Agatha Christie on Television - good or bad?

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Agatha Christie on Television - good or bad?

des. 22, 2014, 11:36 am


I feel like playing Devil's advocate here and stating that I really dislike many of the more recent television productions of Agatha Christie's work - Miss Marple in particular. I think that the stories are good enough to be left as they are and not to twiddle around with them and making different people the murderer than the original. Am I being too purist? Do you think Agatha Christie would have approved of her stories being altered? Are they changed because people might know the original story and so the production team wish to create a surprise?


Bowerbirds-Library (one half of it)

gen. 11, 2015, 11:57 am

A lot of people don't like when Christie's stories are fooled around with for tv versions, and I'm one of them. But though I've grumbled to myself, I've enjoyed them. I think it may be, as you suggested, for the sake of creating a surprise for viewers that have read the book (even though it's more likely that someone who has read the book is watching the movie version because they liked the story). Also, with an actress under contract to play Miss Marple, for instance, they feel that they need to utilize their star as much as possible, so they shove her into all the stories.

Editat: juny 11, 2016, 9:35 pm

I agree that the most recent Miss Marple is horrible, though it's more the scripts than the actress. But the prior BBC Marple, Joan Hickson, was excellent, I thought.

David Suchet made a pretty good Poirot, too, though there were some liberties taken in the scripts.

jul. 10, 2016, 8:26 pm

Joan Hickson was indeed the best Miss Marple. I have all of them on DVD and rewatch them often. I do enjoy David Suchet as Hercule and enjoy watching him because he has the part down wonderfully.

jul. 11, 2016, 11:45 am

>4 JaneAustenNut: Indeed! What would I do without my Hickson and Suchet DVDs!

oct. 27, 2017, 5:27 am

I must get the Joan Hickson DVDs of the Miss Marple stories. I especially adore The Body in the Library.

Editat: oct. 27, 2017, 9:04 am

>6 Bowerbirds-Library: The Hickson versions of A Caribbean Mystery and Nemesis are particularly good, I thought.

abr. 5, 2023, 6:59 am

I have to say, first of all, that I've never taken to Poirot, on page or screen, so I have nothing to say there.

I rather think of Geraldine McEwan as much the nearest in appearance to Agatha Christie's descriptions of Miss Marple—near to perfect casting, to my mind. Joan Hickson always looked a bit too formidable—one of the points about Miss M was that she was formidable but didn't at all look it—McEwan, for me, perfectly pulled off twinkly-eyed, harmless old lady with steel hidden behind.

As to messing around with the stories, I've changed my mind on that. I used to get annoyed about it, but I can see the >2 mstrust: points and I've come to see them as not Agatha Christie and just look at them as independent creations. It is nice to watch ones that stick fairly closely to Christie, though. One thing that still annoys me every time, though, is the use of the title Marple; the 'real' Miss Marple would have been offended by the impoliteness and would have regarded persons who could leave out the 'Miss' as really not quite the thing ...

Editat: abr. 5, 2023, 1:40 pm

>8 alaudacorax: I have to respectfully disagree with you on that one. To my mind, Joan Hickson was the best Miss Marple ever. Sure, she was somewhat taller and less frail looking than the Miss Marple described in the books, but she didn't act particularly brisk or robust. She sat around, drank tea, and knitted baby things just like an apparently fluffy old lady. For physical derring-do, she recruited nice young men. :=)

One anecdote suggests Agatha herself wanted Hickson as Miss Marple. "Hickson was discovered by Agatha Christie herself , 40 years prior to accepting the role of Miss Jane Marple and bringing the character to the small screen According to Christie’s grandson, the famous mystery author was never quite happy with most adaptations of her work and wasn’t a huge fan of television. But in the case of her beloved Miss Marple, Christie thought Hickson would be perfect for the role after seeing her in a play and wrote her a letter saying, “I hope one day you will play my dear Miss Marple.” Hickson initially thought she wouldn’t be right for the role, but Christie eventually got her wish when the opportunity arose for Hickson to a star in the role at the age of 78."

Of course, the very WORST Miss Marple films are the Margaret Rutherford ones. *shudder*

I don't really have any particular beef with Ms. McEwan's portrayal of Miss Marple, but I hated the scripts for that series. There may have been some good ones in there, but I stopped watching after the first few, because the writers apparently felt the need to "spice up" the motives for the murders and such for the modern viewer. Which makes them not Christie stories, and they shouldn't attach her name to them. As independent tales, perhaps not bad, but very bad faux-Christie.

I definitely agree with your preference for Miss Marple over Poirot, but I still enjoy a good Poirot portrayal, and my favorite Poirot was hands down David Suchet. I also enjoy some of the big screen Poirot movies that starred Peter Ustinov, but more for the rest of the cast than his Poirot portrayal. As an actor, he has a lot of talent, but he was too chubby and untidy to make a convincing Poirot for me.

abr. 5, 2023, 2:19 pm

Mrs P bought a Miss Marple DVD set and currently watches between gardening and tea. As tea is mine to make I have the detective's job of filling in the gaps for the bits I miss.

abr. 6, 2023, 7:41 am

>9 tealadytoo:

Fascinating: I didn't know that about Christie and Hickson. That will certainly make me read the books with a fresh eye (a fresh 'mind's eye'?) next time round.

>10 PossMan: - ... and currently watches between gardening and tea.

That sounds nicely St Mary Mead ...