Reviews & Ratings for
"Agatha Christie's Marple" Ordeal by Innocence (2007)

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25 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

McEwan's Marple Mistakenly Malligned

Author: sarah_caroline from United States
4 March 2008

I am sorry that some people cannot find the new artistic interpretations of the Miss Marple series refreshing. I have always enjoyed the novels of Agatha Christie as well as most of the movies/television productions based on her work. But I especially enjoy the new Miss Marple portrayed by Geraldine McEwan. I find them new and fresh and proof that these stories, though based in a bygone era, can be reinterpreted in a newer age and with a bit more color. I find Ms. McEwan's portrayal of the aging sleuth to be above reproach and I give her top marks. How boring life would be if we didn't have the freedom to re-interpret or re-invent. But I suppose those that oppose this new series also didn't appreciate "Kiss Me Kate" as it wasn't the original Shakespeare, or the miniseries "Pride and Prejudice" because new aspects to old stories had been added.

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14 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Strange changes to the original plot

Author: FanWanDango from England
12 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't mind the McKewan Marple stories - they don't try to emulate the almost perfect Joan Hickson ones (which are very true to the books). I don't even mind messing with the plot as long as it is done well, this story was not written as a Marple mystery but they managed to insert her quite well, *spoiler warning* the one thing that I can't understand is why was Gwenda killed? This plot twist just doesn't make sense, Kirsten had managed to get the whole household suspicious of her, so much so that her fiancé had asked her to leave the house, so why kill her? That makes the suspicion fall back on someone else in the house whereas if she had left they could have all blamed her. I think it was this that ruined it most for me. I don't mind making changes if they make sense but this one didn't. The original book gives much more build up to the character of Rachel and the resentment felt toward her by her adopted children but it is not unusual for film versions to fail in this. All in all this is probably the worst of the new Marples that I have seen which is a shame as I like a lot of the actors in it. I would recommend The moving finger or The body in the library over this one.

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14 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Really rather good for a 'non Marple'

Author: Iain-215 from United Kingdom
5 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Having been scandalised by the McEwen 'Bertrams' I was pleasantly surprised by this adaptation of a non Marple book. We are now into Season 3 of this series and any Christie purists still watching at this stage should know exactly what to expect - Christie 'spinning in her grave' is a very over used phrase! There will be changes, not all of them good - there have been some real stinkers in the series but this is not one of them. I am not outraged by the insertion of Miss Marple so long as the overall result is still satisfactory and this time it is. Darker than some of its predecessors, this is a very good version with some fine performances. Its true that not many of the characters are very likable but actually the Argyle family were a rather tortured bunch in the novel too becoming more so after the revelation that it was not Jacko after all who killed the mother figure.

Juliet Stevenson is very fine as a hugely sympathetic Gwenda as is Alison Steadman as the perfect Kirsten (shame she didn't get her creepy lullaby to sing). The Argyle children are more of a mixed bag; the boys are ciphers, Tina and Hester are a bit dull but Lisa Stansfield is surprisingly good as Mary and Jane Seymour has fun with the stiff, unyielding Rachel at the beginning. I also thought Julian Rhind-Tutt captured the awkward academic Calgary very well.

There are some awkward changes to the plot and I agree with the earlier reviewer who points out the impossible time differences that ensue - not well thought out. The second murder is truly unexpected and shocking however and despite the changes I was happily engrossed throughout. If you can't take changes to the source material, do not watch - otherwise this is pretty good.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

I loved it!!

Author: calummccorquodale
5 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of the best episodes in my opinion and what's all this nonsense about the outcome not making sense? Made perfect sense to me....

7:50pm to 8:15pm - Jacko Argyle is hitching a lift 8:00 - Young boy sees Tina Argyle's bike outside Sunny Point She must have arrived just before 8 In the house, Kirsten kills Rachel at 8 Tina sticks around until 8:05 considering whether to cross At this time she sees a boat advancing but decides to leave (It must be her we see as the boat nears land in first scene 2 years previously) Kirsten leaves boat at 8:06 approx. and waits for Jacko to arrive At 8:15, Jacko is dropped off at pub and therefore provides himself with an alliby. He catches a lift back to Sunny Point. For this to work he must ensure he keeps his face hidden and is dropped off just a few minutes walk away He arrives at Sunny Point at 8:30 Money is exchanged before Jacko leaves and Kirsten returns to house Kirsten arrives back at 8:35 to change and return to find the body at 8:40. If this isn't the case and Jacko had somehow arrived earlier then Kirsten would have arrived back at the house much earlier than 8:40 (this is definitely the time she arrives) as she wanted to get back as soon as possible. Therefore these times must be correct.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Fairly intriguing though engagement is limited

Author: grantss from Sydney, Australia
10 July 2016

Miss Marple is visiting her friend Vera for her wedding. Gwenda is marrying Leo Argyle, whose wife Rachel was murdered two years previously. Their son Jacko was found guilty of her murder and executed. On the first night there, a stranger, Dr Arthur Calgary, arrives and informs everyone that Jacko was clearly innocent as he was giving him a lift in his car at the exact time of the murder. This news is not received well by the Argyle family.

Fairly intriguing though engagement is limited. Miss Marple is her usual bland self and there is nobody interesting to add colour. Dr Calgary was supposed to be the void-filler but he is too stammering and nerdy to be interesting. So don't expect any interesting side-plots (unlike many of the Miss Marple) episodes - just watch for the mystery.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A disappointment

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
4 June 2010

I liked the book, didn't love it, but it was interesting. But I was disappointed after seeing this adaptation of Ordeal by Innocence-I do think that Sittaford Mystery, By the Pricking of My Thumbs and Nemesis were worse out of this set of Marple adaptations, but this is a long way from being the best. It is lovingly filmed, with nice scenery, photography and costumes, and I liked the music. Also helping elevate are a stellar cast, Geraldine McEwan is above decent as Miss Marple, and Jane Seymour is suitably nasty as the victim, while Juliet Stevenson, Denis Lawson, Burn Gorman and especially Alison Steadman turn in great work. Lisa Stansfield is also surprisingly good. Plus the direction was okay. The rest of the acting is dull however, Tom Riley is one-note and Richard Armitage, normally good at being brooding, has little to do. Hester got on my nerves and Julian Rhind Tutt comes across as too awkward and heavy on nervous mannerisms, even for Calgary Also on the other hand, the adaptation is spoilt by poor pacing(the final solution is much too rushed and the middle really does plod), a weak script and a lack of coherence in the storytelling or suspense. Plus I was indifferent to the characters as some of them are so badly written, especially Bobby's and Hester's, in fact only Mary has any real sparkle. The build-up to Rachael's character was unconvincing, we know she is resented but it could have been much more strongly depicted with more focused writing. And people are right, it does deviate from the book, and I was expecting that, but Gwenda's murder especially I felt was unnecessary. Overall, disappointing but not absolutely unwatchable, thanks to the production values and the cast. 4/10 Bethany Cox

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Decent adaptation

Author: OrWright
30 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is mostly engaging, and I think they do a good job of including Miss Marple into a non-Marple story. Unlike some other movies in the series, the plot remains mostly logical without any unnecessary weird twists.

There are good performances by both the actress who played Gwenda and the actor who played Dr. Calgary. I found their sleuthing together under Miss Marple's guidance enjoyable to watch. They also did a good job of inventing the linking of Gwenda with Miss Marple. I was disappointed the writers felt the need to have that second murder, with excessive gore to a sympathetic character. I still don't see why the murderer felt the need to kill her. It turned the movie into a real downer for me. It would have worked better if Gwenda was thrown in jail and Miss Marple and Dr. Calgary became determined to prove her innocence.

But overall, I did enjoy the movie for Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple, and the more fun and light-hearted first half.

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22 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

A fine installment in the series.

Author: Paul Evans from Swansea, United Kingdom
5 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of the better pieces of TV drama I've seen, this I have to say is better then many of the previous Marple or recent Agatha Christie dramatisations. Almost on a par with the Joan Hickson productions. I really did enjoy this one, so I'd say sit back and enjoy, for all those who keep comparing Geraldine to Joan Don't watch them, leave the fans of the new versions to watch and enjoy without criticisms, they're great viewing. It's great that they're doing new things with the plots, we all know the books inside out, so something different is great! The book was of course adapted to accommodate Miss Marple and the writer did a great job, Miss Marple is given enough of a character and personality and role for it to have been written as a Miss Marple book. The performances of Jane Seymour and Dennis Lawson were fantastic in particular, cameos from Pippa Heywood and Camille Coduri were of course welcomed. All but cynical Chrsitie purists couldn't help but enjoy this whodunit meant as Christie's characters should have been bold and larger then life. Pour a large G and T sit back and enjoy..... I did :-) 9/10

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20 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

The Most Unengaging, Unsympathetic Group of Trolls Ever!

Author: ALS1 from Chicago, Illinois
4 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not only was this NOT originally a Miss Marple novel, it's populated with the most unsympathetic bunch of characters in the history of miscasting. There are scarcely any characters here that we can bring ourselves to care one whit about, and the only ones that elicit any sympathy are soon eliminated or defiled, in the new tradition of the current Christie "adaptors." There were some inspired bits of casting: Jane Seymour as the ill-fated, hard-as-nails matriarch; Alison Steadman as Kirsten, the faithful maid (Yes, Shirley Valentine's gal-pal is now playing a middle-aged Swedish maid!), and pop star Lisa Stansfield as Mary, the ONLY sympathetic offspring. She alone gives her role any gravitas at all; the other characters (particularly the female offspring) have clearly trained for their roles by watching crappy American reality TV shows. I particularly disliked Hester, a whiny daddy's girl who's revealed to have had a fling with sister Mary's husband--and still manages to treat HIM like the bad guy, as if it didn't take TWO to dance that tango. Father Leo is a fumbly, mumbly, mamby-pamby idiot with no spine who can't even bring himself to stand by his fiancé and show faith when doubt is cast on her. (Whoops, that was a spoiler. Oh well, there ain't much to spoil.) All in all, only Steadman and Stansfield (and, initially, Seymour) are worth watching. The rest fail miserably, and unfortunately, cause the story to collapse. Don't bother with this--read the book instead.

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

more holes than a swiss cheese

Author: blanche-2 from United States
7 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

These so-called Miss Marple mysteries are entertaining to a point, but when the writing is even sloppier than usual, it's a problem.

When the matriarch (Jane Seymour) of a large family is killed, suspicion falls on one of her children, Jacko, who a short time before was demanding money from her to pay his gambling debts and was turned down. He is arrested and executed for the crime. He claimed all along to have an alibi, a man with whom he hitched a ride at the time of the murder, but the driver was never found.

The scene switches to Miss Marple receiving a wedding invitation from Gwenda (Juliet Stephenson) who worked for Marple once and is marrying the widower -- she was originally his secretary. Marple goes to the wedding location and finds a happy family and a very happy Gwenda.

Suddenly, the scene is invaded by a scientist (Julian Rhind-Hutt) who has returned to the country, learned of the execution of Jacko two years earlier and is most distressed. He is Jacko's alibi but never knew what happened because he was working away from England.

Now the investigation is reopened, and everyone suspects everybody else. The wedding is postponed; Gwenda's fiancé is suspicious of her and asks her to move out. Another murder and another death follow. Miss Marple to the rescue.

This is apparently nothing like the book and this thing has a ton of plot holes in it. The second murder makes no sense, there was no reason for it as the murderer had already accomplished the goal of the person being vilified.

Going back to Jacko feeling that he was a dead man whether or not he was executed is ridiculous. He needed money from his mother. In the original theory of the crime, he killed his mother for money. Would he then not have paid off his creditors and would they therefore not have killed him? So how was he a dead man either way, if he actually killed her? Also the timing of Jacko's alibi doesn't make sense; he can't be in the car at 8 and then allegedly waiting for money at 8:15 near the house - how is that establishing an alibi? That means at 8 o'clock he wasn't far away enough to clear him of the murder anyway.

I could go on, but I won't bother. And let me for the record state that Leo, the groom, is a jerk for not standing behind his fiancé when the family thinks she did it.

I always had the picture of Miss Marple as a very sweet, nonthreatening old lady with a keen mind honed on observing people in St. Mary Mead. Geraldine McEwan comes off as a very smart, knowing woman. There's nothing sweet and innocuous about her. There was, however, something very innocuous about this film.

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