Agatha Christie's Marple: Season 5, Episode 4

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side (23 May 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 380 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

A troubled Hollywood actress and her director husband move to St. Mary Mead, but their arrival becomes clouded in tragedy when an ardent fan is fatally poisoned during a garden fête.

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Gene Goodman ...
Isabella Parriss ...
Marie Thérèse
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French Officer (as Jonathan Coyne)
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Nigel Harman ...
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Hailey Preston
Caroline Quentin ...
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Vincent Hogg
Hannah Waddingham ...
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Michele Dotrice ...
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Hollywood star Marina Gregg leaves Los Angeles for the picturesque countryside of St Mary Mead. Having taken up residence at Gossington Hall with her dashing young English husband, film director Jason Rudd, his secretary, Ella Blunt and Marina's exclusive personal assistant, Hailey Preston, it's not long before she becomes lady of the manor. When the glamorous couple decide to throw a benefit for the St John Ambulance, the grounds are abuzz with curious locals including previous owner of Gossington Hall, Dolly Bantry. But when a local fan, Heather Badcock consumes a poisoned daiquiri, Marina finds herself starring in a real-life mystery - supported by Miss Marple and Inspector Hewitt, who suspect that the lethal cocktail was intended for someone else. But who? If it was meant for Marina, then why? Written by shanty_sleuth

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Crime | Drama

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23 May 2010 (USA)  »

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One of the best of the series
3 January 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The book is not Agatha Christie's best, but it was very good and interesting. Likewise with the Joan Hickson adaptation, and the Angela Lansbury film was flawed but enjoyable. When I heard about this version, I was curious in both a good and bad way. Part of me was looking forward to it, seeing as how superb The Blue Geranium was, something that felt like Agatha Christie and had a great tone to it that was missing I think. But part of me was worried, I was hoping it wouldn't be another Sittaford Mystery or At Bertram's Hotel, in short an adaptation that not only was a complete disrespect in detail and spirit to the Queen of Crime but also on its own terms.

After seeing it, I needn't have worried. The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side is one of the better entries of the series, and I also think it is the best adaptation of the book. In fact it is almost perfect, though I think the second murder could have been more drawn out than it was and the story of the photographer could have done with more development.

That said, the adaptation succeeds as an adaptation. The story is wonderful and compelling. Also, it felt like Agatha Christie, the tone was tense when it needed to be, the memorable characters were there and just as interesting and her style was there. While there are some changes, the backbone is still intact, in fact in comparison this is one of the more faithful Marple adaptations. The script does do justice to the book, there are the red herrings and the charming and witty dialogue that makes her work furthermore engrossing.

The adaptation also succeeds on its own terms. The pacing is bright and breezy, while the final scene is quite poignant. The production values are superb, I loved everything about how the adaptation looked, from the way it was shot to the house itself. The music is lovely, some of it is beautiful(the final scene) while some of it is intense and haunting(the scene on the film set about half way through). As always, the cast are impeccable, Julia McKenzie is terrific while Joanna Lumley seems to be thoroughly enjoying herself. Hugh Bonneville at the moment seems to be one of the busiest men on television, and he is interesting, and Nigel Harmon is a nice addition. I also loved Caroline Quentin here, her character is tiresome but Quentin is great, plus this is the best developed Heather Badcock I've seen. The real revelation though is Lindsay Duncan as Marina, she is brilliant and by far and large the best Marina Gregg I know of. Not only in the delivery of the lines, the voice and the gestures but especially her look of what seemed like a combination of guilt and sadness.

All in all, a wonderful adaptation and one of the best. 9/10 Bethany Cox


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