Hercule Poirot attends a dinner party in which one of the guests clutches his throat and suddenly dies. The cause seems to be natural until another party with most of the same guests produces another corpse.
An American movie actress, best known for playing dumb blondes, is Scotland Yard's prime suspect when her husband, Lord Edgware, is murdered. The great detective, Hercule Poirot, digs deeper into the case.
The year is 1953. The small English village of St. Mary Mead, home to Miss Jane Marple, is delighted when a big American movie company arrives to make a movie telling of the relationship between Jane Grey and Elisabeth I, starring the famous actresses Marina Rudd and Lola Brewster. Marina arrives with her husband, Jason, and when she discovers that Lola is going to be in the movie with her she hits the roof as Lola and Marina loathe each other on sight. Marina has been getting death threats and at a party at the manor house, Heather Babcock, after boring Marina with a long story, drinks a cocktail made for Marina and dies from poisoning. Everybody believes that Marina is the target but the police officer investigating the case, Inspector Craddock isn't sure so he asks Miss Marple, his aunt, to investigate...Written by
Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>
Highly underrated, this low-key little whodunit manages to bring together two unlikely genres, the English village murder mystery and the catty Hollywood self-satire. While who did do it is not that surprising, the reason why is clever and touching. (Interestingly, the central plot is loosely based on the real-life tragedy that befell Gene Tierney, star of the legendary film noir "Laura.")
The cast of 50's Hollywood icons give very good performances, though, sadly, for most it represents the last really good parts they have had. Hudson is especially good in a bittersweet role. Lansbury is crisp and efficient as Miss Marple and could have made a series of these films had she not found meatier material as another mistress of murder on "Murder, She Wrote."
Indeed, though I adore Margaret Rutherford, I think Lansbury does better by the role of Miss Marple. This is not a great mystery movie, but works very well as light entertainment and as a last hurrah for several fine actors.
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