Unlike most of the episodes of the series "Marple", this adaptation of "The Moving Finger" stays, by and large, faithful to the original mystery, and I for one (after vilifying other episodes), must reluctantly confess that I rather enjoyed it, although more thought could have been given to the casting.
I was reared in an English village at the time that this story is supposed to take place. Never once did I see a vicar such as portrayed here by Ken Russell, either High Church or otherwise, wandering around dressed as if he'd just come from a "Barchester Chronicles" film set, and although Christie described his wife as "not at all like a vicar's wife", Francis de la Tour's interpretation also jars with the setting.
One of the main reasons that "whodunnits" are so popular, is that readers enjoy following the clues to reach the identity of the culprit before the "resident" sleuth. This is only possible if the clues are presented. The pivotal clue of Symmington's unfortunate maid is virtually hidden. (I know this story so well, and even I nearly missed it.) Perhaps I'm being a little picky, because as far as the series goes, this episode, and "A Murder is Announced", are the only two I've seen that wouldn't have poor Agatha spinning in her grave. However I still prefer the Joan Hickson version of this story, and that earlier series as a whole. I just cannot see Geraldine McEwan's somewhat brusque Jane Marple, as the one that the author envisaged. I'm sure Joan Hickson's more unobtrusive Jane Marple was. But if the mantle of the elderly sleuth must be borne, I suppose that Geraldine is as good a choice as could be made.
Has the message really got through to the scriptwriters at last, or is it that they've been advised from above to actually read the novels before adapting them? And/or deciding perhaps that Dame Agatha'a plots are fine just as she wrote them. One would hope this trend continues, but I still have my doubts about forthcoming productions. Time will tell.