While visiting her friend Marjorie Attfield, Miss Marple learns that her son Bobby had recently found a body, identified as a Mr. Pritchard, on the cliff side. He's received a letter asking him to appear at the enquiry but it seems to be a wild goose chase meant to keep him away from the real enquiry taking place elsewhere. Now accompanied by a friend, Frankie Derwent, they trace the dead man to nearby Castle Savage, home to a dysfunctional family with great deal of money. The family patriarch, Jack Savage, had died not long ago and the dead man had some connection to the Savages. But what is the key to solving the mystery of Pritchard's last words to Bobby as he lay dying: "Why didn't they ask Evans?". Written by
Not all the recent Marple adaptations are bad or disappointing, Pocket Full of Rye, The Blue Geranium and The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side(I'd go further to say this one especially was the best version of the book) were excellent and Murder is Announced and Moving Finger were surprisingly good too. Why Didn't They Ask Evans? is not as bad as Nemesis, Sittaford Mystery and At Betram's Hotel, but for me it is one of the dullest and more disappointing entries to the series.
Is it bad as an adaptation? Yes it is really. The book was a compelling enough read without being definitive, the story and characters were interesting in the book, but the adaptation does a lot of alterations in the sense that the plot is one big rambling, illogical mess with a very unsatisfying and somewhat convoluted conclusion and the characters(more cardboard cut-outs than characters) I felt nothing for. The pacing is also very sluggish and the dialogue is weak, some of it is among the weakest I've heard in a Christie adaptation actually.
When it comes to the acting, only Julia McKenzie stands out properly. She is terrific as Miss Marple, with a wisdom and charm that makes you warm to her immediately. Georgia Moffett is decent too as is Sean Biggerstaff, but actors such as Richard Briers are given next to nothing to work with which is shameful in my opinion and this is one of those rarities where I didn't like Samantha Bond or Warren Clarke either. Bond has a very uninteresting character with some poor dialogue and she manages to be both flaccid and shrill at the same time. Clarke suffers from pretty much the same problems, and his shouting did get tiresome after a while. The worst of the performances comes from Freddie Fox who is really quite awful.
Despite all these outweighing criticisms, there is some good, aside from McKenzie. The production values are wonderful, with great photography and beautiful and authentic scenery and costumes. The music is both beautiful and haunting, and the direction also has flashes of brilliance. But really, this could and should have been much better than it was. 4/10 Bethany Cox
6 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?