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Agatha Christie's Marple: The Pale Horse

48 customer reviews

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(Jun 21, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

"Good fun" --The Mirror (U.K.)

As seen on the PBS Mystery! series

Miss Marple (Julia McKenzie, Cranford) receives a mysterious list of names from her friend Father Gorman, who sent it moments before he was brutally murdered on a London street. She soon discovers that people on the list are dying. A clue leads her to the Pale Horse Inn in Hampshire, a spooky establishment run by three modern-day witches. As she closes in on the truth, one of the guests is found dead in his bed, and Miss Marple learns that her own life may be in danger.

This "quintessential Agatha Christie murder mystery" (The Times, U.K.) features a star-studded cast including Oscar® nominee Pauline Collins (Shirley Valentine), Sarah Alexander (Coupling), JJ Feild (Northanger Abbey), and Bill Paterson (Traffik).

Product Details

  • Actors: Julia McKenzie, Nicholas Parsons, Lynda Baron
  • Directors: Andy Hay
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: June 21, 2011
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,534 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Dr Mike C on June 6, 2011
I know everyone will jump down my throat for this review, but I will still give it. Did I love the old Pale Horse? Yes. Do I love the new Pale Horse? Yes. Both versions are what you expect. The first one is the way that A&E used to do Agatha Christie; a lot of detail to the actual mystery, which I love. The new one is the way that ITV now does Agatha Christie; fun to watch, less attention to the details of the Christie plot. I love both approaches. I loved the Joan Hickson Marple, as well as the new incarnations.

So, what upsets me with this DVD set? It includes only one new movie, for a relatively huge price. The old version has been out for years, and I bought it years ago. Unfortunately, PBS refused to show the Pale Horse last year with the other Marple movies. So, this year, we only have one new Marple movie on Mystery. Because the movie can't be sold on DVD until it is shown on PBS, this set only has one new movie. Not wanting to sell a DVD with only one movie, the DVD set resurrects the old Pale Horse, which I do not need. From my point of view, I am being asked to pay $27 for a bundled package where I only want one movie.... PLEASE.

This isn't new. PBS has often delayed the release of mysteries for a year. For example, all of the mysteries in the upcoming Poirot's Movie Collection 6 were aired last year in the UK. They will air this year on PBS and sold on DVD in America this year. I didn't mind this because the DVD set includes 3 movies. The year before, Poirot's Movie Collection 5 included two movies, Third Girl and Appointment with Death, that aired in the UK the year before. Again, I didn't mind because I was being asked to purchase a DVD set of three movies.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Randall Schaefer on July 25, 2011
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British television has made The Pale Horse three times and this version is the most entertaining. The first two (1970s and 1990s)followed close to Agatha Christie's novel with the disadvantage of not being a Miss Marple vehicle. This version, and the entire Agahtha Christies's Marple series, does not let a little thing like that get in the way of a good story. Miss Marple is easily written into Agatha Christie's plot and, as long as the writers made such a huge change, why not make a few more smaller ones. The result is an Agatha Christie story line improved by writers who lovingly respect Christie and her Miss Marple character. The lead,Julia McKenzie, plays Miss Marple close to the style of the incomprable Joan Hickson of the 1980s series as opposed to Geraldine McEwan's more worldly and experienced Marple of the earlier movies in this latest series.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 6, 2011
ADAPTATIONS x2, so purists that do not accept changes from an author's novel will be disappointed. There are alterations for new generations, to fit TV feature-length presentations. These changes seem to work. Much fun in watching them both and trying to decide which version, 1996 or 2010, has the better cast, writing, location, music, etc. My review is for entertainment value of an adapted Agatha Christie story, "The Pale Horse", and not concerned with the TV requirement to eliminate characters, or parts to fit a TV need. The book has proven to be a 1961 success for the former author. It was written toward the end of her writing career and as a book has won its own reward.

PALE HORSE 2010 has what the other DVD and book does not have. Miss Jane Marple is not original, but added by screenplay writer Russell Lewis. This British Marple heroine is a TV favorite to A.Christie fans so it is a delight to see Marple (Julia McKenzie-`Cranford') brought to life solving another case, along with CI Lejeune (Neil Pearson-`Bridget Jones'). The Pale Horse is a struggling inn with 2 witch owners and 1 with cleaning lady. The 3 `modern' witches are Thyrza (Pauline Collins "Thomas & Sarah' `Upstairs Downstairs'); Sybil (Susan Lynch-`Amongst Women' `Elizabeth The Golden Age'); & Bella (Jenny Galloway). A very famous 1996 witch is Thyrza (Jean Marsh-`Upstairs Downstairs').

A lady dies; a priest has a list of names (7 in 2010, 6 in 1996) which gets him murdered. Marple gets mailed one list. In 1996, a passerby, Easterbrook (Colin Buchanan-`Dalziel & Pascoe') gets the murderer tag and must use the list to find the real killer. Easterbrook is the godson of one on the list in 2010.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Disappointed Dad on July 14, 2011
Take a story, not involving Miss Marple, about a murder gimmic, about "betting" on someone's death, and profiting when it occurs, and add Miss Marple. What do you get? First reaction - a travesty. HOWEVER, what you actually get is a really enjoyable show! You end up with a compelling story, and one with a punch. I will be buying this dvd, and will enjoy it many times to come. Great job. Fun, and all that stuff.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Keefer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 20, 2012
If Agatha Christie defines mysteries for you as she does for me, any film that brings her mysteries to life are appealing. I love to see her work transposed to film.

This is the first Miss Marple mystery I have seen with Julia McKenzie playing the divine Miss M. and I loved her as Miss Marple. A mystery writer once said--it could have been Agatha--that she purposely didn't go into much physical description of her detective as she wanted the reader to imagine them the way they came across to the reader. So, as long as Miss Marple has gray hair, sensible clothes, and a discerning visage, I'm happy.

Although I think I read THE PALE HORSE as a teenager, I didn't remember the plot so didn't mind any divergence from the book. Loved the Pale Horse Inn--the architecture and quintessential English decor--and the plot was quite original. The village of Deepling was charming as well.

The characters seemed a bit of stock characters, but again, don't mind those in Dame Agatha's all in all this is a fun escape to an English Inn in a charming village with an insightful detective and some entertaining and colorful characters. If you like Miss Marple mysteries, you should enjoy this enactment of one.
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Agatha Christie's Marple: The Pale Horse
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