Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Mirror Crack'd

After reading The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, I decided to watch the movie.  Released in 1980, The Mirror Crack'd appeared between two Poirot adaptations (and two of my favorite movies), Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun.  The Mirror Crack'd isn't quite in the same league.  It's entertaining, but plays a bit like an episode of Colombo.  We see a murder, a roster of suspects, familiar faces in typecast roles, and the underestimated detective solves the crime in under two hours with a slightly intrusive soundtrack which brings smooth jazz to a mid-20th Century English village.  It's no a bad movie, just a bit forgettable.

There are a few highlights.  I particularly liked Angela Lansbury's performance, which was pricklier than how Miss Marple usually appears on screen, and she mostly compensated for the fact that she was at least 20 years too young for the part.  The movie also added some back-stage scenes to Marina's movie, and some sniping between Marina and co-star/rival Lola Brewster.  Kim Novak, as Lola, and Tony Curtis, as producer Marty Fenn, chewed just enough scenery to be entertaining, and Elizabeth Taylor played Marina as a desperate woman who still knows how to manipulate an audience.  I also like Edward Fox's movie-fan Inspector Craddock, and the script is surprisingly faithful to the book.  Still, it's a bit too neat, even for a comfortable Christie.  Fun, but forgettable.

If you do watch, take a close look at the young man playing Lord Darnley to Marina Gregg's Mary Stuart.  Under that unfortunate hairstyle and costume is a future James Bond - Pierce Brosnan in one of his earliest roles.

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