Miss Marple spends a holiday in a luxurious London hotel. The sinister atmosphere, the odd disappearance of a clergyman and the murder of the commissionaire moves her on the trail of a clever criminal gang.
Miss Marple finds herself on a bit of a holiday and staying at the very posh Bertram's Hotel, where she stayed as a child and for which she has very fond memories. Things take a sinister turn when a hotel maid, Tilly Rice, is found strangled on the roof. Miss Marple can't help but investigate but is assisted by Jane Cooper, also a hotel maid, who is in fact a younger version of Miss Marple. When an attempt is made on the life of a hotel guest, Elvira Blake the two Janes work together to find the motive and the identity of the killer. Written by
In the opening minutes, as Miss Marple stares in wonderment at the lobby of Bertram's Hotel, the manager is on the phone and says, "Uh, no, I'm afraid Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today." The line is from the 1934 Cole Porter song "Miss Otis Regrets" performed by many artists including Ella Fitzgerald and 'Nat 'King' Cole', and more recently by Bette Midler on the final episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. See more »
The reason stated for the murder is that the daughter won't inherit under the will because it references her as the daughter from his "first marriage" when her father's second marriage wasn't valid. This wouldn't matter. She would still be the daughter of the first marriage. Even if the will was found invalid for some reason, it would enter probate under intestacy, and, as the daughter, she would inherit even more than she would have under the will. See more »
Inspector Larry Bird:
But the real reason for your stay is to design hats?
Ja. In Berlin now, there is no hat industry. But then, in Berlin now, there is no hats. And no industry.
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I find these pretty interesting, these heavy adaptations.
I guess the test is not whether it meets somebody's expectations from the book, but whether it works. I'm of the belief that it is rather hard for these things to work unless they get into the core dynamics of Christie, which I believe differed from book to book. Its why I find Christie adaptations fascinating, especially these which seem to be rather fearless.
The book on which this is based is itself fascinating because the building itself is a character. The 1987 version understood this, and adapted its cinematic approach accordingly. This one goes further I think. The cost is that the camera-work seems overly busy at the beginning. There seem to be too many complex tracking shots. These would be simply obvious if we were calibrated to a big screen, but these are essentially and overtly TeeVee productions, so the camera jars a bit.
Its really very well conceived. The camera slides among walls, into the crowd, through windows and so on.
The mystery clips along a little too fast for the material. Its actually fairly rich in clues, parallel plots, and overlapping obfuscation. But all that subtle interplay is overcome by the energy of the thing. This is very energetic.
It features Polly Walker as the aging adventurous. This is inspired casting, since we know where she has been and what she has done. Her screen persona has been in dangerous situations in terms of the risk she has personally taken. "8 1/2 Women" by itself matters. But she is old and tired looking here. That's fine, I suppose. I am too. But it pulls the center out of the story. This character was supposed to be still vital, still an able competitor to her daughter.
The thing that might make you gag if you are a viewer with my tastes. There seems to be a cuteness czar in the producer's office who has added elements intended to endear. I imagine it is a woman. She's added some past for our Jane to explain her spinsterhood and to give her an excuse for fawning over the past. Its tolerable, but they've gone further here, having a second, protégé Jane who does the detecting. So far so good, but at the end there is syrupy romantic coupling that's so out of tune you will forget everything that went before.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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