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Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Dame Rutherford

SiddharthaSSiddharthaS Michigan, United States Investigator

Miss Marple's ability to draw parallels between the characters around the murder with personalities she has met in the past confers a unique but unfair advantage to her over the reader.  In a way it is like the "woman's instinct" that Agatha Christie's caricature of herself, Ariadne Oliver, lays her stock on, confidently suspecting each of the characters in turn, of being the perpetrator.  Only, Miss Marple's first instinct invariably turn out to be correct.  

Contrast this with other Christie mysteries, specially those starring Hercule Poirot.  He has access to no information other than what the reader also has.  Yet Poirot alone draws the correct interpretations and arrives at the solution to the mystery.   That is why I believe Hercule Poirot mysteries are more fair to the reader than Miss Marple's.  And that is why I like Poirot better than Miss Marple.  

BTW, Christie has dedicated one of her mysteries ("The Mirror Cracked" ?) to Margaret Rutherford, "in admiration".   Was this because AC was happy with MR's portrayal of MM?  IMO Dame Rutherford's robust personality and her adventurous portrayals could not have been more in contrast with Jane Marple's slim, gentle, and "fly on the wall" personality portrayed in Christie's books.   Rutherford's performances as Miss Marple were more like caricatures, and not convincing at all, as far as I am concerned.  



  • I believe AC said that she was not happy with Margaret Rutherford's portrayal of MM. She actually said that in her opinion, Joan Hickson (who played a minor role, that of the cook, in Margaret Rutherford's "Murder, She Saw" - her version of "The 4.50 from Paddington) would make a good MM. AC didn't live to see it, but Joan Hickson went on to be the most definitive MM in movies.
  • MichelaMichela Lombardia, Italy Investigator
    I've never seen Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple and I have to say that in my mind the only Miss Marple was Geraldine McEwan. BUT I loved MR playing this role. She's completely different, but totally convincing as Miss Marple to me.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭✭
    I am confused, First you say you have never seen Miss Marple in The Role then you say you LOVED her in the Role, BTW I totally disagree with you about Geraldine McEwan in the role but I assume she was the first person you saw in the role so maybe it is understandable.
  • MichelaMichela Lombardia, Italy Investigator
    Sorry, I'm not English, I'm not mothertongue. I meant to say I've never seen Margaret Rutherford before. Anyway, you say "I totally disagree with you about Geraldine McEwan in the role but I assume she was the first person you saw in the role so maybe it is understandable": NO, She was not the first person I saw in the role. As I wrote, in my mind she is the only Miss Marple. I don't see where is the problem. It's my personal feeling. 
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭✭
    There isn't a problem I was just saying I disagree, I much prefer Joan Hickson in the Role but her Mannerisms in her portrayal are for me the best in all the Actress's I have seen play the part, In my Head she looks more like Maggie Smith, Angela Thorne or Patricia Garwood but none of them have played Miss Marple.
  • AnubisAnubis Ontario, Canada ✭✭✭
    It is interesting to see the character Joan Hickson played in Murder, She Saw, because that character is so slatternly and lower class — so completely different from the refined Miss Marple that she played later on. It show what a good actress Joan Hickson was. I gather AC didn't originally like MR in the role, but they did become friends.
  • cujascujas Investigator
    I don't think it's Geraldine McEwan's fault that her portrayal of Miss Marple was so bad. She was, indeed, a great actress and will  be missed by many people, myself included.  She had to act with the script that the producers, director and the writers gave her.  The  productions were bogus. Those things happen sometimes in show business and there isn't much else you can say about.
  • CT148CT148 Sydney Investigator
    can a moderator tel me why I have to sign in everytime I come onto this site?
  • CT148CT148 Sydney Investigator
    I enjoyed Geraldine McEwen's work as MM. 
  • GriseldaGriselda ✭✭✭✭
    I think in some ways that Geraldine McEwen did bring out some of the nuances which were apparent in the novel - and absolutely, she was being directed and being told how to be. In Murder at the Vicarage, the novel, there is a definite suggestion which becomes an undercurrent that the characters knew the SPOILER ALERT female murderer very well: she was one of their circle. That was what made the whole affair so extraordinary for the vicar, the narrator. His little community had this drama built on passion, and frustration at one man's unsympathetic behaviour.  In the novel, the presentation gives the suggestion that the style of friendship would have been a formal one - neighbours met in church, and greeted each other conventionally in the street - but, conveyed in little things characters say, is the sense that behind the forms, there would have been genuine concern and affection. Geralding McEwen brings out these feelings  of compassion in the way in which she deliver her dialogue. In the same vein, I thought that she conveyed compassion very well in By the Pricking of my Thumbs ( we all know she wasn't in that novel - only the tv version).
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