(1997 TV movie version) A bit dated, but not bad. I enjoyed the funny bits. I appreciated seeing Jean Marsh again who I have not seen since I used to watch her as Rose in the "Upstairs, Downstairs" TV series.
The Agatha Christie novel was written in 1961 and no where do you find Jane Marple in it. Instead we see mystery novelist Adriadne Oliver who is a friend to Hercule Poirot and often assisted Poirot. Never heard of her until I started looking stuff up. On to "The Pale Horse" s a DVD. We have no less than two separate casts for The Pale Horse. In 1996 one rendition has the drab and draggy actor Colin Buchanan boring us through the entire episode. The next and far better one is produced in 2010 has Jane Marple played by Julia McKenzie (she replaced Geraldine McEwan in 2008 (another drag)). Frankly the entire plot line of The Pale Horse would be ridiculed if it were not from the pen from the world's best selling novelist. A Ponzi scheme over people's expiration date leading to murder after murder? I don't think so.
If you don't like to read or think much, you may like the 2010 version of The Pale Horse. It is set at least 10 years before Christie's story, re-writes 95% of it, moves the location to a dire, Fawlty Towers-like hotel, and shoehorns in Miss Marple, because franchise. Julia McKenzie is a good actress, but she's about as much like the elderly, seemingly wooly-headed, upper middle class English spinster as I am. Her Miss Marple actually IS wooly-headed, and bumbles around until the mystery is solved, mostly by accident. Strangely, the DVDs include a 1997 version, that is far better written, directed, and acted, and also faithful to the period and story. Colin Buchanan, Michael Byrne, and Andy Serkis are standouts. The contrast between the two is sad. 2010 version: *1/2. 1997 version: ****
Originally borrowed to see actor J.J. Feild in earlier performances (after his winningly restrained "Mr. Darcy"-like performance as Mr. Henry Nobley in "Austenland" (2013), opposite Keri Russell as Jane "Miss Erstwhile" Hayes.
It was a worthwhile performance by J.J. Feild ... esp. the ending. I watched it a couple more times, primarily watching his character -- looking for foreshadowing of the final outcome.
As a prior fan of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot character, & DCI Jane Tennison in "Prime Suspect", this "Miss Marple" episode was entertaining, but not compelling enough to watch the entire series.
Agree that it was good to see ANDY SERKIS (as a police Sgt.) in the earlier 1997-version (pre-Gollum character from "Lord of the Rings Trilogy" & "Hobbit" film fame) . Although this was not an award-winning performance, it was nice to see him without all the fancy costumes & special effects of the later Tolkein films.
The 1996 version is far the superior. And we get to see Any Serkis as he is, for once.
Excellent, a very believable Miss Marple.
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