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Miss Marple: The Moving Finger 

The normally friendly village of Lymston is plagued by vile anonymous letters. When a mother of three takes her own life, following such a letter, Ms. Marple is not at all convinced things are as they seem.
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1985  

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During a stay at one of London's most elegant and venerable hotels Miss Marple uncovers a sinister undercurrent of corruption and murder beneath Bertram's stuffy veneer.

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When Miss Marple is invited to the manor house of an old friend, it is not long before a puzzling murder puts her mind to work.

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A friend of Miss Marple's sees a woman being strangled in a passing train. When police cannot find a body and doubt the story, Miss Marple enlists professional housekeeper, Lucy Eyelesbarrow, to go undercover.

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At a reception for a fading film star making a screen comeback, a gushing, pushy fan is poisoned by a drink apparently meant for the actress.

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While on vacation at a resort hotel in the West Indies, Miss Marple correctly suspects that the apparently natural death of a retired British major is actually the work of a murderer planning yet another killing.

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Agatha Christie's Marple (2004–2013)
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An elderly spinster living in the village of St. Mary Mead, helps her friends and relatives solve mysterious murders.

Stars: Geraldine McEwan, Julia McKenzie, Stephen Churchett
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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Joan Hickson ...  Miss Marple 2 episodes, 1985
Michael Culver ...  Edward Symmington 2 episodes, 1985
Elizabeth Counsell ...  Angela Symmington 2 episodes, 1985
Deborah Appleby Deborah Appleby ...  Megan Hunter 2 episodes, 1985
Lucy Gleeson Lucy Gleeson ...  Robert Symmington 2 episodes, 1985
Stuart Mansfield Stuart Mansfield ...  James Symmington 2 episodes, 1985
Andrew Bicknell ...  Gerry Burton 2 episodes, 1985
Sabina Franklyn ...  Joanna Burton 2 episodes, 1985
Richard Pearson ...  Mr. Pye 2 episodes, 1985
Hilary Mason ...  Emily Barton 2 episodes, 1985
Dilys Hamlett ...  Maud Calthrop 2 episodes, 1985
John Arnatt ...  Rev. Guy Calthrop 2 episodes, 1985
Sandra Payne Sandra Payne ...  Eryl Griffith 2 episodes, 1985
Martin Fisk Martin Fisk ...  Owen Griffith 2 episodes, 1985
Penelope Lee Penelope Lee ...  Partridge 2 episodes, 1985
Juliet Waley Juliet Waley ...  Beatrice 2 episodes, 1985
Imogen Bickford-Smith Imogen Bickford-Smith ...  Elsie Holland 2 episodes, 1985
Gerald Sim Gerald Sim ...  Coroner 2 episodes, 1985
Geoffrey Davion Geoffrey Davion ...  Police Superintendent Nash 2 episodes, 1985
Ninka Scott Ninka Scott ...  Miss Ginch 2 episodes, 1985
Patsy Smart ...  Mrs. Cleat 2 episodes, 1985
Gordon Rollings ...  Mr. Cleat 2 episodes, 1985
Michael Waterman Michael Waterman ...  George Ellis 2 episodes, 1985
Roger Ostime Roger Ostime ...  Detective Inspector Crawford 2 episodes, 1985
Victor Maddern ...  P.C. Johnson 2 episodes, 1985
Catherine Owen Catherine Owen ...  Rose 2 episodes, 1985
Carol Gleeson Carol Gleeson ...  Contralto 2 episodes, 1985
John Keenan John Keenan ...  Pianist 2 episodes, 1985
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Storyline

Her old friend Maude Calthrop, wife of the village vicar, summons Miss Marple when several of the local residents receive a poison pen letter. All of the recipients thus far are men and all are accused of some act of moral turpitude. When the local solicitor's wife, Angela Symington, is found dead with a poison pen letter at her side, the coroner rules that she took her own life. Not surprisingly, Jane Marple disagrees and is convinced it was murder. When a second villager is killed, it appears Miss Marple is correct. She also deduces the real purpose of the letters. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA | Australia

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

21 February 1985 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Part 1 See more »

Filming Locations:

Hoxne, Suffolk, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (still photographs: of Gerry Burton's and Megan Hunter's trip to London)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie, based on a novel by Agatha Christie, was directed by Roy Boulting. His brother Peter Cotes (born Sydney Boulting) directed the original production of Christie's famous play "The Mousetrap" in 1952. See more »

Goofs

After Mr. Pye pours out sherry for his guests, the carafe is seen to be almost empty. On refilling their glasses a short while later the carafe appears half full. See more »

Quotes

Gerry Burton: [Trying to get a loose end cleared up] But WHY did she?
Superintendent Nash: Ask Miss Marple. She usually has the right answers.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Miss Marple: Nemesis (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Disappointing adaptation takes all the mystery out of the story.
28 May 2015 | by intriguementSee all my reviews

I love Agatha Christie. I've read most of her books several times, and "The Moving Finger" is one of my favorites. Each time I open it, I am captivated anew by the adorable English-village setting and the delightful relationship between witty Jerry and his spunky sister Joanna. As I continue reading, I am drawn in further by the rich cast of unique characters and a host of clues. Even though I know who committed the murder -- and it IS a bit obvious in retrospect -- I always enjoy trying to spot all the clues and remember how they fit together.

Unfortunately, this adaptation really doesn't live up to the book. To be blunt, it's boring.

First, I found the acting wooden. None of the characters seem to believe that they live in a village terrorized by anonymous letters and brutal murders. For example, at the end, the murderer's former employee/confidante explains that she needs to leave the village. Instead of seeming shocked and saddened, she positively beams! The placid music and bland lighting add to the absurdly calm atmosphere.

The book features two romances. In both cases, the man and woman start off friends, then have some misunderstandings. All four people experience painful self-discovery: For example, pampered city girl Joanna must decide if she has what it takes to be a rural doctor's assistant. Christie understands how to craft a believable (and interesting!) courtship story. In contrast, in the movie, both couples fall in love almost at first sight (although the understated acting does not convey a lot of passion), and both romances run a smooth, uneventful course.

Miss Marple actually plays a minor role in the book. However, the whole point of film adaptations is to bring beloved characters to life! Viewers want and expect to see Miss Marple blinking her china-blue eyes, fussing with her fluffy white knitting, and reminiscing about trivial events in her village 50 years ago. Sadly, in this adaptation, Miss Marple gets very little screen time, and her character is not developed beyond "old woman." I don't think this adaptation would inspire a new viewer to love Miss Marple and read more about her.

Finally, and most importantly, this adaptation eliminates most of the MYSTERY. Miss Marple's limited screen time allows her to mention the key points of the case, but not to display her deduction process. The script leaves out most of the clues from the book, so the viewer has no real chance to solve the puzzle. (And isn't that the fun of it?) When the solution is presented, there's no thrill of discovery. Miss Marple explains in about two lines because she has so few clues to fit together.

All in all, watching this adaptation felt like reading Cliffs Notes. I got the basic gist of the plot, but I missed out on the pleasure of the setting, characters, and mystery.


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