6.8/10
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18 user 3 critic

Murder with Mirrors (1985)

When Carrie Louise Serrocold suspects that someone is trying to poison her, she sends for the one person who might be able to help - her old friend Miss Marple.

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(novel), (teleplay)
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »
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Cast

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Dr. Max Hargrove
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Amanda Maynard ...
Miss Valentine
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Storyline

Christian Gilbranson, Miss Marple's lawyer, persuades her to visit the baronial estate of his step-mother, Carrie Louise Serrocold, an old friend of Marple's. Carrie Louise's devoted husband Lewis has turned the manor house into a halfway house for young men with criminal records and has hopes of expanding the facilities. He confides to Miss Marple that he suspects that someone is slowly poisoning Carrie Louise with arsenic. One of the young charges, Edgar Lawson, claims to be Lewis' illegitimate child and wants his alleged father to acknowledge him. While they are arguing behind closed doors a gun is discharged, and the visiting Gilbranson is found murdered in another room. It is up to Miss Marple to aid crusty Inspector Curry discover the murderer's and poisoner's identities. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

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Genres:

Crime | Mystery | Romance

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Release Date:

20 February 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Maldição do Espelho  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Bette Davis seems to be very seriously ill, she actually did three subsequent films. However, this did prove to be Helen Hayes's last film. See more »

Connections

Version of Miss Marple: They Do It with Mirrors (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

 
More of a 'Who's innit' than a worthy 'Whodunnit'
4 June 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This film is interesting for a number of reasons - not so much as a sharp pot-boiler that will keep you guessing to an enthralling climax while being stylishly stuffed full of Joan Hickson-esque quintessential old world charm - but more so because of when and how it was made, and who appears in it.

The 1980's embraced the TV Movie, and the major studio players from the 30's, 40's and 50's, were still to be found appearing on screen in them, some times looking ridiculously out of place and, quite frankly, far too old and somehow exercising a diminished talent. But often still giving assured and classy performances, showing that to 'The End' (quite literally) they maintained their professional ability and standing. One can only look at Helen Hayes - The First Lady of the American Stage as she was referred to (I suppose this is why she begins quoting Shakespeare when she is seen on stage in this film) - and revel in her warm and intelligent final film appearance, and then recall poor Joan Crawford, an Oscar winning actress who thrilled and chilled in many movies, iconic in fashion and style for most of her adult life, whose final film appearance was the appalling 'Trog', where she looks old, embarrassed, and barely able to act at all. (Mind you, in fairness, she is romping about for most of it with a man in a dodgy gorilla suit grunting and moaning - the gorilla, not her.) The TV Movie could be regarded as a safe house cum retirement home for the once famous. (Channel Five daytime scheduling entertains quite a few, and you will often find an ex-Charlie's Angel or Dynasty cast member crying a lot, usually over the abduction of a child or diagnosis of an incurable disease). The plot lines and characters within a lot of these types of 'based on actual events' or biographical stories are almost echoes of some of the dramas being made on film by the big studios (particularly Warner Brothers and Universal) in the 40's and 50's. If they were shot in black and white, the short and sharp narratives, and economic style of shooting and limited camera work, could almost put them in to the B-movie Film Noir category. They are modern day (or 80's into 90's into today) versions of the pulp fiction and magazine serial type stories of times gone by.

As a film fanatic, with a great love of actresses of the 30's and 40's, I cherish a movie like Murder With Mirrors. It seems crazy to have Margo Channing from All About Eve, the nurse from Farewell to Arms (the character name escapes me - I could have said one of the nannies from One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, but great as that movie is, it is not Miss Hayes's finest celluloid moment),Miss Jones from Rising Damp along side Rumpole of the Baily, the husband from Fresh Fields and a 'teenage' Tim Roth. There's a kind of Sunday night 'bath and hair-wash and finishing off your homework' type of cosiness about this movie as well.

It does lack humour, especially compared to Ustinov's Poirot, and it is not at all charming in the lavender water scented fashion that seems to go hand in hand with Hickson or even Margaret Rutherford's Marple (the contemporary setting has a lot to do with that - no one even speaks in a faux country bumpkin accent until the police constable opens his mouth!), but it zips along in a pacey soap opera kind of way, and Leo McKern is laid back and commanding while Dorothy Tutin is extreme and commanding.

Bette Davis was in pain for much of the shoot (according to her book 'This 'n That') and she doesn't seem to be enjoying herself much. But the short scenes she shares with Mills and Hayes are so solid and well acted (she is so frail and laden down with make-up, it is a wonder she doesn't actually topple over forwards!) that it is a blessing to see her still working.

This film is not so much about the story or the style, it is about cherishing the starry cast who all contribute as best they can and somehow, make you feel engrossed by and sympathetic to their altogether quite flimsy characters.


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