A friend of Miss Marple, Mrs Elspeth McGillicuddy, is traveling down to meet Miss Marple on the 4.50 from Paddington. On the way she witnesses a murder when her train draws alongside another train briefly traveling in the same direction. Mrs McGillicuddy reports her sighting to the Railway Police but no body is found. Miss Marple suspects that the body was thrown off the train near the grounds of Rutherford Hall. Miss Marple recruits the services of her niece, Lucy Eeylesbarrow (played by Amanda Holden), to infiltrate the staff at Rutherford Hall and investigate the large, wealthy and dysfunctional Crackenthorpe family whose ancestral home it is. She also gets the local police, in the form of Inspector Tom Campbell (John Hannah), involved.Written by
When this episode was originally broadcast in the U.K., it was done so using Dame Agatha Christie's original title of the novel that served as it's source material when published (except in the U.S.): "4:50 From Paddington". When this episode was broadcast in the U.S., the title of the episode was changed to "What Mrs McGillicuddy Saw!" since that was the title of the same novel when it was published in the U.S.. See more »
(around 9min) the newspaper has backward print. See more »
After watching all 8 episodes of the first two seasons of Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple I also found myself a little perplexed by the lightness of her character. It isn't that she isn't a deep person, not at all, but she plays Miss Marple as a more genteel and fading old lady than is indicated in the books. Joan Hickson's tougher, crustier version is perhaps a bit closer to the mark but I find her less interesting somehow than McEwan.
There seems to be a common message in all these episodes, at least the producers appear to have latched on to something. That is: don't kill love or you will die, one way or another.
I won't comment on all 8 episodes other than to say that they are all very well-produced and acted, with the kind of casting we will never see in the USA. I can't imagine American 'Stars' playing tiny one-scene, bit-parts like Steven Berkoff and Claire Bloom and other fine English theatrical legends do in this series. If you want to see how some of the great actors of the past 40 years have 'turned out' then don't miss this series. It is interesting and gratifying to see Rita Tushingham, Geraldine Chaplin, Anthony Andrews, Charles Dance, Leslie Phillips and (especially) Ken Russell once again on film. More recent leading actors from the 80s and 90s are also present, Greta Scacchi (looking jowly but still beautiful) and James Wilby, showing their ages with dignity, sans face-lifts in the British fashion of growing older with dignity.
In this version of '4:50 From Paddington' which I have only seen in the Margaret Rutherford bowdlerization from the 1960s, we are closer to the original story. As in all these episodes we are treated to some fine comedic touches. In this one, Rose Keegan almost steals the show in the tiny role of the lisping Lady Alice. I'd like to have seen more of her. The star names here, as in the other episodes, don't always have the most interesting parts. David Warner appears here as the head of a highly dysfunctional family and there really isn't too much he can do with the part, but he delivers some of his lines with acidic spitfire which helps to make him three dimensional in what could easily have been a one-note performance.
These shows are not Hitchcock but they're excellent TV fare and well worth watching if you are a Marple fan. Christie's stories are so universally known that adaptation in various ways cannot hurt them. It's good to see other 'takes' on them and with new people playing her famous characters.
Recommended unless you can't see anyone playing Marple except Joan Hickson. In that case don't waste your time.
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