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Agatha Christie's Marple: Series 2


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Agatha Christie's Marple: Series 2 + Agatha Christie's Marple Series 3 + Agatha Christie's Marple, Series 1
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Product Details

  • Actors: Geraldine McEwan, Julian Wadham, Emilio Doorgasingh, Sophia Myles, Aidan McArdle
  • Directors: Edward Hall, Paul Unwin, Peter Medak, Tom Shankland
  • Writers: Agatha Christie, Kevin Elyot, Stephen Churchett, Stewart Harcourt
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: August 29, 2006
  • Run Time: 372 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (319 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GAKFIG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,375 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Agatha Christie's Marple: Series 2" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Four episodes: Sleeping Murder, By the Pricking of My Thumbs, The Moving Finger, The Sittaford Mystery
  • Behind-the-scenes featurettes
  • Photo galleries
  • Agatha Christie Bio
  • Cast filmographies

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As seen on the PBS Mystery! series

Four all-new, full-length mysteries bring you a Miss Marple like no other. Geraldine McEwan (Vanity Fair, The Magdalene Sisters) returns as the spinster sleuth, as shrewd and sagacious as ever. Breathing new life into Agatha Christie’s novels, these intricately plotted and thoroughly engaging whodunits feature the richly detailed settings, lush cinematography, and imaginative screenplays that won Series 1 overwhelming critical acclaim and an Emmy® nomination.

McEwan imbues Miss Marple with a kindly sparkle and sly wit that prove "irresistible," raves TV Guide. "Not your mother’s Miss Marple," says the Associated Press. Sterling supporting casts that include Anthony Andrews, Michael Brandon, James D’Arcy, Geraldine Chaplin, Timothy Dalton, Frances de la Tour, Sophia Myles, Ken Russell, and Greta Scacchi further enrich this 21st century celebration of Agatha Christie’s most beloved heroine.

Amazon.com

Granada Television and the PBS Mystery! series' Marple episodes continue to delight with such distinctive vitality, wit, and stylishness one may never again think of tea rooms in the English countryside as "quaint" settings. Geraldine McEwan (Vanity Fair) returns as Agatha Christie's Miss Jane Marple, elderly sleuth with a keenly discerning eye and sweet smile that takes the sting out of her blunt observations of friends and murder suspects alike. As with series 1, the quartet of mysteries in series 2, set shortly after World War II, are ensemble affairs filled out by such familiar faces as Timothy Dalton, Charles Dance, Greta Scacchi, Anthony Andrews, Patricia Hodge, and Imogen Stubbs. Rather than pound out a certain visual and tonal sameness over all four stories, each 90-minute episode seems to be approached as a stand-alone affair, giving writers, directors, and production teams a lot of leeway to give each story a unique stamp.

"Sleeping Murder" stars Sophia Myles as Gwenda Halliday, a young woman haunted by flashbacks of the memory of a killing she observed as a little girl in a stately British house. Problem is, Gwenda has only recently moved to Britain for the first time in her life, after growing up in India. Dawn French, Martin Kemp, and Geraldine Chaplin also star in the tale, which involves an old troupe of actors, a jewelry theft, and a very surprising conclusion. "By the Pricking of My Thumbs" concerns the disappearance of a doddering old woman who leaves behind a strange, spooky painting of a cottage in the woods, an unnerving figure lurking in the structure's window. Miss Marple is on the trail, but she allows the lonely, alcoholic wife (Scacchi) of a government investigator (Andrews) to take the lead—a boost to the younger woman's self-esteem.

The ambitious "The Moving Finger" is the most singular episode in sries 2, a cheeky--almost subversive--vision of a rosy, picture-postcard village whose tranquility is undone by a series of hateful letters mailed to individuals in the community. Miss Marple, observing the tragic effects of these missives on relationships and reputations, is practically in the background in this story, watching closely as a nihilistic young man (James D'Arcy) comes out of his cynical, alcohol-laced haze to investigate the source of so much misery. (Bonus: director Ken Russell appears as the local, red-cheeked vicar.) Finally, "The Sittaford Mystery" finds Timothy Dalton playing a likely prospect to become prime minister, until he's stabbed to death following a séance. Set in a rundown hotel during a severe winter storm, the episode co-stars James Murray, Rita Tushingham, and comic-actor-director Mel Smith, the latter as the late, great man's touchingly loyal, right-hand man. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

The acting and settings are all well done.
S F Reviewer
They are always entertaining and great fun trying to solve the mystery.
Barbara Cwiklik
I could watch the episodes over and over again!
MS314

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Price Grisham on June 27, 2006
Format: DVD
Sleeping Murder seems to refer mostly to what was done to the original book. Obviously considering Christie's mysteries too mannerly, the scriptwriters invented a troupe of actors who sleep around with each other, then changed the step-sister in the plot to a real sister so some incest could be added; by the time the heroine breaks off her engagement to her fiance, it is a mild denoument, but at least consistent.

In By the Pricking of My Thumbs, Miss Marple is injected into a plot where she is totally unncessary; and rather than the happy, intelligent couple we know from Christie's books, we are presented with Tommy as a bumbling, insensitive beaurocrat and Tuppence as a depressed boozer (with some unexpected company, since the local clergyman is also an alcoholic, of course).

The Moving Finger is much better in plot alignment, even though it opens showing the hero writhing in bed with various women (thankfully, only one at a time). But here the costume production details were messed up pretty badly: the (very) busty governess is about to explode from the low-cut cocktail dress she is wearing early in the morning as she oversees her young charges (in which any sudden movement would certainly have added graphically to their education); and when the hero's sister is shown seated at a formal dinner party eating with her gloves on, I laughed aloud; who made this episode, 21st century Americans?

All of this is a real shame, since a lot of thought and money obviously went into the period detail, and the acting is top-notch; but the representation of 1950's behavior is so unrealistic that it counteracts all the effort put into the visualization of the small towns and their surroundings.
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47 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Gladney on July 13, 2006
Format: DVD
The accomplished actress Geraldine McEwan stars as the spinster sleuth Jane Marple, who lives in the picturesque little village of St. Mary Mead. Pleasant and full of life, Ms. Marple often becomes interested if murder or mayhem rears its ugly head in her vicinity. She's come to earn the respect of many in Scotland Yard, and makes friends easier than you can snap your fingers. With these new productions, its a pleasure to watch her solve the crimes.

This new series of Marple stories takes liberties with the original stories penned by Agatha Christie, to varying effect. In "Sleeping Murder," which had its own implausibilities to begin with, the way the story was changed makes it harder to follow and detracts from the overall feel of it. In the case of "By the Pricking of My Thumbs," however, the alterations to the original story weren't so bad. Perhaps that is due to my unfamiliarity with the book, but I thought that this production was very well done, and quite suspenseful.

Credit is given to this new production of Miss Marple for making "The Moving Finger" a smashing good ride. I've never found the previous TV or radio adaptations to be that engaging, but this version was quite good, building the tension as it went along. Alas, "The Sittaford Mystery" has been changed so much from the book that I can not support it. Perhaps this is an example of being too familiar with the original?

The direction and pacing of each Marple story is usually pretty well done. The set and costume designs are exquisite. The casting is typically top-notch, and each episode is like a who's who of familiar British actors. The theme music is lively and memorable, and overall the series is enjoyable. It just needs to become a little more even in its presentation, and it would be that much better.

--- Matthew Gladney
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Joyce on October 21, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've been a Christie fan since childhood and loved the early movies in spite of Rutherford's handling of the character. I loved Joan Hickson's portrayal of Miss Marple and never thought anyone else could "be" Miss Marple for me. Therefore I expected to be disappointed with these new releases. I AM NOT DISAPPOINTED, I LOVE THIS NEW VERSION! After I cautiously viewed the first episode I came to fully appreciate Geraldine McEwan in the role. She is subtle, confident and highly adroit and I find her refreshing and wonderful. The stories themselves are entertaining and intriquing. Some reviewers complained that the scripts don't stick to the originals, but this is not an issue for me here. Christie's stories stay alive and fun even after having been done so often because they aren't always done the same way. Any tweaks to the storylines keep the material fresh and even improve it at times. I think it's fun to be surprised by my old favorites! Hooray for Geraldine McEwan! I hope to see many more Miss Marple stories with her in the title role!
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73 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Mary Twain on October 11, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Christie as you have never seen her before" was a claim that made me a little nervous, but I decided to try these "new" mysteries anyway. Sometimes a new approach can be helpful.

Alas, I discovered this "new Christie" is simply a chance for the writers of these stories to stick their 21st Century values on an older generation. Bright young things always claim they are so different from their parents, but they want to paint their grandparents as they are themselves.

The first set of this new series was disturbing enough. There were subtile changes here and there that distracted from the story. What was a small adventure into so-called "new areas" in the first series is an all-out march into the world of today in this second series.

Sleeping Murder is not longer the story of poor Helen who, like the Helen of the old stories, could not find happiness in life because of her beauty. For those who have read Christie, this was a theme she used in more than one plot. The Helen of this movie is not longer a beautiful young woman searching everywhere for love, only to have it snatched for her grasp before she can enjoy her treasure; instead this Helen is a petty thief with a smirk that always leaves the viewer wondering what she is planning. The story is not the tale of young newlyweds coming to England to buy a home in which to start their married life, but instead the tale of a summer acting group that were saved from certain career disaster by the arrival of World War II. The young newlyweds are not newlyweds but only an engaged gal that demands and snaps at people until her discovery that she knows things about this house that she should not only give her another reason to complain.
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Topic From this Discussion
The Theme Music to Marple (McEwan)
I have been trying to get a full release of the wonderful music Domink Scherrer wrote for this series. All I can find so far is an out of print CD with just the title theme, and this compilation from Scherrer's myspace page. Great orchestration, melody, precision playing from the... Read More
Feb 6, 2009 by John A. Koehler |  See all 3 posts
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Agatha Christie's Marple: Series 2
This item: Agatha Christie's Marple: Series 2
Price: $59.99 $37.96
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com