The Mirror Crack'd
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Set in a highly stereotypical American vision of the 1950's English countryside, the whole town is abuzz when Lola Brewster (Kim Novak) and Marina Rudd (Elizabeth Taylor) take up residence to film a production of 'Mary, Queen of Scots'. When one of Ms. Rudd's long-time fans is murdered at a reception given for the Star, Miss Marple (Angela Lansbury) and her nephew Inspector Delbert Craddock (Edward Fox) investigate the crime.
Script and direction are nothing more than diverting, with a nod here and there to the likes of Joan Crawford and Bette Davis - the two movie Queens feud continually - and some extremely clever one-liners - Ms. Taylor's line about Doris Day takes on a whole new level of meaning, as her director husband Jason is played by Rock Hudson. As Christie's well-loved sleuth, Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple is amusingly self-depracatory in her role, claiming that not everyone who comes into contact with her winds up dead. She'll never be Joan Hickson, but in a film such as this, Lansbury's lighthearted and somewhat campy performance is perfectly pitched.
Tony Curtis and Rock Hudson do passable jobs in their respective roles as Producer and Director, and the supporting cast is nothing more than perfunctory (including a rare nonspeaking cameo from a VERY young Pierce Brosnan), but for all that, they hang together well enough as an ensemble.
The plot and subsequent climax are forgettable, but, as with the rest of the film, come with a gentle likeable atmosphere that saves them from being mundane.Read more ›
Part of the problem lies in the source material. THE MIRROR CRACK'D is one of Christie's lesser novels, written in a very sparse style and lacking Christie's usual knock-out solution in its story of a fan who drops dead of poisoning at a film star's reception. In order to flesh out the tale, the script piles extraneous scene upon extraneous scene--with the Taylor-Novak scenes a case in point: enjoyable as they are, they actually have little to do with the story and so tend to slow the film down. To make matters worse, the performances are extremely casual at best. Taylor and Novak are extremely enjoyable in their scenes together--but elsewhere they are merely adequate. Hudson and Curtis are flat. And Angela Lansbury, a normally brilliant actress, has one of her rare failures with the role of Jane Marple.
At most, this film is for viewers who want to be in on the last major cinematic gasps of Taylor, Novak, Hudson, and Curtis--and those who derrive a certain joy from evaluating the level of decay seen here in the aging cast. And most will enjoy seeing Taylor and Novak flog each other with nasty one-liners delivered with considerable flair. But cat-fight scenes aside, THE MIRROR CRACK'D is just one very mild meow.
I say lesser because I was easily able to guess the killer despite a wide assortment of suspects, and when one is able to do this easily with Christie, something just isn't right.
The quality of the new DVD release of this 1980 film isn't in the same league with EVIL UNDER THE SUN and DEATH ON THE NILE either. The image is not as sharp as it should be nor are colors as vibrant as I was expecting. The mono sound is fine, the melancholy score adding immeasurably to the somber nature of the story as we delve deeper into untying the knots of the mystery. The supplements are skimpy to be sure.
Yes, there are changes from Christie's book, and the actors cast are a Who's Who of 1950's Hollywood, appropriate for the time period of the film (1953), but each one is overaged for his part by at least fifteen years. The star power is so great, however, that few will probably quibble. It's great to see some of these people in a big budget film one more time.
If you get this DVD, get it for the celebrated cast but be forewarned that the mystery is subordinate to the star wattage on display.
St. Marysmead is being invaded by Hollywood. They are making a movie of Mary Stuart but the costars are bitter rivals. It all comes to a head when there is a murder attempt on the film's star Marina (Elizabeth Taylor) at a welcome party, just when her rival Lola (Kim Novak) enters. Instead of Marina, a village woman is killed.
Marina's husband Jason (Rock Hudson) is trying to keep the peace but a second murder attempt happens and Marina is completely unraveled. Of course there is always another murder - Agatha is never satisfied with just one! And like her counterpart, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple (Angela Lansbury), collects the suspects and solves the mystery.
This film is pure camp and does not measure up with the two mention Poirot films but it's nice to see all the fading stars. This would be Rock Hudson's last film and it is fitting that his costar is his best friend, Liz Taylor. Also nice is to see Tony Curtis and Kim Novak in films again.
Even though the film was not a success, it did lead to Angela Lansbury's biggest success, Murder, She Wrote.
Just sit back and enjoy the film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extreme amount of swearing that we turned it off and did not watch all of it.Published 10 days ago by maditi
Hollywood treatment of Agatha Christie, but much fun! Elizabeth Taylor is at her delicious best.Published 2 months ago by Pamela H. Lockwood
It was a wonderful movie and Angela Landsbury was a terrific Miss. MarplePublished 2 months ago by Amy Freeman