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Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Mirror Crack'd (1980) - Star of the month... Angela Lansbury

"Out flew the web and floated wide - the mirror crack'd from side to side; 'The curse is come upon me', cried the Lady of Shalott." - Angela Lansbury (as Miss Marple in 'The Mirror Crack'd')

'The Mirror Crack'd' is a 1980 Agatha Christie murder mystery directed by Guy Hamilton and starring Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple, with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Kim Novak, Geraldine Chaplin, Edward Fox and Charles Gray.

The film is based on the Agatha Christie novel "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side". 

Kim Novak, Rock Hudson & Elizabeth Taylor in the film
Set in 1953, American star Marina Rudd (played by Taylor) and her director husband Jason Rudd (played by Hudson) have visitied the town of St. Mary Meades to make a movie on 'Mary, Queen of Scots & Elizabeth I'. Co-starring with Marina is her rival Lola Brewster (played by Novak), who was cast due to her husband Marty Fenn (played by Curtis) producing the film.

Shortly after arriving, Marina meets a devoted fan, Heather Babcock (played by Maureen Bennett) who is poisoned shortly after meeting her. As Heather drank a cocktail which was made for Marina, it is presumed Marina was the intended murder victim and she becomes paranoid.

It is now up to Miss Marple (played by Lansbury) and her detective nephew Inspector Craddock to solve the mystery before Marina or anyone else is killed.

Watch some clips from the film

Did you know...

  • The title of the film is taken from the poem "The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Natalie Wood turned down the role of Marina Rudd due to disagreeing with cast billing and the way the character was being portrayed
  • The last film appearances of Anthony Steel, Dinah Sheridan and Charles Lloyd Pack
  • Angela Lansbury was only 54 when she portrayed the elderly Miss Marple 
  • Stars Angela Lansbury, Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis were all born in the same year, 1925
  • Keep your eye out for an early film appearance by Pierce Brosnan as James
  • The movie was filmed at Twickenham Film Studios in Twickenham, London, and on location in Kent
  • The poster for the pretend film within a film "Murder at Midnight", features the real actor's names appearing in the sequence
  • After this film, Angela Lansbury was meant to star in a second Miss Marple film "Appointment with Murder", but it did not eventuate
  • The third Agatha Christie movie in the Brabourne-Goodwin series, following 'Murder onthe Orient Express' (1974) and 'Death on the Nile' (1978)
  • Production for this film was delayed as a year as Angela Lansbury was starring in the Broadway production of 'Sweeney Todd'

Award nomination....

  • Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Film Saturn award nomination for Best Actress (Angela Lansbury)

Closing remarks

'The Mirror Crack'd' is an entertaining Agatha Christie mystery. Angela Lansbury was very game to take on the role as Miss Marple, especially after the brillant portryal of Miss Marple by the great Margaret Rutherford in four films. Although Lansbury's performance is not bad, I can't help comparing it to Rutherford's fantastic portrayal. That said, we finally see Elizabeth Taylor give one of her better performances of her late career.

Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak are both fantastic in their roles as the bickering rival film stars. This film would have been a perfect film for Bette Davis and Joan Crawford had it been made 15 years earlier.

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