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Joan Hickson’s Miss Marple.

I’ve been working my way through all of the episodes and they haven’t dated at all. She really was perfect.

I expect I’ll make a start on Poirot when I’ve done with these.

by Anonymousreply 159October 14, 2021 4:12 AM

I concur and always enjoy these episodes. They're great stress relievers.

by Anonymousreply 1September 26, 2021 9:21 PM

Agreed. You get a sense why Agatha Christie was so disappointed with the Rutherford movies.

by Anonymousreply 2September 26, 2021 9:25 PM

Yes, R2. Is it true that she (AG) said that she hoped JH would play Marple one day? If so, it just adds to the authenticity.

by Anonymousreply 3September 26, 2021 9:41 PM

[quote] I concur and always enjoy these episodes. They're great stress relievers.

That's exactly what they are. Comfort watching. Despite the fact that Marple is not some sweet old lady but rather a very insightful smart cookie who understands that some people are just evil. She is kind and gracious but she is not a pushover.

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by Anonymousreply 4September 26, 2021 9:46 PM

I’ve just watched A Pocketful of Rye with a young Tom Wilkinson as the investigating police officer.

Handsome & quite hot.

by Anonymousreply 5September 26, 2021 9:52 PM

I can’t stand Joan Hickson as Marple. She was a fucking bore. Geraldine McEwen and Julia McKenzie were vastly more interesting. Hell, even fat old Margaret Rutherford was more interesting.

by Anonymousreply 6September 26, 2021 10:09 PM

Fun fact: Joan Hickson was the Ackenthorp housekeeper in the first Rutherford movie.

by Anonymousreply 7September 26, 2021 10:09 PM

[quote] s it true that she (AG) said that she hoped JH would play Marple one day?

Then again, Christie is also the one who titled her most famous book “Ten Little N*****s” so her judgment is suspect.

by Anonymousreply 8September 26, 2021 10:12 PM

Oh, fuck off R8. If you lack the intelligence to understand that life, attitudes and language was immensely different 100 years ago then you are not worth talking to. And you’re probably also R6, who has clearly never actually read the books.

Agatha Christie was, in fact, extremely progressive for the age, in a hundred different ways.

by Anonymousreply 9September 26, 2021 10:21 PM

Totally irrelevant, R8. Just totally irrelevant to her judgment.

The original title was based on a children's nursery rhyme and was essential to the plot. A framed copy of the old rhyme "Ten Little Ns" hangs in every guest's room, and on the dining room table sit ten figurines.

Each of the ten victims – eight guests plus the island's two caretakers – is killed in a manner which reflects one of the lines of the rhyme.

The original title of the mystery (Ten Little Nis) was changed because it was offensive in the United States and some other places. Alison Light, a literary critic and feminist scholar, opined that Christie's original title and the setting on "N Island" (later changed to "Indian Island" and "Soldier Island", variously) were integral to the work. These aspects of the novel, she argued, "could be relied upon automatically to conjure up a thrilling 'otherness', a place where revelations about the 'dark side' of the English would be appropriate." Unlike novels such as Heart of Darkness, "Christie's location is both more domesticated and privatized, taking for granted the construction of racial fears woven into psychic life as early as the nursery. If her story suggests how easy it is to play upon such fears, it is also a reminder of how intimately tied they are to sources of pleasure and enjoyment."

Funny that the thing that seems to bother people is the title rather than the fact that each of the victims has committed a terrible crime against others and that they are going to be killed in turn. The intricate way Christie has woven the nursery rhyme into the plot and atmosphere using evil and racism is lost on some.

by Anonymousreply 10September 26, 2021 10:29 PM

I'm with R6. I only like the Hickson Miss Marples when they pair her up with a grand character like Joan Greenwood.

by Anonymousreply 11September 26, 2021 10:33 PM

[quote] that each of the victims has committed a terrible crime against others and that they are going to be killed in turn.

But that’s in the Judge’s opinion. In at least one case (Vera Claythorne), the situation was complicated. The Judge is clearly insane, and refers to his own “bloodlust” in his explanatory note.

Christie was no paragon of progressiveness, either. In the introduction to the BBC Broadcast of the first version to use the original ending, they said “Christie’s work is not known for its racial sensitivity, and by modern standards her oeuvre is rife with casual Orientalism."

by Anonymousreply 12September 26, 2021 10:45 PM

It only took 8 replies to inject race into this thread….

by Anonymousreply 13September 26, 2021 10:48 PM

In any event, Christie’s heirs have permanently changed the title to “And Then There Were None.”

There will be no more reprints or adaptations using the original British title.

by Anonymousreply 14September 26, 2021 10:49 PM

Christie herself injects it with the casual racism that permeates many of her books.

by Anonymousreply 15September 26, 2021 10:49 PM

R12 For her time she was extremely progressive. The racism and xenophobia expressed were always from characters being held up for ridicule.

It’s extraordinary that people genuinely seem to think that unless a writer in history thinks exactly the way they do themselves in 2021 then they were not progressive.

How ignorant.

by Anonymousreply 16September 26, 2021 10:52 PM

[quote] The racism and xenophobia expressed were always from characters being held up for ridicule.

That’s completely untrue. Christie’s own native racism & xenophobia were evident whether she was applying it to a character or not. The only ignorance is your own.

by Anonymousreply 17September 26, 2021 10:55 PM

It’s not untrue, R17 - as you would know if you actuallu read the books rather than leaping on a narrative that you think highlights your own (imagined) moral superiority.

Now, fuck off and find somewhere else to virtue-signal, you irritating race-baiter.

by Anonymousreply 18September 27, 2021 12:15 AM

Much prefer Hickson to the appalling McEwan and the frog-faced McKenzie. McEwan's portrayal is parodic. McKenzie's is a softer version of the character. Hickson's portrayal captured Jane's essence: the desire for justice and the rendering of judgement. It rang true when in Nemesis, Hickson says of Jason Rafiel, "He knew I wouldn't flinch even if it meant sending his son to the gallows."

by Anonymousreply 19September 27, 2021 1:04 AM

Julia McKenzie is very good at playing Julia McKenzie.

She made eleven episodes of Marple and effectively killed the franchise (last one was 2013).

by Anonymousreply 20September 27, 2021 1:40 AM

^ I think her run ended because the TV rights had changed owners, I think to the BBC.

by Anonymousreply 21September 27, 2021 1:51 AM

It was made by an independent production company (most UK TV is).

It just wasn't getting a great critical response or good ratings.

by Anonymousreply 22September 27, 2021 1:57 AM

R8 Holier-Than-Thou, Trans-century, Cultural Relativist

by Anonymousreply 23September 27, 2021 1:57 AM

Julie McKenzie was like a cartoon version of Miss Marple. Geraldine McEwan was marginally better but her voice was annoying.

by Anonymousreply 24September 27, 2021 2:20 AM

[quote] frog-faced McKenzie.

I think you will find that most people begin to look like animals after they reach the age of 60.

[quote] McEwan's portrayal is parodic.

I wanted to like McEwan. People said she looked like an older Greer Garson. But I found her twitching tweeness very irritating.

by Anonymousreply 25September 27, 2021 2:23 AM

I loved Hickson's - hated McEwan's (but loved her in Mapp and Lucia).

Must admit I also loved Margaret Rutherford - such fun.

Never saw any others.

by Anonymousreply 26September 27, 2021 2:50 AM

R12, that's a good point. But I guess I'm trying to make the point that amidst the horrors of death and cruelty and even sorrow someone can only think of the "literal violence" of name calling.

Almost all races and ethnicities have been called names - horrible names. Even to this day. Most people don't make a federal case out of it. Literally.

by Anonymousreply 27September 27, 2021 2:59 AM

[quote] Christie herself injects it with the casual racism that permeates many of her books

Does this injection hurt you?

Are you suffering?

Do you need assistance?

by Anonymousreply 28September 27, 2021 3:03 AM

Irony Alert, r2: Joan Hickson played a servant in one of the Margaret Rutherford Marples, "Murder, She Said."

by Anonymousreply 29September 27, 2021 3:13 AM

Sorry, r7; I skipped ahead!

by Anonymousreply 30September 27, 2021 3:14 AM

[quote] a grand character like Joan Greenwood.

R11 Yes I enjoyed that episode ('At Bertram's Hotel') even though Joan had little to do (she died later that year). The killer was a much more flamboyant character.

I thought it interesting how they filmed it in studios and in a crowded corridor on location.

by Anonymousreply 31September 27, 2021 3:20 AM

I prefer Hickson by light-years to the others. My friend prefers MacKenzie, arguing that she has the best Marple "twinkle" and otherwise fits Christie's characterization the most. She's telling ME, who started reading AC almost 60 years ago, this twaddle!

I think my difficulty in accepting JM as Miss Marple lies in my seeing the actress all the time, the role-playing, the "not-real."

by Anonymousreply 32September 27, 2021 3:26 AM

R32 Seven years of seeing Julia McKenzie in fucking Fresh/French Fields fueled my hatred and probably me alcoholism in my late teens and early twenties.

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by Anonymousreply 33September 27, 2021 3:37 AM

Loved Joan Hickson as the perfect Marple. No one else has been worth a crap at the job. Rutherford was fun but had nothing to do with Marple.

Hickson appears briefly in the magnificent "A Child's Christmas in Wales" from 1987 with Denholm Elliott. She is one of the aunts who serve no purpose, shown through a window. Sipping tea, I think.

Christie was and wanted to remain the queen of her genre and a publishing giant. She hated any competition and would snipe and sneer in personal ways at other (women) mystery writers. She was nasty about Josephine Tey, especially, I believe because Tey had a reputation for being intelligent, serious and more realistic than Christie. At the same time, Christie made an effort to do low-end "social commentary, needling the upper classes and nobility as often as she did middle class and the underclass.

by Anonymousreply 34September 27, 2021 3:37 AM

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, dedicated to Margaret Rutherford.

by Anonymousreply 35September 27, 2021 3:42 AM

Joan Hickson is absolutely the best Marple from Christie. But Margaret Rutherford was her own character, and very successful. The later two are quite unsatisfactory, particularly GM.

by Anonymousreply 36September 27, 2021 3:44 AM

Jesus, they go overboard with the canned laughter in the clip r33 posted.


A woman looking at her own boobs or a falling souffle really isn't that hysterical.

by Anonymousreply 37September 27, 2021 3:56 AM

No mention of Elsa Lanchester?

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by Anonymousreply 38September 27, 2021 3:58 AM

[quote] The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, dedicated to Margaret Rutherford.

Yes, they became good friends but Christie was never a fan of the MR films. Which isn’t that surprising since they are hardly faithful to the source. But MR was supposed to be a lovely person.

by Anonymousreply 39September 27, 2021 4:29 AM

I love the music in the MR films. Not only in the opening scenes but throughout. It sometimes feels like a recitativo accompagnato.

by Anonymousreply 40September 27, 2021 8:54 AM

I just love the 1960s upbeat feel of the Rutherford Marple films - the bright colors and as you say, the great music, of the Elstree Studio productions of the time - it's like a step back into a wonderland of hope and change and joy yada yada. I clearly can't explain it - but I can feel it.

Now I'm off to look up recitativo accompagnato... I'm sure you've nailed it. And didn't she have the eldergay best friend who appeared with her in many (all?) of the pix? Just delicious. Maybe not what Agatha intended but Joan came along to address that... The MR films were still magic.

by Anonymousreply 41September 27, 2021 10:27 AM

When I was a kid I watched any and all shows on Mystery!, I absolutely loved them and couldn't wait for Thursday evenings, but I could not stand Joan Hickson's Miss Marple. The character's desire for justice came across as judgmental sniffiness. I haven't watched a Marple in decades, I should try again and see if I still dislike the character.

by Anonymousreply 42September 27, 2021 10:50 AM

I appreciate all of them and they are very different in not just the appearance. Hickson's take was the darkest of them all, I thought. I also think Hickson's take demanded more skills. Lots of silent acting.

by Anonymousreply 43September 27, 2021 11:41 AM

r26 I completely agree about McEwan in "Mapp & Lucia", born for the role.

Another vote for the seamless, understated and definitive performances of Joan Hickson as Miss Marple. Have seen many/most of the other incarnations and found them wanting, for various reasons. I'm sorry that Christie never wrote more Marples, and that Hickson left us too soon. Was she able to be in all the Marples?

I wonder what McKenzie and McEwan think of their own performances when put up against Hickson's?

by Anonymousreply 44September 27, 2021 12:12 PM

R44 To ask Geraldine McEwan you'd need a psychic, she's been dead since 2015.

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by Anonymousreply 45September 27, 2021 1:00 PM

R41 what i meant with recitativo acompagnato is that the music sometimes goes along with and actually leads the rhythm of the film. Especially the one shot ob the ship with that delightfully comical captain. There is even some sort of harpsichord... But the are all black and white, no?

by Anonymousreply 46September 27, 2021 1:22 PM

They are all black and white. None of the four were filmed in color.

I wonder how these movies came to happen. Did Christie just sell the rights without knowing that they can film whatever they wanted? There was also a Poirot movie filmed in the same manner with Tony Randall I believe. That movie was in color, and Rutherford had a cameo in it.

by Anonymousreply 47September 27, 2021 1:30 PM

Gee, r42, it's too bad Hickson's take displeased you. After all, she was soooo judgmental in wanting justice for murder victims.

You sound like you were a sociopathic child.

by Anonymousreply 48September 27, 2021 2:49 PM

R41, That "elderly best friend" was Stringer Davis, the RL husband of Margaret Rutherford.

by Anonymousreply 49September 27, 2021 2:53 PM

R44 [quote] Was she able to be in all the Marples?

She filmed all of the novels but none of the short stories, I believe.

by Anonymousreply 50September 27, 2021 3:01 PM

Stringer Davis was gay in RL.

by Anonymousreply 51September 27, 2021 6:56 PM

[quote] Stringer

An ugly name. It sounds shady and working class.

by Anonymousreply 52September 27, 2021 11:30 PM

You you prefer Mingus, R52?

by Anonymousreply 53September 27, 2021 11:50 PM

r52 Maybe he once worked for a newspaper?

by Anonymousreply 54September 27, 2021 11:57 PM

Don't they have "stringers' at Irish horse meetings? They hang around the stable and illegally pass on information to those betting?

by Anonymousreply 55September 28, 2021 12:07 AM

I only liked Geraldine McEwan's Miss Marple in "A Murder is Announced" but that might have more to do with Zoe Wanamaker's Letitia Blacklock, or that it's probably my favorite Miss Marple murder mystery (the version with Joan Hickson is equally good).

by Anonymousreply 56September 28, 2021 3:17 AM

Letitia Blacklock is supposed to satirise silly women and Zoe Wanamaker makes her so.

by Anonymousreply 57September 28, 2021 3:23 AM

Funny, Letitia Blacklock doesn’t come across as “silly” at all, not in the book, nor in the Hickson or McEwan versions. Zoe Wanamaker’s great skill in that role - Lettie is almost sympathetic at some points - doubtless led to her being cast as Ariadne Oliver in the Poirot films. Now that IS a silly woman / but a smart one, too.

by Anonymousreply 58September 28, 2021 3:57 AM

[quote] Letitia Blacklock is supposed to satirise silly women

Are you sure you’re not confusing characters?

Letitia Blacklock is incredibly intelligent & sensible. Not even remotely silly. A headmistress type.

Are you thinking of Ariadne Oliver…also played by Zoe Wanamaker? She’s silly & a bit annoying.

by Anonymousreply 59September 28, 2021 3:57 AM

Cross posted with R58.

by Anonymousreply 60September 28, 2021 3:59 AM

^ Yes I probably confused them.

by Anonymousreply 61September 28, 2021 4:49 AM

Oh yay, primtime is finally over, I've been wanting to contribute to this discussion :)

[quote]Agatha Christie was, in fact, extremely progressive for the age, in a hundred different ways.

I agree, there are so many ways you can see it, and it's really interesting to watch her over the years in this regard too. The characters may say things, of course, but that's not necessarily coming from [italic]her[/italic] voice. I was listening to the podcast "All About Agatha" just the other day and they were reading from her letters, where she talks about her frustration at editors trying to change her dialogue, because it takes away the voice of the character and makes everyone sound the same.

Christie often used the reader's expectations against them in so many ways. I think she used their prejudices against them too. But her murderers tended to be "upstanding" members of British society. The outsider was never really one of the guilty people. Also, read her autobiography and you see a lovely openness to the world.

Did she do it all perfectly? Not at all. But I think the intention was there. Look at Hickory Dickory Dock. People have a problem with the international cast there, but her intention was to show how people [italic]could[/italic] get along, how silly segregation is (two characters are clearly an argument against the segregation in American at the time), and how people from all over the world can have all the same foibles as each other. The worst behaving character in that book actually, apart from the criminals, is a priggish, judgmental, Christian, blonde and white girl.

Re: And Then There Were None, the racial aspect of it is actually really important as a literary theme. This woman below explains it in a really interesting way. If you have time, I highly recommend watching her argument.

Oh, and to get back on track, Hickson is my favourite Marple too. I agree with the poster above that A Murder is Announced is one of the better new Marples though. I love Zoe Wanamaker too.

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by Anonymousreply 62September 28, 2021 10:20 PM

^primEtime, even, whoops!

by Anonymousreply 63September 28, 2021 10:21 PM

I wonder if Zoe Wanamaker is a Communist like her father?

by Anonymousreply 64September 28, 2021 10:22 PM

R64 I'd be surprised if she was as she accepted a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) from the Queen in 2001, as did her Father in 1993.

Sam was never a committed Communist, pretty sure Zoe definitely isn't. Though as UK residents they'd have always had that option without fear of persecution.

by Anonymousreply 65September 28, 2021 11:32 PM

Then lovely Michael Redgrave declared he was "Red Hot Socialist" hanging around Anthony Blunt in his university days.

George Orwell placed him on a list of prominent people suspected of treason in the war years.

But of course he mellowed in this middle years and accepted being appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in '52 and knighted in '59.

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by Anonymousreply 66September 29, 2021 12:02 AM

But that was long before the Cold War (and even before people knew what Stalin had been up to - or Mao), so I'm not sure it had the taint yet. Didn't Princess Elizabeth make a Heil Hitler sign, all in good fun? And she's about 20 years younger than Redgrave.

by Anonymousreply 67September 29, 2021 12:29 AM

Fabulous post, R62. Thank you.

by Anonymousreply 68September 29, 2021 6:14 AM

No problem R68, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for your kind response :)

by Anonymousreply 69September 29, 2021 9:08 AM

Zoe Wanamaker is anything but a communist. All her causes are things like the environment and support for UK theatre. The one time she took a public stand politically was in support of Scotland staying in the UK.

She only became a British citizen in 2000. Her dad, of course, was American and her mom Canadian. They moved permanently to England because of her dad being blacklisted. Zoe was seven or eight at the time.

by Anonymousreply 70September 29, 2021 10:52 AM

R34, what are the basis for your comments re Christie wanting to reign, hating competition and her comments on Tey? I am really interested to know, as it go against my idea of her as reserved and self-deprecating…

R62, great post and i agree she is much more brilliant than she is given credit and progressive in someways.

That said, and re her racial comments and how they are put in the mouths of characters up to ridicule, i had more or less the same idea but just this week I reread one of her books where a young pair romantically involved, in their first date find their points of agreement “They disliked loud voices, noisy restaurants and n—-oes. They preferred buses to tubes”.

Though one of them actually turns out to be the murder, the other is innocent . The above passage does not seem to involve much, if any, criticism of the characters (though there is some irony). Though it is of its time, it is still a bit shocking and gratuitous.

by Anonymousreply 71September 29, 2021 4:27 PM

[quote] Though it is of its time

R71 Which time is it? Were you alive in those days?

by Anonymousreply 72September 29, 2021 10:11 PM

Yeah, that doesn't sound right to me either, R71. Having read up lots about Christie over the years, she definitely was reserved and self-deprecating. She spoke a lot about how much social anxiety she had - she was much better at putting her thoughts down in writing. She was supportive of other authors too in everything I read, and was one of the presidents of the Detective Club (a club made up of detective novel authors in the 1930s). I am pretty sure I read recently she was a fan of Ngaio Marsh.

by Anonymousreply 73September 29, 2021 10:19 PM

Oh and yes, R71, I remember that passage in that book. I don't like that book that much anyway, so I kinda don't think of it that much but that is a REALLY weird line that doesn't make you feel kindly towards the characters and makes you wonder what she was getting at with that too.

I will say I recently reread The Secret of Chimneys and found the racial stuff in that to be too much for me, it was so over the top I couldn't work out if she was parodying the upper classes or she using it "as is".

In many other works she is much better about this stuff.

by Anonymousreply 74September 29, 2021 10:32 PM

The person who was typing about the color Rutherford movies... was it a joke? Or confusion with other movies?

by Anonymousreply 75September 29, 2021 10:54 PM

That was me, R75, and I just mis-remembered. I think I was thinking of them being so jolly and I just pictured a bright sunlit village... oh I don't know. Just a brain fart. Sorry.

by Anonymousreply 76September 29, 2021 11:03 PM

R72 Have you never studied history? Read a book on the subject? No one needs to be alive during an era to know something about it.

R74 Yes, The Secret of Chimneys was one of her first and it’s very evident that her attitude & those of her characters do evolve over the years. By the mid-60s she was writing books like A Caribbean Mystery where Miss Marple goes to tea with an elderly black woman and they bond over their shared love of roses. The investigating officer is also black & no different in expertise and ability from any of the white officers over the years. Certainly less prickly and sneering than Slack.

But there is no question that in her early work the racism is real and discomfiting.

by Anonymousreply 77September 29, 2021 11:10 PM

Coloreds? There were coloreds in the Rutherford Marples? No wonder I hated them!

by Anonymousreply 78September 29, 2021 11:15 PM

My ideal Marple would find a middle ground between Hickson's reserve and McEwan's charm. Neither of them quite nailed the role IMHO.

Any love for June Whitfield in the radio plays?

by Anonymousreply 79September 29, 2021 11:20 PM

[quote] In many other works she is much better about this stuff.

I.e. Agatha Christie reaches your standards of acceptability.

by Anonymousreply 80September 29, 2021 11:24 PM

R76 There is a colorized version of 'Murder Ahoy'.

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by Anonymousreply 81September 30, 2021 1:22 AM

Joan Hickson the actress spent a lot of time around real British aristocratic upper-class types and knew how to act like them. The other two did not have those real-life experiences and consequently could only do a middle-class imitation at best. You see it A LOT on TV nowadays, actors in those situations, and oh god, they can't even pick up the right silverware or glass correctly if it's a dining room scene. Or the writers and/or directors make appalling goofs about service, etc.

by Anonymousreply 82September 30, 2021 1:40 AM

James Buckley Stringer Davis.

by Anonymousreply 83September 30, 2021 2:25 AM

Miss Marple upper class? Since when? Upper middle class, maybe. If she were Sam aristocratic upper class type she’d be living a lot better than she does.

by Anonymousreply 84September 30, 2021 2:30 AM

[quote] Joan Hickson the actress spent a lot of time around real British aristocratic upper-class types

Was she one of those loose actress-types that the minor aristocracy preyed upon? Just like they preyed upon the Coldstream Guards for random anonymous man-sex.

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by Anonymousreply 85September 30, 2021 2:33 AM

I would love to see what Gracie Fields did with Miss Marple. She played the part for Goodyear Playhouse in the mid 1950s. It was an adaptation of everyone’s fave, A Murder is Announced.

by Anonymousreply 86September 30, 2021 2:34 AM

Gracie Fields in A Murder is Announced. Jessica Tandy was Letitia Blacklock and Roger Moore was Patrick!

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by Anonymousreply 87September 30, 2021 2:39 AM

I would have defined Miss Marple as living in 'Genteel Poverty'.

She lives on some kind of inherited wealth but clearly not in the manner that she was accustomed to during her formative years.

by Anonymousreply 88September 30, 2021 2:41 AM

I have always depended on the kindness of nephews.

by Anonymousreply 89September 30, 2021 6:14 AM

I would like to see Timothy Spall play Margaret Rutherford play Miss Marple.

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by Anonymousreply 90September 30, 2021 6:22 AM

[quote] She lives on some kind of inherited wealth but clearly not in the manner that she was accustomed to during her formative years.

Wasn’t her father a country rector, or something? I agree with you, she lived on a modest inheritance - the classic maiden aunt type.

But she had a very comfortable old age as Jason Rafiel left her £20k for solving the murder of Verity Hunt.

by Anonymousreply 91September 30, 2021 6:35 AM

^ I just looked up how much that was worth. Nemesis was written in 1971 and £20k then is worth around £290k today.

That said….the JH episode of Nemesis was clearly set in the mid 50s going by the costumes and cars so that £20k would be worth @£540k.

So, Miss Marple certainly didn’t die in poverty.

by Anonymousreply 92September 30, 2021 6:41 AM

[quote] The Secret of Chimneys was one of her first … But there is no question that in her early work the racism is real and discomfiting

The Secret of Chimneys was written in 1925. The word "racism" had not been invented in 1925.

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by Anonymousreply 93September 30, 2021 7:11 AM


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by Anonymousreply 94September 30, 2021 7:15 AM

[quote] Oh right. Because there wasn’t a word for it, it didn’t exist.


by Anonymousreply 95September 30, 2021 7:20 AM

It's pointless imposing your personal morality onto dead people and scolding them for it.

It's the same as 19th century missionaries imposing their personal morality onto naked heathens.

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by Anonymousreply 96September 30, 2021 7:31 AM

Miss Marple is of the "Gentry" class...respectable folks that occupied a social position above the Middle Class and below the Aristrocracy and the backbone of Britain. The Gentry could be quite rich or not so rich as in Miss Marple's case but of good social standing. Marple seems to have come from a family that was ecclesiastical in nature...she had an uncle or grandfather who was a bishop or maybe a canon?

As for the Marples, I like aspects of all the major Marples...they each are interesting in their own way.

Oddly, my least favorite "major" Marple was Angela Lansbury. She didn't quite get it; she played the part like a Muppet version of Marple. Though, her version of "The Mirror Cracked" is probably the best, if not the starriest. The Hickson version was dreadful, the worst adaptation of all the Hickson episodes as well as the last one they filmed. It was poorly written and badly directed. The Julia McKenzie version isn't bad but lacked any ooomph.

The Rutherford films are fun but Margaret Rutherford was only good at playing "Margaret Rutherford, Scenery Chewer"....bless her heart.

by Anonymousreply 97September 30, 2021 7:41 AM

Yes, R96…which is exactly what I, and various others, have been saying on this very thread.

But human history has been racist, whether we had a word for it or not.

But I agree with you.

by Anonymousreply 98September 30, 2021 8:28 AM

[quote] Oddly, my least favorite "major" Marple was Angela Lansbury. She didn't quite get it; she played the part like a Muppet version of Marple. Though, her version of "The Mirror Cracked" is probably the best, if not the starriest. The Hickson version was dreadful, the worst adaptation of all the Hickson episodes as well as the last one they filmed. It was poorly written and badly directed.

In one of them, Angela Lansbury was smoking. Yes. Miss Marple…smoking!

I liked the JH “The Mirror Cracked” - although the stricken look of doom that the story revolves around was underwhelming.

by Anonymousreply 99September 30, 2021 8:32 AM

Yes, but Nemesis, published in 1971, was the next- to-last Marple novel (or actually, the very last written, since Sleeping Murder, the last one published, had been written three decades earlier). The events in Nemesis take place after the events in all the other Marples, so she wouldn’t have had her inheritance from Rafiel yet.

by Anonymousreply 100September 30, 2021 9:00 AM

But she got her inheritence from Rafiel at the end of Nemesis. I was just saying that her last years wouldn’t have been poverty stricken.

by Anonymousreply 101September 30, 2021 9:07 AM

[quote] I have always depended on the kindness of nephews.

If she owned her house, I would like her to consider a reverse mortgage.

by Anonymousreply 102September 30, 2021 12:22 PM

Here's a mystery: why is that people who are uncomfortable when the topic of racism is raised, proceed to perpetuate the discussion? Just move along, toots.

by Anonymousreply 103September 30, 2021 12:53 PM

^ It's because everybody loves to insist that only they are 100% right. And being against any type of discrimination is a very comfortable high horse to sit on. It's so easy to be aloof and look down on others from that position.

by Anonymousreply 104September 30, 2021 2:44 PM

I was referring to Joan Hickson the actress being around the upper class a lot. I do not know about her, but there were any number of actors/actresses that were attached, however peripherally, to what constituted the upper class. Scriptwriter Alfred Shaughnessey's step-dad was the equerry to the Prince of Wales, later to be King George what's-his-number.

Miss Marple the character is, as pointed out, upper-middle-class, but you have to remember that back then, money was not by any stretch of the imagination the main parameter for determining what class you were in.

As for her living standards, I know an elderly UK couple who are in(on?) the Sunday Times Rich List and the house they live in is modest. And they are both old money.

by Anonymousreply 105September 30, 2021 4:42 PM

Maybe Julian Ovenden should play Miss Marple.

by Anonymousreply 106September 30, 2021 4:59 PM

Miss Marple wasn't poor, she had a maid, but she didn't have money for expensive holidays or sexy clothes

by Anonymousreply 107September 30, 2021 8:35 PM

Regrettably she never presented hole.

by Anonymousreply 108September 30, 2021 8:37 PM

[quote] Though as UK residents they'd have always had that option without fear of persecution.

I remember when I moved to NY State at 18 and there on the state ballot were candidates for the Communist Party. As a younger and much more radical voter than I am now, I found that strangely very patriotic and democratic (with a small d). Not that they ever garnered many votes but it was a choice on an official ballot - this was late 60s, early 70s.

Just like I thought it was democratic and cute that a socialist was getting elected in Vermont. Yikes! What a dummy.

by Anonymousreply 109September 30, 2021 8:56 PM

Just stop it, R80. You don't know the values of people on an anonymous board. It's such a miserable thing to do to look for the worst in people all the time, and you're wrong, so what possible satisfaction can you get out of it?

What's fascinating about reading Christie over time is seeing the change - she was published for a long time. Her first book was written in 1916, her last in 1974. In some novels she handles things beautifully, in others there are some uncomfortable things. The way she talks about people in her autobiography though shows a real love for life, an interest in others, and a willingness to think and view things from different perspectives.

by Anonymousreply 110September 30, 2021 9:24 PM

Didn't she own shares in the St Mary Mead Knocking Shop?

by Anonymousreply 111September 30, 2021 9:37 PM

Apparently the knocking shop in St Mary Mead is above the fishmonger's where the maids go on their afternoon out.

by Anonymousreply 112September 30, 2021 9:47 PM

Miss Margaret Marple meets Tony Poirot.

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by Anonymousreply 113October 1, 2021 1:42 AM

Helen Hayes, also.

by Anonymousreply 114October 1, 2021 3:01 AM

Reading comprehension is overrated.

by Anonymousreply 115October 1, 2021 1:59 PM

I also enjoyed the Joan Hickson episodes, especially after they were remastered and re-released in mint condition

by Anonymousreply 116October 1, 2021 2:31 PM

What were they shot on?

by Anonymousreply 117October 1, 2021 2:33 PM

I believe it was 16 mm

by Anonymousreply 118October 1, 2021 2:39 PM

Joan Hickson's first role ever was in an Agatha Christie movie from 1934 I think: "Love from a Stranger", based on the story "Philomel Cottage". Her last role ever was also Christie.

by Anonymousreply 119October 1, 2021 3:29 PM

She ran the gamut.

by Anonymousreply 120October 1, 2021 3:31 PM

R84 - Just my opinion as follows

Miss Marple was a daughter from the higher-up level of landed gentry and could be considered non-title aristocratic. that faced the same financial challenges of all landed gentry after WWI. Hickson plays Marple as a financially challenge spinster with a servant. If you look at the Hickson Marple house, there are several very valuable pieces of furniture, well worn priceless antique rugs, irreplaceable china sets and one-of-a-kind porcelain figurines in Hickson's not-so-great Marple house. I am surmise that Marple inherited these valuable chattels from her parents. The bulk of her parents estate would have passed to eldest male heir which may have been a brother or a cousin as that is how it work in the UK. Hickson plays the part as a non-titled gentry aristocrat. Miss Marple in all the incarnations is a first name basis with and considered part of the family by several titled true aristocrat peers.

Geraldine McEwan's and Julia McKenzie's Marple have definitely been bump down further on the financial latter and do not play the character as coming any way being "aristocratic". Both McEwan's and McKenzie's Marple houses look as if they are sliding into gentile poverty: especially Julia McKenzie's Marple house.

by Anonymousreply 121October 1, 2021 3:56 PM

[Quote] sliding into gentile poverty

Can't relate.

by Anonymousreply 122October 1, 2021 4:01 PM

She owns a perfectly nice cottage. She went to Finishing School abroad (Italy?) with the sisters from "The Do It With Mirrors".

by Anonymousreply 123October 1, 2021 6:01 PM

R123 - I am not implying that Miss Marple's cottage is not nice. I would love to have any of the three Marple domiciles. What I am implying is that the Hickson Marple home, the McEwan Marple home and the McKenzie Marple home are all very different via the set designer's set decoration and each home conjures up a different view of what may be Miss Marple's past. Then again, I am looking at these things as Yank. However, there is no argument that Marple was from a high rung of society and had many if not every advantage in life growing up.

I loved Richard E. Grant playing Marple wealthy nephew in the McKenzie Marple Episode: "Nemesis".

by Anonymousreply 124October 1, 2021 6:36 PM

You're a Yank? Are you a Dreamer?

by Anonymousreply 125October 1, 2021 6:42 PM

R125 - Yes to the first questions.

What is a dreamer in the context of the second question you ask?

by Anonymousreply 126October 1, 2021 6:45 PM

No other actress is in the same class as Hickson as far as I'm concerned. Her Miss Marple will always be the one I compare others to. I've read the novels, too, and I've always felt Hickson got across Miss Marple's criminologist skills the best. She slowly put together the puzzle based on her observations on human nature extrapolated from village life. She would slowly and intuitively piece together the crime, then trap the criminal into a confession. I can watch the Hickson episodes over and over.

The McEwan and McKenzie portrayals just never clicked for me. One watch was enough and I don't feel compelled to go back.

by Anonymousreply 127October 1, 2021 7:00 PM

Well, your writing gives the impression that you're ESL.

[Quote] I am looking at these things as Yank.

[Quote] as that is how it work in the UK.

by Anonymousreply 128October 1, 2021 7:02 PM

I think the Hickson cottage was larger?

by Anonymousreply 129October 1, 2021 7:06 PM

R128 - Sometimes my fingers do not type as fast as my mind thinks.

I refer to myself as a Yank by habit because on another multi-national posting board/site I hang out on, everyone refers to their nationality by nickname.

by Anonymousreply 130October 1, 2021 7:35 PM

Miss Marple wasn't an aristocrat. She grew up in a "Close" which means her family would have been high up in the Church of England. As I said up higher, I believe she had a relative who was a Bishop or a Canon. She was a "gentlewoman" from a respectable social class...basically, the lower end of the landed gentry. She herself wasn't particularly well off, living off a small private income and enjoying treats from her successful author nephew Raymond and kind, better off friends.

We don't really have or had that kind of social class in the U.S. other than maybe "upper middle class" but if you called someone like Miss Marple "middle class" back in her era, she would have bristled a bit.

by Anonymousreply 131October 2, 2021 6:09 AM

Maybe I am stupid, but if money is not the marker of class, what it? Education? Proximity to power? What does Marple have that would put her above middle class.

by Anonymousreply 132October 2, 2021 2:27 PM

Breeding, R132.

by Anonymousreply 133October 2, 2021 2:52 PM

So people would value an unsuccessful person based on their DNA profile? I know that is the thing in romance novels and other fiction (like Christie's novels), but I am asking how it works in real life.

I wonder if the change in interpretation of the later Marples is because that "breeding" trope just is not believable anymore. I seriously doubt it ever was, and was just something like love at first sight or insatiable thirst for revenge---one of those things that makes a fiction more exciting but that is never found in real life.

by Anonymousreply 134October 2, 2021 2:59 PM

R134 One of the many quirks of the British class system is that it isn't based on wealth. A person who has the right background can be as poor as a church mouse but still be considered upper class.

Wealth can play a part, at least initially, because it facilitates access to the right schools and universities which then open the door into upper class society, but the first generation will still be seen as parvenus and most likely will be seen that way for quite a while (for example, the Middletons). It's only through constant association with the upper class over many generations that they're eventually accepted as upper class themselves, and when that happens, provided they remain in those circles, their financial status ceases to be an issue (for example the Fulfords, that Duke who lives in a terraced house, etc).

by Anonymousreply 135October 2, 2021 3:08 PM

R135 what you write is how it appears in British literature, but I am still unsure that it can be that way in real life. I read a lot of 19th and 20th century British literature but have never been there or know much about life there. (I am assuming when you say the Middletons you mean the family of Kate Middleton, but I do not know anything about them or who the Fulfords are.)

Actually, can you explain something you refer to that I have seen in some books. Houses with terraces are always considered undesirable. Why>? Are they considered too ostentatious? Or is it considered low-class to spend so much time outdoors? Or is it that it cuts down on space for gardens? This seems to be a very common feeling and surprising to Americans who consider outdoor living spaces to be very desirable.

by Anonymousreply 136October 2, 2021 4:44 PM

Margaret Rutherford had a very interesting life. There us a documentary on it in Netflix (or Amazon). She and her (gay) husband were taken advantage of by an early M2F, so DL catnip.

by Anonymousreply 137October 2, 2021 6:31 PM

I think we have a Boris in this thread.

by Anonymousreply 138October 2, 2021 6:38 PM

R135 You are absolutely correct on all points.

I live in the US and there's a family I know well that was already quite well-off in the late 1600's, some of them immigrated to the US, and then really took off in the business and are worth a absolute ton of money nowadays. Their client list would make your head spin- lots of heads-of-state, aristocracy, etc. A-list celebrity types (the few that can afford their stuff) are actually quite a ways down the list in pecking order. It is almost certainly a matter that they are able to interface with who they do because of the longevity of the family.

R136 A 'Terraced' house could have the tiniest yard you've ever seen. They would be best described as a suburban row house so some extent. Parts of the US would call them a 'side-by-side'.

by Anonymousreply 139October 2, 2021 6:54 PM

R139, I am ashamed that I never looked this up before. I thought "terraced" meant the house had a terrace--so I thought these houses were on larger than usual lots with room for a patio-terrace.

It never occurred to me that they meant something else

by Anonymousreply 140October 2, 2021 7:04 PM

Oh, god, relax, r133 and all. ‘Breeding’ is new money spent and none is left after some time. Otherwise you’d simply be called rich.

Returning to Miss Marple i agree that Joan Hickson was the best one. Miss Marple is ruthless and rather cold, she does not arrange romances, like Poirot, she does not twinkle and be uppity, like Geraldine McEwan and she does not do sad pudding face like Julia Mckenzie. Hickson is the best one, though some of the episodes are too faithful to the books and unimaginative. I particularly like McEwan’’s Murder is Announced and McKenzie’s The mirror cracked. Lindsay Duncan is the best Marina Gregg, and she had good competitors (Elizabeth Taylor, Claire Bloom). Patsy Stone helps.

by Anonymousreply 141October 2, 2021 10:16 PM

Joanna Lumley is a delight in those episodes and she doesn't even play Dolly Bantry as she is in the books (a great character in her own right). There's just something about Lumley that lights up the screen. I especially liked her in The Mirror Crack'd.

by Anonymousreply 142October 2, 2021 11:03 PM

R130, There's no need to rush here.

by Anonymousreply 143October 3, 2021 12:03 AM

I think Joan Hickson is best with Marple mannerisms and overall way of living: tidy; precise; everything in its place (such as knitting) after use; indeed, the perfect guest for Bertram's Hotel.

by Anonymousreply 144October 3, 2021 12:14 AM

Agatha Christie said that Miss Marple was mainly based on her Grandmother, her only living Grandmother at the time of her birth was Mary Ann (West) Boehmer who was married to Captain Frederick Boehmer who died in 1863.

There is a portrait of her in the National Trust collection.

Poor people didn't have portraits painted.

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by Anonymousreply 145October 3, 2021 12:51 AM

Frederick Boehmer (her Grandfather) is also in the collection.

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by Anonymousreply 146October 3, 2021 12:54 AM

There's a photo of the grandmother who inspired Miss Marple in Agatha Christie's autobiography... she wasn't based on Mary Ann Boehmer, she was based on her sister Margaret Miller, Christie's step-grandmother/aunt, the one she called "auntie-grannie".

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by Anonymousreply 147October 3, 2021 12:56 AM

As is her Mother Clarissa Margaret 'Clara' Boehmer, Mrs Frederick Miller (1855-1926).

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by Anonymousreply 148October 3, 2021 12:56 AM

R145 Again.

I forgot to add a source for my assertion that it was based on her Grandmother. The tapes recorded in the 1960's were rediscovered in 2008.

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by Anonymousreply 149October 3, 2021 1:23 AM

Yes, but her "auntie" step-grandmother, not her grandmother. She says this herself in her autobiography.

i.e. "[Miss Marple was] the sort of old lady who would have been rather like some of my step grandmother's Ealing cronies – old ladies whom I have met in so many villages where I have gone to stay as a girl."

by Anonymousreply 150October 3, 2021 1:27 AM

It was her step-grandmother who always believed the worst in people (and Agatha found almost spookily accurate in predictions she would make, like the story of the squirrel in the autobiography), and her step-grandmother's friends whose characters she also incorporated into the Marple character.

by Anonymousreply 151October 3, 2021 1:28 AM

[quote] the squirrel in the autobiography

What is that?

by Anonymousreply 152October 3, 2021 2:21 AM

She was very good

by Anonymousreply 153October 7, 2021 8:25 PM

With regards to Marple's background:

Miss Marple has never worked for her living and is of independent means, although she benefits in her old age from the financial support of her nephew Raymond. She is not from the aristocracy or landed gentry, but is quite at home among them and would probably have been happy to describe herself as "genteel" and a gentlewoman. Miss Marple may thus be considered a female version of that staple of British detective fiction, the gentleman detective. She demonstrates a remarkably thorough education, including some art courses that involved the study of human anatomy using human cadavers. In They Do It with Mirrors (1952), it is revealed that Miss Marple grew up in a cathedral close, and that she studied at an Italian finishing school with Americans Ruth Van Rydock (Joan Collins) and Caroline "Carrie" Louise Serrocold (Penelope Wilton).

by Anonymousreply 154October 11, 2021 5:56 PM

Penelope Wilton and Joan Collins aren't contemporaries.

by Anonymousreply 155October 11, 2021 6:02 PM

R155 - They played the parts in the Julie McKenzie version of "They Do It With Mirrors" which is my my favorite TV version of this Marple book.

by Anonymousreply 156October 11, 2021 7:04 PM

Her background is basically Agatha Christie's.

by Anonymousreply 157October 11, 2021 7:05 PM

Agatha Christie told close friends that while she admired Joan Hickson's talent, she couldn't stand her "pussy breath." Dame Aggie wasn't comfortable with Joan's lesbianism, although she had no problems with "boys with dick breath."

by Anonymousreply 158October 14, 2021 12:37 AM

Thank you, Darwin Porter

by Anonymousreply 159October 14, 2021 4:12 AM
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