Preview. As always, costumes are delicious, sets lavish - from 1933 India to 15 years later in Dover - plus a vaudeville singing act in full voice. Bright red lipstick, glossy hair waves, and vivid sharp colors inside and out, entertain eye and ear. Unraveling the problem when one already has seen the answer still captures the imagination and intellect.
In a magnificent Hillside mansion that Gwenda Halliday (Sophia Myles) age 21 chooses by "instinct", the pretty blonde from India uncovers a door blocked, wallpaper of "poppies and cornflower" in the planned nursery, and envisions strangled "Helen" at the foot of the stairs. Her busy London fiance's bespectacled assistant Hugh Hornbeam (Aidan McArdle) calls soft-spoken white-haired Miss Marple (Geraldine McEwan) to uncover secrets meant to protect. Marple recruits nearly-retired Dilmouth Chief Inspector Primer (Russ Abbot), and contacts police in India. Former housemaid Lily takes the train in to say her part, suffering the worst of consequences. Finally all the suspects gather for the revelation. (Rated 4* instead of 5* because of the original plot dependence on coincidence and guessing, not the film or acting quality.)
Gwenda's maternal uncle Doctor Kennedy (Phil Davis) presents evidence from a tragic history: a photo from Funnybones vaudeville troupe (including Dawn French as Mrs Erskine) actress Helen shares handwriting on a farewell dear-Kelvin postcard. Gwenda's mother Claire (Anna-Louise Plowman - Sarah/Osiris in Stargate SG-1) did not die in a car accident, but really became Helen Marsden to flee police. Her father Kelvin (Julian Wadham) came back to Hillside, but fell off the Dover cliff days after his new fiancee Helen vanished. Claire ran away to escape her too loving brother, but he, jealous and angry, killed the happy couple.
1 Behind the Scenes - Interview clips with McEwan and others about Marple's character, one other mystery, mostly highlights that retell this story.
2 Agatha Christie Bio - 6 screens - "over a billion copies in English .. another billion in 44 languages .. outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare .. last published novel "Sleeping Murder 1976 .. first Miss Marple Murder at the Vicarage 1930 List - finger43
3 Photo Gallery - 15 posed stills in costume
4 Cast Filmographies - 1-4 screens work for 8: McEwan, Myles - Dr Who 10 "Girl in the Fireplace" Marie Antoinette, Aiden McArdle, Geraldine Chaplin, Philip Davis, Dawn French, Paul McGann - Dr Who #8 1996, Julian Wadham - English Patient 1996