Agatha Christie's Marple 6 Seasons 2008

Amazon Instant Video

Season 4
(279) IMDb 7.3/10

1. A Pocket Full of Rye TV-NR CC

Who poisoned wealthy businessman Rex Fortescue? Miss Marple barely has time to ponder this question before her former maid Gladys turns up strangled on the Fortescue estate, a clothes peg stuck on her nose. The murders seem to bear an uncanny resemblance to a child's nursery rhyme. Miss Marple and Inspector Neele uncover clues from the dead man's shadowy past that may reveal a method to the madness.

Starring:
Julia McKenzie, Rose Heiney
Runtime:
1 hour 33 minutes
Original air date:
January 1, 2008

A Pocket Full of Rye

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Charlie Palmer
Starring Julia McKenzie, Rose Heiney
Supporting actors Laura Haddock, Kenneth Cranham, Thea Collings, Lucy Cohu, Rupert Graves, Matthew Macfadyen, Edward Tudor-Pole, Ralf Little, Helen Baxendale, Ken Campbell, Anna Madeley, Joseph Beattie, Wendy Richard, Ben Miles, Liz White, Hattie Morahan, Paul Brooke, Chris Larkin
Season year 2008
Network Acorn Media
Producers Michele Buck, Phil Clymer, Rebecca Eaton, Matthew Hamilton, Gabriel Silver, Karen Thrussell, Damien Timmer
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Good story and well acted.
Mark
We like the period, the characters, and the mysteries that are never easy to solve.
Peter J. Schulte
I felt like screaming "Okay, we get it... she's listening!"
Barbara B.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Series 4 of the controversial "Marple" series from Granada/ITV brings us a new Miss Marple, reconceived from the previous seasons, now played by Julia McKenzie. McKenzie's Marple is not as frilly as the classic Joan Hickson or as bohemian as Geraldine McEwan's portrayal. This is a more intellectual, no-nonsense Marple. She wears 3 suits, unadorned and straightforward. And I only saw her knit once. Miss Marple seems less a little old lady and more someone's all-knowing aunt or governess, always ready with whatever is needed and possessed of a strong sense of justice. These episodes avoid the stylization that some previous seasons embraced. Like the new Miss Marple, Series 4 is forthright and conventional in its scripts and production design.

"Marple" has had no qualms about departing from Agatha Christie's books: rewriting action, characters, even the motives and identity of the culprits, and appropriating other of Christie's novels for the spinster detective. Continuing in that tradition, "Murder is Easy" and "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?", both non-Marple books, have inspired episodes this season. Sometimes rewrites seem only to make the films more salacious, and, although there was never a premium on plausibility or coherence in Christie's novels, the rewrites have tended not to improve matters, often creating solutions that are quite ridiculous. Marple purists will not like that. But I have noticed that the character writing gains more depth the further it gets from its source.

Ultimately, it's difficult to say how Miss Marple should be adapted for a modern audience. Purists may prefer Joan Hickson's more faithful portrayal from the 1980s. Others, like myself, find Hickson's Marple dreadfully dull but lament this series' tendency to careen full throttle into burlesque.
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108 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Barbara B. on July 28, 2009
Format: DVD
I am not an Agatha Christie purist and have loved almost all previous incarnations of Miss Marple -- from Margaret Rutherford through to Joan Hickson and Geraldine McEwan. I'm sure Julia McKenzie would be an equally acceptable Marple but I could not stand to watch this series because of the film techniques employed.

Rather than tell a straight forward story, the scenes are choppily edited into fast-video-flash bits, with weird angles and ultra closeups. The sequence is disjointed and hard to follow. For instance, in one scene in "Murder is Easy", Miss Marple is at a post-funeral gathering with a large group of other people (all suspects at this stage, of course). Two second snippet of conversation .... close up of Marple's eyes looking around ... two seconds of another out-of-context conversation... another close up of Marple's eyes ... etc etc etc. I felt like screaming "Okay, we get it... she's listening!"

In the first ten minutes of that episode, a dozen or so different characters are introduced, but so rapidly and with so little context that I am soon bewildered and confused. In addition, they all seem so unpleasant that I didn't really care who was killed or who did the killing!

Perhaps younger viewers, weaned on fast cut editing, enjoy this type of filming more but for those who prefer more leisurely paced and cohesive story telling, this jagged camera work is distracting at best and intrusive at worst.

I noticed the same problem with the new episodes of Poirot. The director and cinematographer obviously had a grand time showing off their techniques, but the stories suffered.

What I don't understand is why these techniques, more suited to fast paced thrillers or action yarns, are used for classic mysteries which depend on character development and plot. Are film makers so afraid we'll lose interest if the camera stands in place for a full minute?
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Red Rivere on May 23, 2010
Format: DVD
Pixieish Geraldine McKewan is gone and in her place we have bland Julia Mckenzie. I have a feeling Mckenzie was cast as Miss Marple based on her delightful work in "Cranford," but as Miss Marple she is tentative and dull. Sure, McKewan was nothing like the actual Miss Marple created by Christie, but Mckenzie is simply boring. Joan Hickson remains the perfect Miss Marple, though the eighties/nineties films she starred in seem a bit slow and stodgy by today's standards. Yet Hickson is the only one who comes off believably as a genteel lady of the Victorian/Edwardian era. Younger people seem to find Hickson's Marple too forbidding and severe, but that formality is what was once known as being ladylike and having breeding. Underneath Miss Marple's reserve, however, was kindness, humor, and lively curiosity, and Hickson perfectly captures all this.

As for the films themselves, they range from adaptations of books where Miss Marple never appeared, which involves tampering with plots to the point of incomprehensibility (Why Didn't They Ask Evans?), to those where significant, tarted-up alterations are made, false to the creative spirit of the author (Murder Is Easy), to fairly faithful versions, as far as plot is concerned, that are treated in an excruciatingly arch, campy manner, with cartoon-like filming techniques (A Pocket Full of Rye). There is no way that Christie would have approved of any of this nonsense, whatever her grandson may say.

It's all a shame, because the Hickson Marples were not perfect. I would have loved to have seen modern, faithful versions of the books, even if they couldn't find as good a Miss Marple as the late Ms. Hickson. Many of the Suchet Poirots are still excellent, but perhaps Suchet has some of the artistic integrity quite evidently lacking in the people behind the modern Marple series.
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