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This is possibly MARGARET RUTHERFORD's most satisfactory excursion into
Agtha Christie-land and she's helped by a delightful Ron Goodwin score
that emphasizes her character with an infectious main theme and the
gorgeous B&W photography, full of sinister shadows and proper
Furthermore, Miss Rutherford is surrounded by some formidable British talent, such as Stringer Davis (his Mr. Stringer is always a delight), Robert Morley (blustery but fun), and most notably, FLORA ROBSON, remarkable as the timid companion of an elderly woman.
I've seen most of these Miss Marple mysteries from the 1960s, and this has got to be one of the best. It moves at a swift gallop (unlike some of the more tedious, slow-paced BBC versions), and the accent is on the humorous characterization that Rutherford is capable of. Purists may not think it serves Agatha Christie well, but taken on its own as a piece of comedy/mystery entertainment, it stands up well in that genre.
Probably my favorite Rutherford Marple, this movie is funny, suspensful, and wildly entertaining. Whatever Agatha Christie thought of this movie, she greatly admired Margaret Rutherford, dedicating one of her best books The Mirror Crack'd to her. Once again, great support acting from Stringer Davis (Rutherford's real life husband) and from Robert Morley. Don't you think that Inspector Craddock would have learned to listen to Miss Marple by this movie?
Based on Agatha Christie's book "After the Funearl", this murder mystery
about a rich old man who is murdered and Miss Marple suspects the family
members must have done it for his money, but then, another family member
killed as well.
Margaret Rutherford gives an excellent performance as Miss Marple and she is supported by Robert Morley, as the hotel owner and horse rider, who gives just as good a performance as Margaret Rutherford and Flora Robson as the spinster and companion of the dead woman.
Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple delights her audience in this wonderful mystery. Her use of the phrase, " I have a little tittle tattle for you inspector" is used as only Ms. Rutherford can. The concluding verbal scene with Robert Morley completes a wonderful motion picture.
Murder At The Gallop was one in a series of Miss Marple/Margaret
Rutherford British mysteries...Rutherford certainly appears and acts
quite differently from the character of Miss Marple which Agatha
Christie created. If you want to see the Christie books presented
accurately on screen, view the versions with Joan Hickson as Miss
Marple. They work perfectly with the characters, settings and time
period of the orginals.
However, authenticity is not one of the reasons for seeing this series of films. Margaret Rutherford is a screen gem...working with her real life husband, Stringer Davis, as co-sleuth (his character never appeared in any of the Christie novels) they form a wonderful partnership. I only wish they had continued this series. 'Gallop' features some excellent supporting actors -- Flora Robson, Finlay Curie and especially Robert Morley. It's filmed in beautiful black and white which captures the early 1960's quite well.
For an entertaining evening of pure delight this is a mystery to cherish!
I have not read the book on which the film is based--but I understand it was
a Hercule Poirot book not a Miss Marple book. Anyway in Christie's novels
with Miss Marple there was no "Mr Stringer" the real life husband of Dame
Margaret Rutherford. But it is Dame Margaret and Stringer Davis that makes
the Marple films come alive apart from Ron Goodwin's charming
This is the first movie I have seen in which the author of the book on which the film is based is discussed. This movie will not survive trenchant criticism--it is best viewed as a fun movie with loads of British humour.
What strikes you is that the film is really a women's film, with even Robert Morley having to take a back seat to Dame Margaret and Dame Flora Robson who steal the show.
Of the films in the series, 'Murder Ahoy' I thought was most charming because of the supporting cast and a stronger role for Mr Stringer. "Murder at the gallop" has a weaker story and screenplay in comparison. Yet all these Miss Marple films can be enjoyed by one and all, years after they were made.
Although Margaret Rutherford's take on Miss Marple was not to Agatha
Christie's liking she stands out as one of the best Miss Marples in my
estimation. She injected a lively quirkiness to the character which has
been lacking in recent portrayals.
This is one of my 4 most favorite films Rutherford's timing and expressions are a joy to watch on screen!
The frustrating thing about Agatha Christie novels is that some of them have
alternate titles. With some dismay, I realized, a few minutes into "Murder
At The Gallop", that the film is the cinema version of a book I had finished
not two months earlier, "After The Funeral" (a.k.a. "Funerals Are Fatal").
There would be no new whodunit puzzle for me here.
"After The Funeral" features Hercule Poirot; "Murder At The Gallop" features Miss Marple. The story is basically the same in both book and film, and is a typical Christie whodunit. I think I prefer the book to the film, as the book has more suspects. The film has minimal suspense except near the end. And I find Robert Morley's performance to be slightly annoying.
Still, "Murder At The Gallop" is an OK whodunit for a rainy Sunday afternoon. The main attraction really is the wonderful Margaret Rutherford, who plays Miss Marple. With her feisty determination, this is really her show. To see a woman of 71 in an evening gown dancing The Twist is reason enough to watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Miss Marple (MARGARET RUTHERFORD) and her loyal friend, the local
librarian Mr Stringer (STRINGER DAVIS) are out collecting funds for the
reformed criminals league. They call upon the house of the elderly but
wealthy recluse Mr Enderby and he collapses and falls down the stairs
dead. It was well known that old Enderby had suffered from a chronic
heart condition for many years and the coroner duly records the death
as natural causes. However, it was also well known that he was
terrified of cats and Miss Marple was the only one who noticed the cat
that was prowling around his home. This brings her to the conclusion
that he was murdered and she approaches Chief Inspector Craddock
(CHARLES TINGWELL) with her theory. However, as with the last time that
Miss Marple approached him about someone being murdered, he dismisses
her and refuses to look into it. Miss Marple realises that she and Mr
Stringer must conduct their own investigation. They eavesdrop on the
reading of old Enderby's will. Present at the reading are Enderby's
nephew Hector (ROBERT MORLEY), his niece Rosamund Shane (KATYA DOUGLAS)
and her husband Michael (JAMES VILLIERS). His second cousin George
Crossfield (ROBERT URQUHART) and his sister Cora Lansquenet. The motive
of the crime becomes seemingly clear - £25,000 to be divided up among
Enderby's relatives. However, things turn out not to be as simple as
they first appear when Cora says "Well he was murdered wasn't he?" In
order to try and press Cora about what she meant, Miss Marple pays a
call at her cottage and finds Cora dead, stabbed through the back with
a hat pin. Inspector Craddock has to take Miss Marple seriously now but
can't stand her butting in and solving his cases for him. The Enderby
family are staying at Hector's riding establishment "The Gallop Hotel"
and Miss Marple checks in for a week in order to investigate the family
members and find the killer.
The success of MURDER SHE SAID (1962: see my review) lead to three sequels, which were very much in the same dated but engagingly tongue in cheek vein. The cast is exemplary with Robert Morley shining as the eccentric Hector, Flora Robson as Cora's seemingly timid companion Miss Milcrest while Robert Urquhart (Frankenstein's teacher Paul Krempe in Hammer's CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN) also scores in his part as the suave but shifty art-dealer George Crossfield. However, as always it is Margaret Rutherford who steals the picture as Miss Marple. Even though she's nothing like Agatha Christie's creation, she manages to make the role so convincingly her own as the sharp and eccentric spinster that it hardly mattered at all. Rutherford is both funny and a great character at the same time. This is the one that contains that classic scene in which Miss Marple does the twist in order to fake a heart attack so that she can lure the killer into a trap. George Pollock's direction is smooth and effortlessly meshes comedy with mystery and he is most ably assisted by the gorgeous black and white photography of Arthur Ibbetson, which gives the picture a touch of class while its genuinely sinister at the same time with its subtle use of shadow and composition. The film is based on the novel AFTER THE FUNERAL, in which the case was originally solved by Hercule Poirot! It looks as if soon that David Suchet will be filming a version of this book and it will be interesting to see how it differs from this production.
All in all, MURDER AT THE GALLOP emerges as one of the best films in MGM's quintet of Miss Marple whodunits.
Miss Marple (Margaret Rutherford) and Mr. Stringer (Stringer Davis) are
collecting money for The Reformed Criminals Assistance League, and the
old lady decides to pay a visit to the stingy Old Enderby (Finlay
Currie). They go to his manor and witness him dying frightened to death
by a cat. Miss Marple snoops around the house and finds a piece of mud
that she keeps with her.
She calls the police and later she reports to Inspector Craddock (Charles Tingwell) that Old Enderly was murdered. However he tells that the Death Certificate states the cause of his death as heart failure and Old Enderby had had a severe heart condition for many years. Miss Marple decides to investigate one of the heirs but she finds her dead in her house with her housemaid Miss Milchrest (Flora Robson). Then she lodges in The Gallop Hotel to investigate who might be the murderer. When her prime suspect is killed, she finds the reason why the assassin is killing the relatives of Old Enderby. Now Miss Marple plots a scheme to catch the killer.
"Murder at the Gallop" is another highly entertaining comedy and mystery with Miss Marple. There are delightful scenes, like Miss Marple telling the Inspector Craddock that he should read Agatha Christe, or Miss Marple dancing Twist with Mr. Stringer. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Sherlock de Saias" ("Sherlock in Skirts")
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