Murder Ahoy (1964) Poster

(1964)

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8/10
"All in all fantastic light hearted fun."
jamesraeburn200312 February 2006
Miss Marple joins the board of senior trustees for a youth reformation committee, which prides itself on reforming troublesome teenagers by means of naval cadet training on board a ship called The Battledore. But when one of her fellow trustees is murdered by his snuff being laced with poison, Miss Marple learns that he had just returned from a routine visit to The Battledore and she suspects that the motive for his murder must lie on the ship. Using her position as senior trustee, Miss Marple pays a visit to the ship much to the chagrin of the eccentric Captain Rhumstone (Lionel Jeffries) who seems anxious to get rid of her. With the help of her loyal friend Mr Stringer (Stringer Davis), she soon learns that the shore leave patrol has been committing a series of jewel thefts from the high society. But the question is which one? Meanwhile, Lieutenant Compton (Francis Matthews) has been run through with a sword and hung from the ship's yardarm and suspicion immediately falls on Sub Lieutenant Humbert (Derek Nimmo) whom didn't get along with Compton because they both fancied the same girl, Nurse Shirley (Norma Foster). As usual, Chief Inspector Craddock (Charles Tingwell) thinks he's got an open and shut case, but Miss Marple isn't convinced of Humbert's guilt even though the jewel robberies were all committed after high society parties, all of which he and Shirley had both attended. In her usual shrewd way, Miss Marple sets a trap for the killer and uncovers a big swindle attached to the higher ranks among the committee but not before Shirley is murdered by a poisoned spike primed to a mousetrap...

Murder Ahoy was the fourth and final entry in the series of comedy whodunits starring Rutherford as Miss Marple. The series was doing well at the box office, but the producers were unable to get the rights to any more of Christie's works. In addition, this is the only one that wasn't adapted from a Christie novel and the film was produced in 1964, but released at the end of 1965 in order to space out the series. Following the end of the Miss Marple franchise, director Pollock would make one more feature before he more or less vanished from the scene. Another Christie, Ten Little Indians (see my review), for Fu Manchu producer Harry Alan Towers.

All in all, Murder Ahoy is fantastic light hearted fun with Rutherford on fine form as usual as the spinster detective. She gets good support from Lionel Jeffries as the Captain and Stringer Davis offers his touching portrayal as the local librarian Mr Stringer who is Miss Marple's closest friend and is always concerned that her meddling may result in her getting bumped off, but its never any use as she is determined to unravel the mystery and she does in her own inimitable fashion. Moments to savour here include her sword fight with the killer at the climax when she assures her assailant "I must warn you that in 1931 I was the winner of the ladies fencing championship." Screenwriters David Pursall and Jack Seddon came up with quite a good storyline of their own and the identity of the killer is well concealed until the end, but I felt that the script could of been a little tighter. Nevertheless, its all good fun and Rutherford has no trouble in dominating the film with her uniquely individual performance as Miss Marple, George Pollock's direction is smooth and the atmospheric black and white camera-work of Desmond Dickinson is an added bonus.
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Delightfully old-fashioned.
dbdumonteil20 August 2004
When I saw the movie for the first time some 25 years ago I did not like it.Today I find it quite entertaining and I have much fun to watch it.Hindsight displays its charm.First of all,this is the kind of movie they do not do (and won't do) anymore.George Pollock,the par excellence Agatha Christie director -he directed three other Miss Marple films and the second version of "and then there were none" aka" ten little Indians" - is no genius but his movie has its fair share of humor,even black humor (the doctor does not seem to take the deaths seriously,always making sure a child be born to carry on,so to speak).This is an original screenplay ,not adapted from a Christie's book and that accounts for the rather weak detective plot.But interest lies elsewhere:Margaret Rutherford's mischievous old lady detective is allowed things Mrs Christie would not have thought of : spending a night in jail and fighting a duel (sabers) with the culprit!
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9/10
All Aboard!
BaronBl00d9 February 2000
The third and arguably best film from the Miss Marple films of the 6o's. This time out Miss Marple must solve a mysterious death concerning a trustee and a snuff box, which eventually lands her on board a ship as an observing trustee. Once aboard, Miss Marple and her presence seemingly invite murder after murder. Margaret Rutherford furls her sails and lends the film her gargantuan aplomb. She is a battleship on screen. The cast also includes Stringer Davis(real-life husband) and Charles Tingwell(Inspector Craddock) reprising earlier roles. Lionel Jeffries is the ship's captain and he is simply marvelous as he bemoans Marple's presence and even calling her "a Jonah and an ill wind blowing." Definitely a treat and comic tour-de-force for Rutherford, who we get to see fence no less, and Jeffries.
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8/10
A life on the ocean waves...NOT!
derek william hall21 November 2001
This was the fourth and final offering in the Rutherford/Marple quartet of old English masterpieces. As good as it was though - and it did not let us down as yet another reminder of how quaint some parts of a middle class England of yesteryear were - this was, perhaps, the least riveting of the great Dame's portrayal of the delightful Miss Marple.

For those who are interested in locations, the centrepiece of the tale, H.M.S.Battledore, was anchored in the bay betwixt Falmouth and St.Mawes (in cushty Cornwall) with the latter named small town providing the backdrop for the thefts of the scallywags who were supposed to be being reformed as part of a trust initiative to aid young men who had been led astray. From the outset of the plot, a 'snuff' murder way ahead of its time, we were kept on our toes as Miss Marple (as ever, ably assisted by her elderly beau, Mr.Stringer) weaved her way through the suspects aboard that fabulous old ship which looks as if it has just been vacated by Drake or Nelson. Nevertheless, the contemporary Captain, played to perfection (by Lionel Jeffries) with a mixture of 'old sea salt' zest and a zany personality unmatched by the rest of the crew, almost upstages the film's star with his demeanour ranging from the seeming son of Blackbeard through to a sort of Peter Pan who has lived all his dreams and desires of great seamanship within a perpetual stone's throw of land.

The sword fight at the end may ahve been a bit naff - but it didn't matter, we knew who would win as Jane was bound to have been a fencing champion of some sort in her merry old past. But what was surprsing was that this proved to be the last of a proven fromula that ought to have been repeated many times over.

A thoroughly good yarn - best watched with a flaggon of cider to keep one's whistle wet!
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Very Enjoyable
BritishFilms14 December 2002
I enjoyed watching this film so much. It has to be the best of the Miss Marple films made from 1961 - 1965, starring Margaret Rutherford.

Miss Marple is working as a trustee of a fund in association with a ship that handles young criminals. On a return visit from the ship, a trustee is murdered and Miss Marple decides to go on board the ship to find any clues about the murder, suspecting the murderer is a crew member, causing much distress for the Captain and the Inspector leading the investigation.

This film is a good crime-comedy feature from 1964 and I'm sure everybody who likes that genre will enjoy this film tremendously.
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7/10
A cocktail of clean humour and mystery
Jugu Abraham22 February 2002
I have enjoyed watching all the Miss Marple/Margaret Rutherford movies for they provide light entertainment. This one in particular was worth your time because of a great performance by Lionel Jeffries as the captain of the ship. Jeffries, Rutherford, and Ron Goodwin's marvelous music make the film a treat to watch. Of course, the direction lacks punch if we judge it 40 years after it was made.

The Rutherford/Stringer relationship (that was not Agatha Christie's) on and off screen adds additional trivia interest. I note that Stringer died soon after the death of Dame Rutherford.
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8/10
Margaret Rutherford on the High Seas
Pudditat11 January 2001
I always enjoy a chance to see any of the four Murder mysteries Margaret Rutherford made during the 1960's as Agatha Christie's Miss. Marple. While she doesn't fit the traditional description, she is a hoot to watch! I think these are all great fun, and she is just a classic!
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not the third!
todmichel30 April 2002
Just a little rectification: if the order of releases in Great-Britain is correct, this film is the fourth, not the third, in the series. The British releases were as follow: Murder, She Said - August, 1961 Murder at the Gallop - April, 1963 Murder Most Foul - February, 1964 Murder Ahoy - July, 1964
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Admiral Marple
BILLYBOY-1014 February 2000
Seems old Follie Hardwick gets snuffed out after a visit to the HMS Battledorn, a old wreck used to rehibilitate wayward boys. That leaves another old wreck, Jane Marple to personally investigate the shennanigans aboard ship, and so she does much to the shagrin of all aboard including the eventual murder. This is great fun and Dame Rutherford is at her peak. I think its the best of the four Christie films in this series, altho they are all great.
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The mystery isn't great but the cast are good and the film is lively and good fun
bob the moo28 May 2006
Whilst visiting the monthly meeting of a naval trust set up long ago one of her relatives, Miss Marple is surprised by the rudeness of Follie Hardwick who demands to speak outside of the agenda. Hardwick insists that his news will drop the rest of the agenda as irrelevant and, taking a pinch of snuff, he stands to speak. Seconds later he is dead from a heart attack and the police are called. Marple notices later that someone has stolen the dead man's snuff, but left the snuffbox. Believing the death was murder by way of poisoned snuff, Miss Marple insists on investigating, much to the chagrin of Detective Inspector Craddock.

For many viewers, myself included, this is not really a Miss Marple film as we think of it. For most of us this should be a film with Joan Hickson that is very slow and very English, however this is not to say that the Rutherford versions are not any good because they are actually pretty enjoyable. Less of a Miss Marple film, this is more a Margaret Rutherford film because she does her usual performance of huff, puff and sheer bloody-minded persistence. The plot is written around this well and is lively and fun with a surprise amount of comedy for a mystery film. The actual development of the case is not that strong but the whole thing is entertaining enough to avoid having to rely too heavily on just this aspect.

The cast make it work as well as it does. Rutherford could be accused of doing what comes naturally but so what if it works? Real life partner Stringer Davis is good value as always in his small role as is Tingwell in the typically cynical Detective Inspector. The crew of the ship are great fun; Jeffries is nearly always funny and he is well supported by Nimmo, Parsons, Mervyn and Benham. Nobody is brilliant and the film belongs to Rutherford, but the presence of some great comedians helps matters.

Overall this is an entertaining and enjoyable film that is driven by the force of Rutherford's presence. She may not be a great Miss Marple but she does what she does well. The rest of the cast are fun as well and they manage to cover the fact that the mystery side of things could have been stronger and more interesting. Light fun though.
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6/10
The last in the series and the weakest...
Apparently Agatha Christie totally removed herself from any association after the third in the series of these Margaret Rutherford vehicles. So this is not even adapted from any of Agatha Christie's novels and it shows.

Margaret, as usual, has a great time and her sidekick Stringer Davis (real-life husband) appears a little stronger in his role.

However, the plot creaks along and none of it makes much sense but Margaret in her buttoned suit and tricorn hat is not to be missed. Lionel Jeffries hams it up as the frustrated captain who views Margaret as his own personal albatross and there are some whopping discrepancies, - i.e. a lover's young sweetheart is murdered and he displays not a whit of grief - but all in all it is the same huge fun as before, though more weakly plotted. I gave it a 6 but it is more of a 6-1/2.

Margaret fencing is not to be missed and it is such a shame that not more of these were not made. This was sadly the fourth and last in the series. Incidentally Margaret kept her impoverished studio afloat financially with them.
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7/10
The Last Movie in the Warner Box
Claudio Carvalho22 June 2013
Miss Marple (Margaret Rutherford) is summoned to join a meeting of trustees of a fund of rehabilitation of criminals. One of the trustees has just visited the training ship "Battledore" and wants to report his findings; however, when he inhales snuff, he has a heart attack and dies. Miss Marple notes that the snuff box is empty, but she collects a spilled sample and after a chemical analysis, she finds that the trustee was poisoned.

Miss Marple goes to the Battledore to investigate and has a cold reception of Captain Sydney De Courcy Rhumstone (Lionel Jeffries). Soon she discovers that there are many thieves on board and a great embezzlement of the rehabilitation fund, in the middle of a series of murders.

"Murder Ahoy" is the last movie in the Warner box of DVDs and maybe it is the weakest adventure of the snoopy Miss Marple. However, the old lady fencing against the criminal makes the movie worth. The board of trustees telling that it is important the renewal with a younger member is hilarious. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Assassinato a Bordo" ("Murder on Board")
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6/10
A certain charm.
Andy Howlett20 August 2006
To many of my generation (now in their fifties), Margaret Rutherford takes some beating as Miss Marple - in fact she *is* Miss Marple, and Joan Hickson etc are merely fakes. These four films (She Said, Most Foul, At The Gallop and Ahoy) may not be accurate representations of the original stories, but they do invite repeated viewing and have what modern films lack - charm. They also have good solid characters and a light-hearted approach that makes them so watchable. Margaret Rutherford may not have had a terrific range, but what she did, she did with enormous confidence and style, and she is never overshadowed in any scene she plays, which is virtually every one. All great fun from the moment that catchy theme tune plays (you'll be humming it for weeks afterwards) to the final credits, and you are left feeling satisfied. That's what they did in the 50's and 60's.
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Margaret Rutherford Makes It Worth Watching
Lechuguilla29 November 2005
The story begins with a murder onshore, and then shifts to a harbor bound ship where the real answers to the puzzle can be found. The story isn't really that interesting. But what makes the film worthwhile is Margaret Rutherford. She is wonderful as the overpowering amateur detective, always two steps ahead of the bumbling police.

The main problem with the film is the screenplay, with a contrived plot and some rather obvious plot holes. Further, there's a conspicuous lack of character development. We never really get to know the suspects. In some cases, they are interchangeable. It's as if the screenwriters devised the plot first, and then created stick figure characters, to advance the plot.

Aside from the script, the production design is weak. And I found the hammy performance of Lionel Jeffries to be mildly annoying. It's like he was trying too hard to be funny. This problem might have originated with the director.

Absent the elaborate costumes, the gorgeous scenery, the flashy cinematography, and the star power of blockbuster films like "Death On The Nile" and "Evil Under The Sun", "Murder Ahoy!" is rather humdrum. But what this film does have is Rutherford's Miss Marple, a battleship of integrity, energy, humor, and intelligence. In this film she dabbles in chemistry with gusto, engages in a fencing duel, and in general converts a lackluster script into an enjoyable whodunit.
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5/10
Somebody Gets Snuffed Out
bkoganbing5 December 2009
In this last film in which Margaret Rutherford plays Ms. Jane Marple, the redoubtable old sleuth finds herself elected trustee of a restored sailing ship of the line which is now used as a training vessel for young criminal offenders. Kind of a British version of an American boot camp for the wayward youth.

When one of the trustees dies of a heart attack while at a board meeting while trying to tell in a most dramatic fashion that something is afoul at the ship, Rutherford finds the cause of his death. His snuff box had been laced with strychnine. Does she go to the police with such information, she does not. In this case given the forensic science lab that Scotland Yard has which I daresay is superior even to her own, Inspector Charles Tingwell might have solved the crime on his own. No wonder this man wants to strangle her, she is withholding evidence in point of fact.

That bit of business puts Murder Ahoy a bit over the line. It's a maxim in detective fiction that the private eye no matter how much the amateur always shows up the professional. But there are limits as to how far you can take it and I think Agatha Christie stepped over the line in this Marple story.

But if she hadn't we wouldn't have had the pleasure of seeing Margaret Rutherford in full Navy regalia taking over the HMS Battledore and giving Captain Lionel Jeffries and his crew fits. Two murders later of ship's officers and we do find the real culprit.

What was interesting about Murder Ahoy is that there are two separate criminal enterprises going on at the same time on the good ship Battledore. The first murder sets off a chain of events among the villains in which the group involved in one enterprise comes across the second conspiracy and the motives do get tangled up for the police. But of course not for Margaret Rutherford.

Fittingly the whole thing is resolved on Trafalgar Day. It was quite a scheme that the murderer's fear of discovery caused the individual to become so homicidal.

Margaret Rutherford is of course wonderful as Ms. Marple and she and Lionel Jeffries have some great scenes. Years ago I could have seen the master of the slow burn, Edgar Kennedy playing the part as Jeffries plays it.

I don't think it's as good as some Christie stories, but her fans shouldn't mind at all.
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7/10
The weakest of the four but definitely still worth watching
TheLittleSongbird22 February 2013
Ever since I was 11 I've loved Agatha Christie and Miss Marple. And while they are not perhaps films that die-hard traditionalists of Christie's work the four George Pollock-Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple films are entertaining enough still. Murder Ahoy is the fourth and last of the series, and for me it is also the weakest. The main problem is the story, which is rather contrived and confusing at points(Christie's lack of involvement and that it wasn't based on any of her work- even with a couple of moments where there are echoes of it- was all too evident here. While the sword-fighting scene is tacky and just felt silly compared to everything else going in the film and while there are some witty and funny moments the script does sketch over the characters too much so we never get to know anybody. However, the setting, locations and period detail are great, and the black and white photography is crisp. Pollock's direction is smooth, the film goes by at a good- if not as zippy as the other three- pace and there are some decent clues and solving of them. But the strongest points are the music and the cast. The music is deliciously catchy, just love the opening theme. Margaret Rutherford steals the film and is simply terrific(if somewhat unconventional) as Miss Marple, her in the naval uniform alone is guaranteed the viewing, while Lionel Jeffries seems to be having great fun as the Captain. Overall, not great but definitely worth watching. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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8/10
She was always HERSELF...
Marcin Kukuczka31 May 2012
A crucial moment for the trustees' meeting at the Cape of Good Hope Youth Reclamation Centre. The well tailored niece of late Sir Hubert Marple, modest about the 'achievement of her illustrious family,' is indeed touched by the warmth of their welcome. On the minds of all the participants is the significant ship Battledore, the place which 'provides a safe haven for those who are in peril on the sea of life,' aimed at socializing young hooligans. The bishop's pompous speech seems to break any word and time limit and yet...fellow Cecil Ffolly Hardwicke, having visited the Battledore, insists on speaking up. Indeed, something urgent occupies his mind, something of utmost importance. However, just before he seems to be allowed to pass on whatever is on his mind, he unexpectedly passes away. The shock is the feeling of every witness of this tragic death; yet, suspicion fills the mind of only one person – the distinguished niece, Miss Marple (Margaret Rutherford), who is, in no way, temporarily 'unhinged' but proves to be always...HERSELF.

Miss Marple discovers that dead Hardwicke's snuff (its considerable amount) has been stolen just while he was being taken away and she draws some breathtaking conclusion while experimenting on its little amount that has remained. The powerful sleuth 'damns the torpedoes' with 'full speed ahead' to pursue the investigation on board a ship. With a delightful and insightful view on the ship where all are anxious to get rid of this unwelcome 'Neptune's mother,' it soon occurs that, indeed, there is something going on aboard the Battledore, something far more than hanky-panky between the sexes...

The fourth film with Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple is not based on any of Agatha Christie's novels but is entirely based on the interpretation of Miss Jane Marple by David Pursall and Jack Seddon. That is one of the reasons why MURDER AHOY has met lots of critical views. Some critics perceive it as 'somewhat heavy combination of homicide and hanky-panky' while others see it as a considerably cheap entertainment. Unfortunately, many of the critical views are quite unfair to the movie which, in my opinion, contributes to the whole series of the films and also has plenty offer.

It is, naturally, MARGARET RUTHERFORD who makes even the less clever lines executed unforgettably. She 'creeps about' to uncover what is unavailable for others. She beautifully blends detective features with comedy undertones and does it powerfully in all scenes: her gestures, her moves, her splendid way of executing her lines. The climactic manifestation of skills on the screen occurs to be the scene when she is fencing with the villain. Nevertheless, there are many more scenes worth attention, including her experiment with the snuff, her entrance on board a ship, the library scene as well as the encounters with chief Inspector Craddock (Charles Tingwell) and Mr Jim Stringer (Stringer Davis, her real life husband). Like in the preceding films, there are similar touches and cutting remarks between Miss Marple, a real sleuth, and the policeman convinced solely by proved fact. This time, Mr Stringer does not give Miss Marple 'a leg up' but propels her in the library where a significant book is being discovered.

The whole naval atmosphere is provided funnily on board the Battledore, particularly by Lionel Jeffries who portrays an amusing, 'outmaneuvered' captain, a bigoted patriot who owns a blade allegedly granted to his great grandfather by Admiral Nelson himself. He indeed cannot ignore the death of Nelson but what about his attitude towards more recent deaths around him? Yes, some wit may appear old fashioned or artificial in certain context but the hilarious scene of broken bottle which he considers a 'diabolical waste' and the finale when, at last, a woman will be at the helm of the ship, constitute the best moments of humor handled by Lionel Jeffries. William Mervyn as Connington, Joan Benham as funny Matron Alice Fanbraid, Norma Foster as delicious Shirley and Miles Malleson as eloquent bishop give adequate performances.

Thanks to the direction of George Pollock, the cinematography by Desmond Dickinson and music score by Ron Goodwin, the film is supplied with similar charm as all the other preceding parts, MURDER SHE SAID, MURDER AT THE GALLOP, and MURDER MOST FOUL. There are nice little touches of images, the additional hints of symbols and the haunting visuals about interior shadows that aid the doom-filled atmosphere of the movie. Of course, much of what happens to Miss Marple is predictable but it is in no way boring but effectively entertaining.

MURDER AHOY brings the curtain down on the unforgettable portrayal of Agatha Christie's Jane Marple that Dame Rutherford created. Still, however, after all these years, we can admire her talent and say frankly 40 years after her death: "What an old darling she was!"
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8/10
Murder aboard HMS Battledore
Chris Gaskin1 November 2005
Murder Ahoy was the last of the Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple movies I hadn't seen and I taped this when BBC 2 screened recently one afternoon while I was on holiday.

In this one, Miss Marple goes aboard HMS Battledore to investigate a murder on there. Her friend, Mr Stringer helps out by staying in a hotel overlooking the bay where the Battledore is anchored. More murders take place and at one point, Miss Marple becomes of the murder suspects. He finally gets caught at the end after a sword fight with Miss Marple!

The rest of the cast includes Lionel Jefferies (First Men In the Moon), Charles Tingwell, Stringer Davies (Rutherford's real life husband), Nichalas Parsons (Sale of the Century) and Derek Nimmo. Good parts from all.

If you like mysteries, then you will enjoy this. Great fun.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
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9/10
Neptune's Mother (Marple) battles her way to unmasking a killer.
Paul Evans8 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Miss Marple is made trustee of The Battledore, a training ship for youngsters. During her first meeting fellow trustee Cecil Folly Hardwick is killed with poisoned snuff. Miss Marple smells a rat and contrives a way to spend time on board to Battledore, to find out what Folly had uncovered there.

The humour is here by the bucket load, Rutherford as always is a pure joy to watch, and this time she's met her match, Lionel Jeffries is utterly brilliant to watch, he's so much fun. I think Derek Nimmo being called 'Muscles,' is one of the funniest bits.

The pièce de résistance has to be the sword fighting scene, can anyone in their wildest dreams picture Joan, Julia or even Geraldine wielding a sword, watching a now 72 year old Rutherford fighting with a sword is worth the watch alone.

The final instalment of Margaret Rutherford's Miss Marple films is total entertainment, fun and proper escapism. True that any links with Agatha Christie have now completely gone, but it seems not to matter, as the story is there just there for fun. I've read that more were planned but never happened, what a shame.

Great entertainment, real family fun (if the kids are a bit quirky that is, like I used to be and enjoy this kind of yarn.) 9/10
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6/10
Probably the weakest of the four, but still fun to watch
gridoon201831 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
If the filmmakers of the Marple series with Margaret Rutherford made the rather audacious decision of basing two of their stories on Hercule Poirot books, in "Murder Ahoy" they went one step further by making up a whole new story with Miss Marple! It's actually a pretty solid mystery, but although it has the "Christie formula", it lacks the "Christie touch". The characters of the suspects (apart from the mostly comic-relief captain of the ship where most of the action takes place on) are not distinct enough to make you care "whodunit" as much as you should (though there is one great red herring near the end). Nevertheless, Rutherford is still great fun to watch as Miss Marple, with some memorable lines ("Softly softly catchee monkey!"), and she looks smashing in her naval uniform. This film also has the most outrageous climax of the series, with Marple engaging in an extended swordfight!! **1/2 out of 4.
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last film
vvjti12 July 2009
The last of the four Miss Marple adventures starring margaret rutherford, it is maybe not up to standard of previous films and weak in screenplay. It's jolly but and it's good that it's based on a ship as setting. Charles Tingwell is back as inspector craddock and jollyness is around although a bit less than films before. The cool music is back, played at opening sequence as miss marple(margaret rutherford) tries on navy uniform. star names like lionel jeffries, nicholas parsons join cast and stringer davis aids miss marple again. There is a shipload of suspects and a few detours to viewer as to killers identity. there is nice use of lamp morse code signals from ship across bay to the shore
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Jerry Lewis' Mutiny
tedg25 February 2015
The good: well it has a jaunty theme song. At least it honors the original form in that the order we see things in is roughly the order of discovery by the detective.

By this entry in the series, they had seriously lost their way. What genuinely started out as detective stories had morphed into humor-driven light entertainment. Characters are just silly. Slapstick appears for the first time.

There is no deduction, only snooping. This Marple has no hard won village-centric wisdom. What she accidentally discovers, comes from the book she is reading that just so happens to be the pattern the murderer used. Once again, we have this old woman putting herself at risk, presuming that the murderer will confess to the hidden police before killing her.

You should avoid this one.
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5/10
Not the Miss Marple I know
Coventry13 December 2017
This is the third (out of four) Agatha Christie adaptations starring Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple that I've seen and, even though I wasn't too keen on the depiction of the all-knowing small-town spinster since the first film already, it never really bothered me that much until now. Mrs. Rutherford was a great actress and she surely put a lot of devotion into her role of Miss Marple, but to me she never should have been a headstrong, boisterous and intrusive woman. From the many books, I know Miss Marple as a timid and fragile little old lady who's always right and much more intelligent than everybody else, but she modestly remains at the sideline to solve the crimes. In the film series, she more of an imposing hag and her intellect doesn't come so much from observation and deduction, but from nosing around and reading detective novels. It also didn't help that "Murder Ahoy" isn't based on an existing Agatha Christie novel but works from an original screenplay. There are references towards famous writings, for example "The Mouse Trap", but the setting and story twists clearly aren't from the hand of the almighty Queen of Crime.

Miss Marple is welcomed as a new trustee of a ship on which juvenile delinquents are rehabilitated into potent young mariners, but during her first board meeting a fellow trustee is ingeniously killed via poisoned snuff. He looked like he was about to reveal a discovery he made during the last inspection of the ship, and so Miss Marple goes aboard with intention to figure out what secret was important enough to kill another man. The crew of the HMS Battledore isn't very happy to have her on board, and particularly Captain De Courcy wants her off as soon as possible, but Miss Marple's suspicion proves to be right when she and Mr. Springer discover that people are secretly leaving the ship at night for unknown reasons. I am possibly prejudiced because the story isn't based on a Christie novel, but I found it difficult to get into the plot and feel any sympathy for the characters. I prefer the murders to be committed in St. Mary Mead, where Miss Marple is much more at home than on a military vessel. She also doesn't any real investigating, but solves the crime by reading a book she found in the ship's library and one that the killer undoubtedly read as well. There isn't any suspense or mystery, not even during the confrontation with the culprit at the end. The one and only true strong point of "Murder Ahoy" is Lionel Jeffries' wildly enthusiast performance as Captain De Courcy-Rhumstone. What a brilliant but sadly underrated actor he was.
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7/10
Marple at Sea
JLRMovieReviews24 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This outing has Miss Jane Marple becoming a trustee for the Battledore ship, when an uncle of hers dies of old age. She attends the next meeting and already another murder falls at her feet, when a fellow trustee, having something important to say about his latest visit to the Battledore, keeps getting interrupted by the speaker who has the floor and finally getting a chance to speak and taking a whiff of his snuff, he begins, but abruptly dies.

Of course, Craddock and the "very brisk" doctor think the victim died naturally from a heart attack. But Miss Marple finds out through some spilled snuff that he was poisoned by strychnine. She is determined to go aboard the Battledore to find out what he was trying to relate to other trustees and apprehend the killer.

Rutherford is great as usual, with witty lines abound, but this entry, costarring Lionel Jeffries and written expressly for the screen and not based on Agatha Christie material, is probably the weakest of the four in the series. But, you'll probably enjoy it anyway, with Marple and Mr. Stringer trying to keep two shakes ahead of Inspector Craddock.
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5/10
A good cast struggles through
While "Murder She Said" had rattled along at a decent pace and kept the silly plot somehow unintrusive, this film drags along through a ridiculous, and often muddled story. Margaret Rutherford gamely blusters through in her typical manner and Lionel Jeffries adds appropriately stiff support. The supporting cast are pretty good, in particular Nicholas Parsons as Dr Crump, but in the end they are all struggling with a poor story that doesn't keep the viewer engrossed or anywhere near the edge of their seat.
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