Actors: Joan Hickson
Agatha Christie’s iconic character of Miss Marple has been played by many actresses, from Margaret Rutherford to Angela Landsbury with more adaptations inevitably on their way, but none are likely to surpass the success of the original interpretations by Joan Hickson in the 1980s and early 90s. Hickson was 78 when she was cast as Miss Marple in 1984, making her one of the oldest actresses to ever take a lead role in a television series. This collaboration resulted in twelve television film adaptations of Christie’s classic works starring Hickson, before her retirement eight years later.
As this set including four of the twelve TV films and is listed as Volume 1, we can assume that the remaining eight films will eventually be released in two more volumes. The strangest thing about the construction of this first release is the choice to release the films of the set in non-chronological order. I suppose it doesn’t matter much, however, as each narrative is a self-contained mystery taken from one of Christie’s novels. Fans of the writing will also find that these adaptations are by far the most faithful to the source material, even when this means lengthier running-times.
The highlight of this new release comes in the choice of formatting. Despite being made decades ago, these films profit from the restoration and remastering of the episodes for the high definition Blu-ray discs. Episodes include “The Murder at the Vicarage” (1986), “The Moving Finger” (1985), “The Body in the Library” (1984), and “A Murder is Announced” (1985). The Blu-ray release also comes with new special features, including the first of a three-part documentary chronicling the success of the murder mystery narrative in
. Great Britain
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10
Historical Significance: 8/10
Special Features: 6/10