When a wealthy recluse is found dead the coroner determines it was natural causes, but geriatric super sleuth Jane Marple (Margaret Rutherford, bless her) believes otherwise. With only a piece of dried mud for a clue and a cast of the dead man’s eccentric relatives to sift through, Marple will leap upon a horse (side-saddle of course), get freaky on the dance floor, and scale a cartload of beer barrels before finally wheezing out the culprit’s name—but not before the audience has already guessed it. A quaint bit of movie nostalgia lovingly filmed in B&W and featuring a bouncy musical score. Robert Morley and Flora Robson co-star as a pretentious nephew and mousy housekeeper respectively.
Margaret Rutherford was a most improbable movie star, and movie-lovers (particularly of the classic mystery genre) are all the better for it. She was delightfully British, highly intelligent, wickedly funny and about as far from what they used to call comely as it was possible to get, even in her younger days. In fact Rutherford's plain-Jane washerwoman looks were an undeniable part of her appeal; she even won over author Agatha Christie, who was initially opposed to her casting as Miss Marple but changed her mind after seeing Rutherford's performance.
These older ones with Margaret Rutherford are wonderful. A commentary of a simpler time, they are truly fine examples of the British 'cozy' mystery.
Margaret Rutherford, 1892 to 1972, was undoubtedly the best Miss Marple the screen ever presented. Rutherford had 4 outings but I wish it had been 40 of them. What energy! Murder at the Gallop has a kind of clarity that I really enjoyed. Good background music and makes murder sort of tolerable. All the character are well delineated. Sadly Rutherford contracted Alzheimer's disease at the end of her life. She was well respected by the British cream of the crop actors.
I really like this particular Miss Marple series. It is wonderful to have a older woman as a main character who is played with such strength, intelligence and confidence.
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