Hercule Poirot attends a dinner party in which one of the guests clutches his throat and suddenly dies. The cause seems to be natural until another party with most of the same guests produces another corpse.
An American movie actress, best known for playing dumb blondes, is Scotland Yard's prime suspect when her husband, Lord Edgware, is murdered. The great detective, Hercule Poirot, digs deeper into the case.
Although the evidence appears to be overwhelming in the strangulation murder of a blackmailer, Miss Marple's sole 'not guilty' vote hangs the jury 11-1. She becomes convinced that the real murderer is a member of a local theatrical troupe, so she joins them in order to gather information. The clues lead back many years to a single disastrously unsuccessful 1951 performance of a dreadful play written by the group's hammy director, H. Driffold Cosgood. Although at that time, several of the current cast members were only children, more murders follow before Miss Marple ultimately exposes the killer. Written by
The music playing at the opening of the hospital scene is a reference to the television show Dr. Kildare (1961), down to the shot of the doors to the ward. The score alludes to the theme music from the series, "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight", composed by Jerry Goldsmith. See more »
The courtroom's main doors are decorated with the coat-of-arms of the king of Norway. See more »
In this, the third of a series of four films of Margaret Rutherford depicting Miss Marple, we are lavishly entertained by a witty whodunnit which is set, most appropriately, within and around a travelling theatre troupe. In my view, this is the best of Rutherford's renditions of this character - and, as ever, she is massively supported by a rock-solid cast which merges mirth with menace in adequate proportions.
The decent, yet slightly inept, Inspector Craddock (Charles Tingwell) is ably assisted, in a needy negative way, by the clearly less able policemen, Wells and Brick (Scott and Davies) in trying to convict an 'obvious' criminal for a heinous murder. Adding to this, the ineptitude of a firm and forthright judge (Andrew Cruickshank) alongside an evidently incapable jury, leads us once again to the necessity of 'our Jane' solving the crime for us. To do so, she must join a theatre group which is riddled with a relevant variety of seemingly good suspects - but which is led by an over-the-top character, Driffold Cosgood (played to perfection by the brilliant Ron Moody). The bit where Cosgood changes his mood and his mind in mid-sentance (..."Dear Lady...") is a piece that is worthy of Shakespeare as a refusal is turned into a plea - but there are plenty of other endearing and engaging moments throughout the rest of an accomplished production.
With your port, or a nice bottle of wine, wait until it's dark and raining outside, then snuggle up to this wonderful jaunt through the curious backdrop of a theatre and its performers presenting a different kind of 'playing' than one would normally expect.
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