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Agatha Christie's Marple: Series 5

138 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Starring Julia McKenzie in three new thrilling mysteries

As seen on the PBS Mystery! series

Eyes sparkling and tweeds impeccable, Julia McKenzie (Cranford, Notes on a Scandal) returns as Agatha Christie’s spinster sleuth in three new mysteries set in 1950s England. Murder is afoot, and Miss Marple is up to the task of determining whodunit. She may look like a pensioner, but she doesn’t miss a clue on the way to solving heinous crimes, whether the weapon is a gun, a cocktail, or the color blue. Each story unfolds against a rich background of grand English estates, gorgeous scenery, and post-WWII period detail.

Julia McKenzie proves “delightful to watch” (Los Angeles Times), and she’s supported by a stellar cast of veteran British actors including Lindsay Duncan, Joanna Lumley, Hugh Bonneville, Edward Fox, Caroline Quentin, Jonas Armstrong, Sharon Small, Kevin McNally, and Toby Stephens.

The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side
The Secret of Chimneys
The Blue Geranium

Agatha Christie’s Garden: Pam Ferris (Rosemary & Thyme) presents this revealing documentary about Agatha Christie’s personal retreat, her secret garden in Devon.

Special Features

Text interviews with Julia McKenzie and Joanna Lumley
Background on shooting locations
Information on Agatha Christie’s 120th anniversary
Julia McKenzie biography
Cast filmographies
SDH subtitles

Product Details

  • Actors: Julia McKenzie
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: August 31, 2010
  • Run Time: 267 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,288 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
In Series 5, "Agatha Christie's Marple" has finally settled on a consistent style. The bold palette looks like Technicolor, and the acting style is also reminiscent of the decade in which the mysteries take place, the 1950s. We've seen this off-and-on in previous seasons, but now it has lost its clumsiness. Although the mysteries are sordid and melodramatic, they don't go over the top to the point of distraction, as has sometimes been the case in previous seasons. Again the writers have adapted various source materials to serve Miss Marple. "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side" is, of course, a Marple novel. But "The Secret of Chimneys" is a Superintendent Battle novel whose plot has been entirely changed. And "The Blue Geranium" is adapted from a Marple short story.

Julia McKenzie plays Marple as a practical, plainspoken woman whom one would probably not mistake for a dotty old lady. The extent to which the police detectives do, however, varies. In "The Secret of Chimneys", the Scotyard Yard detective is familiar with Miss Marple's reputation for solving mysteries, and he seems to expect her to contribute to the case. "The Blue Geranium"'s detective tends to think her a nuisance who couldn't possibly be of much help. It might be nice to have deeper characterizations of the detectives, but there are so many characters in these stories that there is no time for any of them in depth. It's a credit to the actors that some characters come across strongly. In any case, I found Series 5 the most consistently entertaining of the "Marple" series thus far.

An American movie star moves to St. Mary Mead in "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side".
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Paul J. Mular TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 3, 2010
Format: DVD
First let me say that I have these DVDs in hand & have watched them, they are the uncut 89 minute U.K. versions, not the trimmed versions shown on PBS.

Of the new Marple series, this is probably the best set yet.
Julia Mckenzie is more at ease in her second year as Miss Marple. She explains her take on the character in a texted interview. She feels that the early Miss Marple stories depict the sleuth as a fragile Victorian lady, while in the later stories she is more of a tweedier & solid detective. It is this later Miss Marple that Julia has chosen for the personality in these episodes.

This set benefits from two mysteries that have not been dramatized before (correct me if I am wrong). The best being a Miss Marple short story THE BLUE GERANIUM, at an hour and a half it does not feel padded out. These are the stories that this new series should have gone for in the first place, rather than re-doing the earlier masterpieces by Joan Hickson. There are so many Miss Marple short stories that have not been dramatized that it is a shame it took 5 years for the new series to recognize them. The short stories worked well for the Poirot series, I hope that we will see more of these brought to life.

The individual DVDs are numbered as volumes, but there are no plans to sell them separately.

Volume 1: THE MIRROR CRACKED FROM SIDE TO SIDE (2009) 89 minutes - with Joanna Lumeley. While in its own right this is an very enjoyable mystery, well staged & filmed. If you are not familiar with the story it will keep you guessing until the end. The time line based on the cars and Cinemascope movies at the local theater Miss Marple attends puts this story around 1955, a little later than I imagine most Miss Marple stories to take place.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kai Roberts on August 24, 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Over the years, I have read all of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mysteries and watched all of the modern film iterations of Miss Marple, played by everyone from the marvelous Joan Hickson to the latest grand dame, Julia McKenzie. Not surprisingly, my enjoyment of the series varied somewhat as each actress brought a different interpretation to the lead character and each production had its own atmosphere and style. The quality of the acting has never faltered, however, and many of Britain's finest actors have appeared in these mysteries. Series 5 with Julia McKenzie is a special delight. I was surprised at how lavish and rich the production quality is, how perfect the period details are -- especially in "The Mirror Crack'd." Joanna Lumley figured prominently in this episode and she is picture-perfect as Miss Marple's slightly ditsy and delightfully nosy friend, Dolly. Just to watch these two marvelous actresses interact is a joy. Lindsay Duncan also gives a first-rate performance. As the series moves on, the style and feel of each episode changes a bit and real injections of menace, tension, and fear are palpable. These are contrasted with the down-to-earth, determined and practical calm of McKenzie's Miss Marple. In essence, then, Series 5 is a wonderful collection -- rich, nuanced, and rather splendid.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By SeaBee on July 6, 2010
Format: DVD
I am not certain why so many seem to dislike this particular Miss Marple, but for anyone who has read the Miss Marple Mysteries by Agatha Christie, as I have, Julia McKenzie's portrayal of Miss Marple is a breath of fresh air. She has been able to capture the essence of the Miss Marple that Agatha Christie so wonderfully wrote about in her mystery novels.
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