Monday, April 4, 2011

Mystery Mondays: Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd


From DVD Corral

In honor of the legendary actress who passed away on March 23rd, I have decided that this will be Elizabeth Taylor week on my blog.  Ms. Taylor starred in the 1980 film version of the Agatha Christie novel, The Mirror Crack'd (originally published as The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side), featuring Miss Jane Marple.  She played the role of Marina Rudd (Marina Gregg in the novel), an aging screen legend who comes to Miss Marple's village of St. Mary Mead for the filming of a movie in which she stars as Mary Queen of Scots.  At a reception held by the film company for the villagers, however, a local woman and ardent Marina Rudd fan, Heather Badcock (Maureen Bennett), dies after drinking a poisoned cocktail that had originally been given to Marina.  Possible suspects include Jason Rudd (Rock Hudson), Marina's husband and director of the film, who was having an affair with a crew member, Ella Zielinski (Geraldine Chaplin), and Lola Brewster (Kim Novak), an actress who is married to the film's producer (Tony Curtis) and is a known rival of Marina Rudd.  It is up to Miss Marple (Angela Lansbury) to help her Scotland Yard nephew (Edward Fox) solve this puzzling murder.

I am a big fan of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple novels and short stories, and enjoyed the movie version of "The Mirror Crack'd" as well.  While this may not be one of Elizabeth Taylor's best movie roles, she is very effective as Marina the movie star.  The scenes between her character and Kim Novak's character are quite entertaining and definitely worth seeing.  The all-star cast is marvelous.  Angela Lansbury was only 54 when she played the role of the elderly Miss Marple, but pulled it off quite well.  Ms. Lansbury of course went on to portray another mature amateur detective, Jessica Fletcher, in her television series "Murder, She Wrote" (Angela Lansbury's current age is actually ideal for the original Agatha Christie version of Miss Marple).

Later this month I will continue with the Miss Marple theme and discuss the rest of Agatha Christie's works featuring this popular sleuth.

Interesting Fact: This novel is thought to be based on the real life tragedy of Gene Tierney.  Ms. Tierney was approached by a rubella-infected fan when she was pregnant, and subsequently gave birth to a brain-damaged baby.  Years later she found this out from the fan herself, who was unaware of the consequences of her actions.

Elizabeth Taylor as Marina Rudd (oh, those beautiful eyes!)
From cinema é magia

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