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Agatha Christie's Marple 6 Seasons

Season 3
4.5 out of 5 stars (359) IMDb 7/10

Proper, demure, sharp as a tack, Agatha Christie's spinster sleuth is brilliantly portrayed by Geraldine McEwan (Series 1-3) and Julia McKenzie (Series 4). Each dons the trademark tweeds as if they were made for her; each is surrounded by lavish post-WWII period detail and stellar supporting casts.

Starring:
Geraldine McEwan, Ian Richardson

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Season 3

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1. Towards Zero

Miss Marple visits her old school friend Lady Tressilian at the formidable aristocrat's Devon estate. Eyebrows arch higher when the dashing Wimbledon tennis star Neville Strange arrives with his attractive but high maintenance new wife, even though his first wife is also attending. Miss Marple observes the tightly wound group as they holiday by the sea, sensing the sexual tensions and unresolved jealousies that lead to murder.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes Release date: January 28, 2007
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2. Nemesis

Miss Marple faces her greatest challenge yet when she receives a request from an old friend, the recently deceased Mr. Rafiel, to investigate a "possible crime." But there's a further catch: his instructions don't tell her what the crime is. Instead, she has been told to look for clues on a mystery bus tour, a trip Mr. Rafiel's instructions say may be dangerous.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes Release date: February 25, 2007
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3. At Bertram's Hotel

Revisiting a glamorous London hotel that she remembers fondly from her girlhood, Miss Marple finds that nothing has changed, including the atmosphere of danger beneath its highly polished veneer. She observes various other guests, including fortune hunters and other unsavory characters, and comes to realize the truth about the hotel is even darker than she had imagined.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 1 hour, 33 minutes Release date: April 1, 2007
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4. Ordeal by Innocence

Delighted to be invited to the wedding of Gwenda, her former housemaid, Miss Marple travels the isolated island where Gwenda lives with her fiance, Leo Argyle, and his grown children. Though they are happy for their father, the Argyles are still reeling from the murder of their mother and the execution of their brother Jacko for the crime. Then a stranger arrives who exonerates Jacko, leading all to realize that the real murderer is still in their midst.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 1 hour, 33 minutes Release date: June 3, 2007
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Geraldine McEwen is a wonderful actress, but the current BBC production doesn't serve her well. Everything is wonderful except the scripts, which are often ludicrous. With such wonderful material as the Marple novels, why do the screen writers deviate from them so gratuitously, often turning the plots into gibberish? Try the Joan Hickson Marple films. With no disrespect to Ms. McEwen, Ms. Hickson was the perfect Jane, and the plots of these Christie stories were not nearly so badly mauled.
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Format: DVD
Now, I have to say right off, that, even though I appreciated Geraldine McEwen's portrayal much more, the scriptwriters had her saying the most hilariously inane things--unfortunately the viewer is tempted to laugh in all the wrong places, despite her excellent performance. No one on the production staff seemed the least bit concerned with historical or literary accuracy. It makes you sigh for what could have been.

Also ironic is the appearance of perhaps an anti-clergy slant, since Miss Marple was the daughter of an Anglican vicar. Earlier we saw at least one alcoholic rector, and now we have presented to us a), a society matron in the book Nemesis changed into a murderously obsessed nun for television; and b), a character changed from the kind, gentle Canon Pennyfather in the novel of At Bertram's Hotel to a crazed Nazi war criminal masquerading as an Anglican priest.

Nor is the QUIET, efficiently run establishment of understated elegance in the novel anywhere to be seen; it is a place of utter chaos invaded by an American jazz band (which Miss Marple seems to relish; she's almost snapping her finger to the beat--"Yeah man"). Yikes! By changing and inventing all the characters for the TV series while keeping some basic thread of the original plot, the viewer gets the worst of both worlds: Everything but the ending is now a surprise.
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Ever since season 1, I have enjoyed the cinematography of this new Jane Marple series, and the production design. The colors are eye-popping, the costumes over-the-top, the acting arch and stylized (I wonder if Ken Russell, who had a key role in an episode of Season 1, had anything to do with that). I bought Season 2 and 3 as soon as they came out on DVD, and I have to say that Season 3 has turned out to be a laughable disappointment.

The production values are still here, the series continues to provide an extra paycheck for unemployed British acting greats, but the writing has wandered away from the Christie novels and ended up in a soap opera somewhere. The dialogue is stilted and unbelievable, Miss Marple behaves more and more out of character, and the plots are changed out of all recognition, and not for the better.

In some misguided attempt to make the stories more "modern" and "interesting," the writers dream up the most ludicrous stereotyped characters - murderous nuns (yes, there's a nasty anti-religious theme through this Season), Nazis on the lam, drunken novelists, an oily-haired gigolo - and have them commit bizarre actions, such as switch bodies so that characters thought to be dead aren't really dead at all, or commit suicide with a piece of statuary. Or better yet, stage a shootout in olde London town! If it weren't so disappointing, it would be funny.

In Season 4, I suggest a new episode - Miss Marple investigates the murder of a fine series of Agatha Christie mysteries, perpetrated by a gang of postmodern hacks.
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I continue to be amazed by the silly changes they have made in these book "adaptations" in order to make Miss Marple "relevant." I'm no worshipper of the old Hickson series and would have been happy to see new versions, but these new ones are just dumbed-down and insulting to Christie. Some of the newer Poirots have been quite good, but even with sexing up most of them have remained sufficiently true to the text (a major exception being the egregious Cards on the Table adaptation). The Marples, on the other hand, have just been one disaster after another, beginning with the ongoing destruction of Miss Marple's character. Whoever the woman is in these films she is not Miss Marple. Christie's grandson should be ashamed of himself for allowing this to continue. But, that aside, the adaptations just aren't very good. Nemesis and Bertram's Hotel are by no means perfect books, but the changes in the films make them look idiotic. They just seem to be doing changes for the sake of making changes at this point. With the others, I find introducing Miss Marple into books where she does not belong upsets the structure. But obviously the adaptors don't care about such things. Awful.
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Call me a "Purist," if you want, but this series doesn't even come close to Agatha Christie's wonderful spinster sleuth. Christie's intricate plots, complicated and multi-dimensional characters, red herrings and surprising endings have all been changed. With this "New" series we have foolish and unintentionally comical scripts, shallow characters, and some of the silliest plot twists since Peter Sellers did the Pink Panther. There's very little of Christie's books here except for the titles, the names of a few characters and Miss Marple of course. Everything else has been changed to suit a newer market, whatever that may be. My biggest criticism is for Bertram's Hotel, where Miss Marple is literally sidelined for the Hotel Maid. Yes, the creators have made Miss Marple so dithering, twittering, twinkling and feeble that the Hotel Maid has to do the sleuthing and summing up of the crime. Agatha Christie would turn in her grave!!

BERTRAM'S HOTEL: The creators of this series changed Bertram's Hotel from the classy and Edwardian style hotel with older clientele and elaborate teas to a loud and garish three-ring circus. It opens with Miss Marple walking in and looking like a homeless waif. There's a group of screaming young twits running to see....are you ready for this???.....Louie Armstrong!!! Bess Sedgwick has been changed from a classy, thrill-seeker and absentee mother to a dumpy, depressed looking drudge. She's also been made a secondary character. Of Course in keeping with the inane changes of Christie's writing, there's a Nazi spin just to keep things repetitive and boring. There's also one of the silliest and unbelievable shootouts in the streets of London no less.
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