed ‘The Murder at the Vicarage’ very much. It does have a depressing end with scenes of the murderers’ hangings taking place, but there are plenty of light moments and great guest stars in this.
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s an exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary segment with key cast and crew interviews on ‘The Murder at the Vicarage’ to enjoy.
‘The Murder at the Vicarage’ (2004) rating – 8/10
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