‘THEY DO IT WITH MIRRORS’ (1991)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Mirror Murder with Joan Hickson’s Marple
The eleventh and penultimate story of the ‘Miss Marple’ series with Joan Hickson is ‘They Do It With Mirrors’. It is presented as a 1 hour 40 minute TV movie, based on the 1952 book by Agatha Christie.
‘They Do It With Mirrors’ was shown on the 29th of December 1991, two years after ‘A Caribbean Mystery’ was made. There is an ITV version of this story, but quite honestly I do not recall much of it.
I found this one a bit of a struggle to get through really. I couldn’t get a grasp of who the supporting characters were; what was going on and how the mystery was eventually solved by the Miss Marple.
I’m inclined to believe the BBC version is closer to the original book than the ITV version is. But I’ve come across information that reviewers found the original book by Christie underwhelming in 1952.
I’ll try to explain the plot as best as I can. In the story, Miss Marple visits an old school friend of hers – Carrie Louise. This is at an estate turned into a reformatory school for delinquent boys. Intriguing!
But when Carrie Louise’s dear stepson gets killed in the story, the discontent family is only the beginning. There are hundreds of suspects involved here. Can Miss Marple uncover the true culprit?
A highlight of this drama is that it features Jean Simmons as Carrie-Louise Serrocold. Jean Simmons was a well-known film actress at the time and I’ve also seen her in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’.
She was in the episode called ‘The Drumhead’. I was delighted to see Jean Simmons in this and appearing alongside Joan Hickson’s Miss Marple. She delivers a great performance as Carrie-Louise.
It was interesting to see this drama take place as a reformatory school estate for boys who behave very badly. Seeing this drama has given me ideas to write a Dwaxi sequel for my ‘Fifth Doctor’ series.
With that said, I wasn’t entirely happy with how the murderer got revealed. Details seemed to be murky in the story’s telling. I think this is a ‘Miss Marple’ tale that needs to be seen more than once.
Joan Hickson still delivers a very good performance as Miss Marple. I like how she makes observations during the mystery solving and even admits that she can be wrong in her assumptions.
This production also features the return of…(groans)…David Horovitch as Chief Inspector Slack. And guess what? He’s still a misery guts and not full of laughs. But at least he thanked Miss Marple at the end.
Yeah! I was surprised by that. Chief Inspector Slack thanked Miss Marple after solving who the murderer was. I think that was a first. Not sure he’ll keep this up next time he meets Miss Marple. 😀
It was funny when Slack talked about Miss Marple before she came in as he hadn’t met her by that point in the story. The reaction Slack had when he left the room was pretty hilarious and wonderful.
The cast also includes Joss Ackland as Lewis Serrocold, Carrie-Louise’s husband. Joss Ackland has done more than 130 film and television roles. He is known for appearing in the film ‘White Mischief’.
There’s also Holly Aird as Gina Hudd and Todd Boyce as Walter Hudd. Holly Aird has been in the BBC drama series called ‘Waking the Dead’; has been in ‘Soldier Soldier’ and the film called ‘Fever Pitch’.
Faith Brook stars as Ruth van Rydock, the woman who encourages Miss Marple to see Carrie-Louise at her house. Faith Brook has done ‘The Jungle Book’ 1942 film and the ‘War and Peace’ 1970s show.
There’s also Christopher Villers as Lex Restarick and Jay Villiers as Stephen Restarick. I did check and the two are brothers in real-life as they are in the TV production. That’s amazing. They look identical.
Christopher Villers has also been in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV stories ‘The King’s Demons’ and ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’. He’s also been in the Big Finish audio story ‘Absolution’. I did not realise this! 😀
There’s Neal Swettenham as Edgar Lawson, who has a bit of a mental condition I believe. There’s also Saul Reichlin as Dr. Maseryk and John Bott as Christian Gulbrandsen who sadly gets killed in this.
There’s also Brenda Cowling as Mrs. Rodgers, the housekeeper at the Serrocold’s residence. I’ve seen Brenda Cowling in ‘You Rang M’Lord’. It was nice to watch her in this ‘Miss Marple’ production.
The 1991 TV adaptation of ‘They Do It With Mirrors’ feels a bit of a let-down for me. Whilst I enjoyed it, I couldn’t follow everything with what went on. I do hope the last story of the series will be better.
‘They Do It With Mirrors’ (1991) rating – 5/10
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