'Agatha Christie's Marple - Series 2'
(Geraldine McEwan, Julian Wadham, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / 2006 / Acorn Media)
Overview: The placid village of Lymstock seems the perfect place for Jerry Burton to recuperate from his accident under the care of his sister, Joanna. But soon a series of vicious poison-pen letters destroys the village's quiet charm, eventually causing one recipient to commit suicide. The vicar, the doctor, the servants - all are on the verge of accusing one another when help arrives from an unexpected quarter. The vicar's house-guest happens to be none other than Jane Marple.
DVD Verdict: Having been a fan of Agatha Christie from the sixties and a fan of Joan Hickson since her first episode as Miss Marple, I expected to find it hard to switch allegiances to Geraldine McEwan. But, as Anthony Andrews says in one of the many featurettes in this delightful second set, Christie has become a 'canon', open to the interpretation and the creativity of writers, directors and actors. McEwan (Marple) is wonderful. She brings energy and humor to the role, making Marple's all-knowing attitude one of wisdom and kindliness. I love revisiting my favorite British actors in the various roles (ala 'Murder She Wrote'). I am also glad this new production is branching out into new territory. "The Sittaford Mystery" was brilliantly done, lots of nice camera angles, spooky snow storm and Gothic darkness. I'm sure Christie would have loved it, even if they took liberties with the plot. "By the Pricking of My Thumbs" was also good (Tommy and Tuppence all grown up) and a good attempt at suspense here as well. The other two. . . well. "Sleeping Murder" makes the same mistake that often comes out of the fantasies of male writers - a beautiful woman will fall in love with a plain man with no money. That is certainly true in real life - in this production, it's hard to see the attraction and the story falls flat. "The Moving Finger" held no surprises - same as every other production, but the scenery and the houses were beautiful. It's a shame that Christie, who liked Marple so much better than Poirot, wrote fewer stories about her. I would like to see McEwan continue in this role for years and years and years. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Four episodes: Sleeping Murder, By the Pricking of My Thumbs, The Moving Finger, The Sittaford Mystery
Agatha Christie Bio