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Hickson Vs all the other Jane Marples

TommyTommy Vale of Glamorgan, The, United Kingdom admin
To get this forum going you may have noticed some rather simplistic discussions being posted by me - that said, these are the sort of questions for which we all have an instinctive opinion on, and though Joan Hickson may win this one hands down, it's always interesting to hear how the passing of time has affected fans' opinions on say McEwan, who was rather unloved initially but now more fondly remembered. What say you?  


  • My all time favourite Miss Marple has to be Joan Hickson. She's  is, how I picture Miss Marple to be. Helpful but shrewd, ladylike but also worldly wise. Also she has a quiet sense of humour, which is subtle. 

    I think that Julia Mckenzie is close behind Joan Hickson. She has a warm but clever approach to crime solving. It's a pity that some of the episode she's starred in have been, to me, frankly just terrible. For instance The Secret Of Chimneys and Murder Is Easy. But thankfully A Caribean Mystery was a great episode, so I look forward to seeing new Mckenzie Marple episodes.

    I absolutely love the film The Mirror Crack'd with Angela Lansbury. I've seen 3 different versions, with Hickson, Mckenzie and Lansbury .  I like this version best. But for me AL wasn't quiet like my image Miss Marple. She was a little more outgoing. But she was still likeable. When I read Charles Osborne's book The Life And Crimes Of Agatha Christie, he didn't seem very impressed by the movie. I liked how stylish it was. Plus seeing Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak as Marina and Lola trading insults makes great viewing. I have wondered why Lansbury only made the one Miss Marple film?

    Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple was too robust, too extroverted and forward. The adaptions are only very, very loosely based on anything AC ever wrote. But the films are very light, so it's hard to feel very affronted by them somehow. 

    I've seen  the Helen Hayes films I've not been too impressed by the settings. I felt like something was lost when they transferred the time period to the 1980's. I've never actually seen many comments about Hayes portrayal as Miss Marple. I thought she was ok, but not that memorable. 

    Geraldine McEwan- there was alot of controversy about her when the episodes were first aired. I never actually disliked her  portrayal as Miss Marple. Her clothes and appearance were very fitting. The problem for me was that some of the episodes she was in were just appalling! The plots had been altered, characters had been changed so that they were unrecognizable. The very worst thing was that some of the murderers were changed. 
    Not surprisingly, this really raised Christie fans hackles. I think that McEwan became a scapegoat for all criticism. Because people hated the episodes they needed someone to blame. True that at times she was very unlike Chrisite's creation, that does make me wonder if she had read the books.

    Can you picture Miss Marple pushing a man off a boat? Or having an affair with a married man? The supposed justification was to create a backstory to Marple's past. The problem is that if you begin to write another persons character, you rewrite them. 

    There were remarks she was either too giggly ( possible reference to Bertram's Hotel ) or somtimes she was described in reviews as too steely. For instance how she interviewed the girl guide in the Body In The library. 

    But as Miss Marple is more complex than she first appears, maybe these criticisms were a little harsh. It can't be easy to get the balance right.  How easy is it to play a seemingly dear old lady sitting  calmly knitting, whist solving crimes that Scotland Yard have baffled over for years? 
     I think the McEwan episodes are very mixed, so I recommend Body In The Library (if you ignore the end), A Murder Is Announced and The Moving Finger. McEwan's Marple behaves quite in character in these and you can see that perhaps if the scripts had been different, maybe she would have been better received by fans.

    "Do not allow evil into your heart. It will make a home there." Poirot -Death On The Nile
  • tisshaheltisshahel Connecticut, United States Investigator
    Are we allowed to vote for none of the above?  I've developed an idea in my head of how Miss Marple should be, after reading all of her books, and none of the actresses to date have matched that idea.

  • TommyTommy Vale of Glamorgan, The, United Kingdom admin

    tisshahel said:
    Are we allowed to vote for none of the above?  I've developed an idea in my head of how Miss Marple should be, after reading all of her books, and none of the actresses to date have matched that idea.

    Yes, of course. Which actress most closely matches your vision for Jane Marple? We had a vote on Facebook a while ago and Maggie Smith was the run-away winner for fans' choice of most suitable actress to play Miss Marple.
  • AgathasmykidAgathasmykid British Columbia, Canada ✭✭✭

    Maggie Smith would have been great!!  If Judi Dench did one, that would be awesome too.


    For some reason of the choices given I pick Rutherford, although I can't really explain why lol.  Maybe it was because she was the first film adaptation of Miss Marple I had seen.

  • tudestudes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ✭✭✭✭
    I liked Angela Lansburry as Miss Marple. I also like Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple, but I simply hated the adaptions. At Bertram's Hotel was disgusting. They created a new and awful story. I think only The Moving Finger and A Murder is Announced are fairly good. The others films, please, don't watch them!
    I think Julie Mckenzie is a great Marple and the films were usually fine, especially Pocket full of Rye. She is very gentle and polite and quite smart. On the other hand,  Why they didn' t ask Evans couldn't  had be done.  It was not even a Miss Marple book to start.
    Unfortunately, I watched just two films with Joan Hickson as Marple. I liked a lot. She is a cute Marple. Very cozy and clever.
    I think it's really difficult to pick one. It depends not only on the actress, but also on the others actors, the script, if you like or not the original story and so on.
  • SeakaySeakay Cardiff, United Kingdom Fan
    I thought that Geraldine McEwan was fine - the character that she was given to play by her director and script writer just wasn't the Miss Marple found in the novels and so was a pointless creation. It's a shame that the script writer didn't have the courage to create their own fictional character instead of using the name of someone else's.

    Joan Hickson is my favourite Marple of all time
  • SeaSnapSeaSnap Cornwall, United Kingdom Investigator

    My favourite is Julia McKenzie. She is really good as Miss Marple, although she has been victim to bad scripting. 'Why didn't the ask Evans' was bad. Really bad. They should have left Miss Marple out of it. But she is way better than Margret Rutherford. Her films are comedy more than anything else.


    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

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  • miss_mysterymiss_mystery Essex, United Kingdom Investigator
    i have to say Joan Hickson is still my favorite Miss Marple of all time, follow by even though the films that she was in was loosely based on AC books was Margaret Rutherford, follow by  Julia McKenzie for today's audience. I would of love them to cast someone like June Whitfield who played Miss Marple in the radio plays to me my own opinion would of filled the late Joan Hickson's shoes perfectly. never mind Julia McKenzie is a lot better Miss Marple than Geraldine McEwan was, didn't like, felt she wasn't right actress to play the part of Miss Marple. 
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