From aboard the IMDboat at San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Smith talks to the cast of "Teen Wolf" about the solemn yet celebratory panel for the upcoming season. This news and more in our Guide to Comic-Con.
While on vacation at a resort hotel in the West Indies, Miss Marple correctly suspects that the apparently natural death of a retired British major is actually the work of a murderer planning yet another killing.
The normally friendly village of Lymston is plagued by vile anonymous letters. When a mother of three takes her own life, following such a letter, Ms. Marple is not at all convinced things are as they seem.
A friend of Miss Marple's sees a woman being strangled in a passing train. When police cannot find a body and doubt the story, Miss Marple enlists professional housekeeper, Lucy Eyelesbarrow, to go undercover.
Childhood friends Tommy and Tuppence (Prudence) meet in London after having served in World War I. Recently "demobed", short of money, and with no job prospects, they decide to become adventurers for hire. Soon, they are employed by the British Government to locate a secret treaty signed before the war. Bolsheviks, kidnappings, missing persons, and a marriage proposal for Tuppence, keep things moving for The Young Adventurers, Ltd. Written by
Mike Smith <email@example.com>
I'd see anything adapted from Agatha Christie, as I love her books and writing style. On films and TV, there have been some real gems, like with the Russian and 1945 versions of And Then There Were None, Witness for the Prosecution, Sidney Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express, the Peter Ustinov films of Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun and most of the Joan Hickson Miss Marple and David Suchet Poirot adaptations. Not all adaptations of her work has been great mind, seen with Austin Trevor's Lord Edgware Dies, The Alphabet Murders, the 1989 version of Ten Little Indians and Alfred Molina's Murder on the Orient Express, the worst of the Geraldine McEwan Marple adaptations were similarly hard to sit through.
Fortunately, The Secret Adversary does work as an adaptation and on its own. It's not a gem, but in no way is it a disgrace. It does drag at times in the middle and Gavan O'Herlihy's acting does come across as awkward. If you love Tommy and Tuppence and the TV series Partners in Crime, you'll like The Secret Adversary. If you don't, you may want to look elsewhere. Tommy and Tuppence may not be as interesting or as distinctive as Miss Marple and Poirot, but the stories they feature in still have Agatha Christie's unmistakable style and they are compelling enough. Partners in Crime is a very fun and light-hearted series that will cheer anybody up, a feeling that you do get also in The Secret Adversary.
Again, fortunately what is good about The Secret Adversary more than makes up for any reservations. It looks good certainly, the somewhat soft-grained image does have an 80s look, but even they don't take away from the sumptuous period detail and the simple but effective way it is shot. The scenery and cars are very evocative to period, while I can't help admiring the fashions. The music has a certain jauntiness to it that doesn't jar with the atmosphere, while the writing is droll and thoughtful. The story is engrossing and keeps us guessing until the very end, which was a big surprise. True the pace does lull and there is a lot going on that it can come across as rather complicated sometimes. A couple of re-watches might help though.
The acting is fine, there is a lot of talent here and they give their all to characters(of which there is many, any complaints though of being too many is valid and understandable) that do engage and don't kill the story. James Warwick and Francesca Annis are great in the lead roles and work beautifully together, while Reece Dinsdale is a lively presence as Albert and George Baker, Honor Blackman and Alex McCowen make memorable impressions as well. In conclusion, enjoyable, well worth seeing. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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