Murder at the Gallop (1963)
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Furthermore, Miss Rutherford is surrounded by some formidable British talent, such as Stringer Davis (his Mr. Stringer is always a delight), Robert Morley (blustery but fun), and most notably, FLORA ROBSON, remarkable as the timid companion of an elderly woman.
I've seen most of these Miss Marple mysteries from the 1960s, and this has got to be one of the best. It moves at a swift gallop (unlike some of the more tedious, slow-paced BBC versions), and the accent is on the humorous characterization that Rutherford is capable of. Purists may not think it serves Agatha Christie well, but taken on its own as a piece of comedy/mystery entertainment, it stands up well in that genre.
However, authenticity is not one of the reasons for seeing this series of films. Margaret Rutherford is a screen gem...working with her real life husband, Stringer Davis, as co-sleuth (his character never appeared in any of the Christie novels) they form a wonderful partnership. I only wish they had continued this series. 'Gallop' features some excellent supporting actors -- Flora Robson, Finlay Curie and especially Robert Morley. It's filmed in beautiful black and white which captures the early 1960's quite well.
For an entertaining evening of pure delight this is a mystery to cherish!
MURDER AT THE GALLOP with magnificent Dame Margaret Rutherford in the lead, provides yet new sensations, thrills, secrets to unveil and goose skin to experience. Along with its obvious echoes of the first part, MURDER AT THE GALLOP is an altogether haunting, mysterious and absorbing experience. In what way?
A BIT OF ITS STORYLINE: An old mansion of the Enderby family...a shocking thing happens as Miss Marple and Mr Stringer open the front door of the mansion. The old Enderby (played by iconic MGM actor Finlay Currie) hauntingly falls dead on the staircase. Heart attack or murder? Presumably frightened to death of cats, the former reason seems more likely to be adequate even for the police inspector Craddock (Charles Tingwell). But for Miss Marple, falsely perceived by the Inspector as a 'busybody' who merely has 'tittle tattle to convey,' that will never be a satisfactory conclusion. She is frightened to death of nothing. Having 'snooped' the family gathering of the Enderbys she overhears a significant statement (when Mr Stringer again gives her a 'leg up') and proceeds in order to trap the killer. Travelling by bikes is enough to do more than best investigators in limousines. With a little bit of cooking skills (note this aspect) and a little bit of determination, events unexpectedly prove that the law might sometimes have a long arm but, unfortunately, to the great surprise of those who doubt her, that never resembles Miss Marple's proceedings...
MADAME RUTHERFORD AND OTHER MAINSTAYS: Echoing the previous part aids seeing Madame Rutherford in this film because her already familiar style constitutes the very core of entertainment and thrill. Again with some witty moments and cutting remarks that add the spicy aspect to the whole movie, MURDER AT THE GALLOP is a sole entertainment. Margaret Rutherford is outstanding in the role and her moments include some of the quintessential parts of the entire success of the movie. She proves again that Marple is her name but marble her nature... As a creative and gifted performer from the very start, she proves to dominate our attention considerably. Thanks to her well crafted performance, again, thrill is combined with humor and cutting tongue with the most honest intentions. Among many of the brilliant scenes, a mention must be made of her dance with Mr Stringer when she deliberately falls ill and he, in a disguised manner, 'hots it up' as well as hilarious horse-riding with Mr Hector Eckerby (Robert Morley). As for other mainstays like Stringer Davis and Charles Tingwell, the memorable performances clearly echo MURDER SHE SAID and there is no need to outline their contribution again. Let me, however, highlight some important merits of the supporting cast here.
TWO SUPPORTING CAST: Within the peculiar dynasty of the Enderbys, truly sophisticated characters emerge. As a matter of fact, the supporting cast who appear to be outstanding in their parts are Flora Robson and Robert Morley. While Ms Robson portrays the strangely calm, oddly suspicious type who catches our attention finally, Mr Morley handles the very essence of the film's psychological and humorous aspect. As a serious buff of the old furniture, a man 'saddled' in old manners and strict in human relations, a funny horse-rider who is a rather sympathetic comedian type provides wit brilliantly. The scene with pulling of the boots, for instance, is hilarious. As he was a friend of Dame Margaret Rutherford in real life, their scenes are played with ease and humor. When the events turn more intense and murder at the gallop becomes reality, he changes into a decent observer.
THE FILM'S EFFECT: The unique atmosphere of the MGM sets, make-believe tricks of the genre, the undertones of images, growing tensions and Ron Goodwin's catchy music score are just some of the aspects that contribute clearly to its good reputation as a silver screen product of the time.
If you liked MURDER SHE SAID, you will surely enjoy MURDER AT THE GALLOP and follow the wonderful investigation of the Agatha Christie's character so memorably portrayed by Madame Rutherford. The law might have a long arm, indeed, but Miss Marple...never! As she does not agree to keep her saddle at the Enderbys when their case is complete, she leaves with Mr Stringer and makes us look forward to more thrill of the genre.
A must see for Agatha Christie's fans who are less strict with the screen adaptations than the author herself.
This is one of my 4 most favorite films Rutherford's timing and expressions are a joy to watch on screen!
This is the first movie I have seen in which the author of the book on which the film is based is discussed. This movie will not survive trenchant criticism--it is best viewed as a fun movie with loads of British humour.
What strikes you is that the film is really a women's film, with even Robert Morley having to take a back seat to Dame Margaret and Dame Flora Robson who steal the show.
Of the films in the series, 'Murder Ahoy' I thought was most charming because of the supporting cast and a stronger role for Mr Stringer. "Murder at the gallop" has a weaker story and screenplay in comparison. Yet all these Miss Marple films can be enjoyed by one and all, years after they were made.
Margaret Rutherford gives an excellent performance as Miss Marple and she is supported by Robert Morley, as the hotel owner and horse rider, who gives just as good a performance as Margaret Rutherford and Flora Robson as the spinster and companion of the dead woman.
She calls the police and later she reports to Inspector Craddock (Charles Tingwell) that Old Enderly was murdered. However he tells that the Death Certificate states the cause of his death as heart failure and Old Enderby had had a severe heart condition for many years. Miss Marple decides to investigate one of the heirs but she finds her dead in her house with her housemaid Miss Milchrest (Flora Robson). Then she lodges in The Gallop Hotel to investigate who might be the murderer. When her prime suspect is killed, she finds the reason why the assassin is killing the relatives of Old Enderby. Now Miss Marple plots a scheme to catch the killer.
"Murder at the Gallop" is another highly entertaining comedy and mystery with Miss Marple. There are delightful scenes, like Miss Marple telling the Inspector Craddock that he should read Agatha Christe, or Miss Marple dancing Twist with Mr. Stringer. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Sherlock de Saias" ("Sherlock in Skirts")
The success of MURDER SHE SAID (1962: see my review) lead to three sequels, which were very much in the same dated but engagingly tongue in cheek vein. The cast is exemplary with Robert Morley shining as the eccentric Hector, Flora Robson as Cora's seemingly timid companion Miss Milcrest while Robert Urquhart (Frankenstein's teacher Paul Krempe in Hammer's CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN) also scores in his part as the suave but shifty art-dealer George Crossfield. However, as always it is Margaret Rutherford who steals the picture as Miss Marple. Even though she's nothing like Agatha Christie's creation, she manages to make the role so convincingly her own as the sharp and eccentric spinster that it hardly mattered at all. Rutherford is both funny and a great character at the same time. This is the one that contains that classic scene in which Miss Marple does the twist in order to fake a heart attack so that she can lure the killer into a trap. George Pollock's direction is smooth and effortlessly meshes comedy with mystery and he is most ably assisted by the gorgeous black and white photography of Arthur Ibbetson, which gives the picture a touch of class while its genuinely sinister at the same time with its subtle use of shadow and composition. The film is based on the novel AFTER THE FUNERAL, in which the case was originally solved by Hercule Poirot! It looks as if soon that David Suchet will be filming a version of this book and it will be interesting to see how it differs from this production.
All in all, MURDER AT THE GALLOP emerges as one of the best films in MGM's quintet of Miss Marple whodunits.
Others have more than adequately provided a synopsis of this and the other trio of Marple movies in the series, so I won't re-till that ground. Suffice to say, if you haven't seen any of them, or you just want a good, light, engaging Brit whodunit then don't miss any of these wonderful confections. I've seen them all many times and yet every repeat showing finds me totally entertained by Dame Margaret, real life hubby Stringer Davis, Charles Tingwell, the excellent casts of supporting players and Ron Goodwin's superb scores. Indeed, they are still as much fun today as when first viewed in their initial theatrical runs back in the sixties.
The scriptwriter has even jokingly made Marple to specifically mention how great and useful Agatha Christie's books are when you are trying to solve a puzzling murder case by yourself. And what is she doing in the first shots during the title sequence? She goes around around collecting money for a reforming criminals assistance fund. A fine way to set the mood and the tongue in the right place for the rest of the movie. Later on she does twist on the dancing ball in order to fake a heart attack. Warmly recommended with a big smile to everyone.
This movie is typically British! The characters, the settings, the costumes, the dialog, the humor. Everything in the movie has British written all over it. It's delicious! It's an unwritten rule for the fans, that how Britisher the murder mystery, the better it is.
The movie is told with a large and typical amount of British humor. It makes the movie a fun one to watch, also thanks to the perfectly suiting musical score by Ron Goodwin. Due to the way the story is told, the whole plot line of who is the murderer becomes a bit muddled in and isn't the most interesting thing about the movie. It's way more interesting to think of WHY the murder(s) were committed rather then by who and how. This movie therefor isn't perhaps the best example of a good British whodunit movie but it's a fun and lighthearted one to watch nevertheless. So there are still plenty of reasons why one should watch this movie.
Margaret Rutherford is in her element as the old, nosy and clever lady Miss Marple. The movie is supported by a cast that perhaps is not the best example of the best actors around but it sorts of suits the movie fine. After all the actors serve their purpose and play the characters well enough without claiming too much attention or straining of the main story. After all this is a Miss Marple movie. The entire movie is build around her character and she is also the very reason why this movie is better than the average one.
A very fun and good movie, at least for the genre fans that is.
Certainly, the best of the quartet is Murder Most Foul, followed by Murder, She Said.
The essence of enjoying these films is to relax and appreciate the fine character acting which, with the black and white format, gently takes us down Nostalgia Avenue, when life in England seemed to be really idyllic.
The plots too, are easy to follow, giving the watcher plenty of time to look around the centre of the story - and into that carefree world of the early 1960's.
Oh! why couldn't they have made at least another 4?
"After The Funeral" features Hercule Poirot; "Murder At The Gallop" features Miss Marple. The story is basically the same in both book and film, and is a typical Christie whodunit. I think I prefer the book to the film, as the book has more suspects. The film has minimal suspense except near the end. And I find Robert Morley's performance to be slightly annoying.
Still, "Murder At The Gallop" is an OK whodunit for a rainy Sunday afternoon. The main attraction really is the wonderful Margaret Rutherford, who plays Miss Marple. With her feisty determination, this is really her show. To see a woman of 71 in an evening gown dancing The Twist is reason enough to watch.
Loosely based on a Poirot story 'After the Funeral, it's big and brassy, more fun then serious, but it genuinely works. It looks beautiful in black and white. The music is fun and seems to almost mirror Rutherford's personality, it's also loud and brisk, at times though it is a little over the top, a bit grindy.
Rutherford is just fabulous, she's so charismatic and humorous, she's a joy to watch, for me it's a shame only four films were made, a few more would have been great. Robert Morley is great fun as is Stringer Davies, but the star turn comes from Dame Flora Robson, so soft and delicate faced, she gives a fabulous performance as Miss Milchrest.
The best bit is definitely the ending, Miss Marple in an evening gown doing the twist, sent to bed, and confronted by the murderer, honestly it's just bliss.
I can imagine the die hard Christie fans being horrified at the thought of watching this, but it somehow goes beyond it. The humorous tone somehow allows the liberties. I must point out that Suchet's After the Funeral is a stunning production.
Take it for what it is, pure entertainment, huge amounts of fun. Possibly my favourite of her Miss Marple outings 10/10
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
Apart from the thinning out of the large and complicated family and the introduction of the riding element, the basic plot of the novel is pretty much intact although nothing like as intricate - the whole 'painting' thing really seems to come out of nowhere and delightful though Flora Robson is, I wish her character had been better developed. The supporting cast are pretty good, the theme tune is infectious and there are far worse ways to spend a couple of hours.
Miss Margaret Rutherford performs a fun , lively and Marple -despite his age- runs , ride ' bike ', riding, climbing and ...Dance! So she, and not the story, focus our attention, because we already know the history of other times but Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple skin never ceases to amaze. Margaret in the sixties , with 70 years, played in the film four times, all directed by George Pollock in them would be accompanied by her husband in real life Stringer Davis, called in the same way .
The plot is slight, trivial, it seems an excuse for this wonderful actress delight us with his great personality, everything runs linearly, while the climax do not move to any feeling . Recommended to those who like stories of Agatha Christie and see in action an immense actress
No disadvantages are found in the film. Everything is correct. Too much. Fortunately, Miss Marple or Miss Rutherford decides to break the rules and do pretty much what he pleases .
Where she goes undercover is a hotel/hunt club where all the members ride and hunt. So bringing her old side saddle, Rutherford goes undercover as a guest and gets a chance to observe all the heirs who are staying at the establishment. Robert Morley who owns the club in fact is one of the heirs.
This is the best of the four films that Margaret Rutherford did as Miss Marple. I haven't seen one of them as yet, but it will have to go some to beat this one. This is one stylish cast, how could it be otherwise with Robert Morley and Flora Robson who plays the companion to the murdered woman. Australian actor Charles Tingwell is around as the harassed Inspector Craddock who has learned to just go with the flow where Miss Marple is concerned.
The scenes with Margaret Rutherford and her real life husband Stringer Davis are always a delight and Davis has a bit more to do in this one than he usually has. Those scenes are one of the best assets this particular Marple film has. And you haven't lived until you've seen Rutherford and Davis doing the latest dance which at that time was the Twist.
A big old plug for Miss Marple's creator Agatha Christie is put into the film as Rutherford commends Tingwell and all police detectives to read more Christie as it will sharpen their skills. It couldn't hurt with some police I know. They and the rest of us would do well to watch this particular Christie mystery.
Aside from the actual solving of the mystery, the most impressive thing about the principals was how Miss M and assistant Stringer (Stringer Davis) got through all those athletically challenging scenes. Doing the twist at the dance party was one thing, but have you ever seen a seventy year old woman climbing up on a makeshift tangle of boxes atop a truck to spy through a third story window? It didn't appear they were using stunt doubles. And say, how did she stay on that bicycle?
Mixing equal part elements of mystery and humor, the story itself presents a fair number of murder suspects and it's share of red herrings. Robert Morley is a delight, and wonderfully balances comic timing with a stiff upper lip. It took me a while to finger Miss Milchrest (Flora Robson) as the murderer, my only clue being that she wasn't a family member that might have cashed in on the Enderby death. Nice twist there as well.
But for a real mystery, consider these - all that business about the plaster cast matching the boot stirrup mark really didn't have anything to do with solving the crime. So how did it show up in the first place at the Enderby house? As for the valuable painting at the center of the intrigue, when first introduced it appeared that the picture wasn't very large. However when Stringer sets off for London to have it appraised, it looked like it grew to twice the size. Hmm.
The central mystery was loosely adapted from Agatha Christie's novel "After the Funeral" (notably a Poirot story), but the bulk of the plot came from James P. Cavanagh, a writer of television thrillers. In this instalment, Miss Marple determines to investigate the suspicious passing of wealthy Scrooge Mr. Endeby (Finlay Currie), whom she believes was literally "frightened to death" by an impatient heir. With the loyal assistance of Mr. Stringer (Stringer Davis), and the occasional compliance of the increasingly-upstaged Inspector Craddock, Marple attempts to scrutinise everybody who stands to gain from Endeby's will, and, conveniently, they're all temporarily residing at the same place: the Gallows hotel, owned by Endeby's bumbling, horse-obsessed nephew (Robert Morley). The clues are all there for both Marple and the audience to decipher, but multiple red herrings are also thrown into the mix. Our suspicions are only further confused by the fact that that all the potential murderers appear to hate each other, and none are at all surprised nor saddened by the untimely deaths of their relatives.