Murder She Said


1h 26m 1961
Murder She Said

Brief Synopsis

When nobody will believe she witnessed a murder, elderly sleuth Miss Marple takes a job as a maid to ferret out clues.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Also Known As
Meet Miss Marple
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Mystery
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1961
Premiere Information
San Francisco opening: 20 Dec 1961
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel 4:50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie (London, 1957).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.66 : 1

Synopsis

While reading a mystery novel on a train from London, the elderly Miss Marple sees a woman being strangled by a man on a passing train. The police, however, are unable to find any trace of the body and dismiss her story as the imaginings of a doddering old woman. Highly indignant, she decides to investigate for herself. Believing the body was thrown from the passing train near the Ackenthorpe estate, she takes a job there as a maid; and her suspicions prove correct when her snooping uncovers the woman's body in a deserted outbuilding. At first the victim is believed to be a French girl once married to an Ackenthorpe killed in World War II. Consequently, suspicion naturally falls on the elderly Ackenthorpe's four remaining children, each of whom might resort to murder to prevent sharing their inheritance with another heir. Two more sons of the aged patriarch are murdered, and Miss Marple deduces the identity of the murderer and sets a trap. Her plan exposes the family physician, Quimper, as the killer. (Quimper murdered his own wife on the train and made it appear that she was the French-born wife. He then planned to kill off the sons before marrying Emma Ackenthorpe, the only daughter, who would eventually inherit the entire fortune.)

Film Details

Also Known As
Meet Miss Marple
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Mystery
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1961
Premiere Information
San Francisco opening: 20 Dec 1961
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel 4:50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie (London, 1957).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.66 : 1

Articles

Murder, She Said - Murder, She Said


Although many stars have taken on the role of Agatha Christie's indomitable detective Miss Marple, Margaret Rutherford's portrayal remains most fans' ideal of the elderly amateur sleuth, starting with Murder, She Said (1961).

Released in 1961, the film finds Rutherford's Miss Marple witnessing a girl's murder on a train. When no body is found and the authorities dismiss her story as the imaginings of an old biddy, Miss Marple starts an investigation herself.

She goes undercover as a maid at an estate near the murder scene, and in between cooking and cleaning, hunts for clues. She soon finds the girl's dead body, and the family at the estate becomes suspects, even as they're starting to be killed off themselves. Red herrings, revelations and a few comic exchanges about Miss Marple's lack of domestic efficiency ensue before Miss Marple gets her man.

Aiding Miss Marple in her detective work is librarian and friend Mr. Stringer, played by Rutherford's husband Stringer Davis in a role especially written for him. Other cast members include Arthur Kennedy, Muriel Pavlow, James Robertson Justice, Thorley Walters and Charles Tingwell.

But Murder, She Said is definitely Rutherford's show, as one newspaper reviewer pointed out. "Dressed with all the chic of a scarecrow and with her prognathous jaw jutting determinedly, Miss Rutherford dominates most of the scenes with a forceful characterization," read the New York Times review at the time of the movie's release.

The character of Miss Marple had been around for nearly three decades in print before Murder, She Said was filmed. MGM purchased the rights for most of Agatha Christie's works for $3 million in the late 1950s, planning a television series, but instead decided to go the feature film route, basing the first movie on the book 4:50 from Paddington.

Murder, She Said found instant box office success and was followed by Murder at the Gallop in 1963. Murder Ahoy (1964) and Murder Most Foul (1964) rounded out Rutherford's quartet of whodunit films.

Despite the rabid following her films would later receive, Rutherford was initially reluctant to play Miss Marple. In her autobiography, she describes that she didn't find murder amusing and didn't want to be a part of anything that exploited violence. It was the film's director, George Pollock, who changed her mind. He persuaded her that the role of Miss Marple "was not so much concerned with crime ... but that she was more involved in a game -- like chess -- a game of solving problems, rather than of murder."

Along with Miss Marple, Rutherford is best recognized for her role in 1945's Blithe Spirit, in which she played eccentric psychic Madame Arcati. She also won an Oscar® for her supporting role in The V.I.P.s (1963), an Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton vehicle.

Over the years, the role of Miss Jane Marple has lured other top actresses. Angela Lansbury starred in The Mirror Crack'd in 1980 and shortly thereafter, would star as a sort of Americanized Miss Marple in the Murder, She Wrote mystery drama on TV. The venerable Helen Hayes took on Miss Marple in a duo of television movies. In the late 1980s, Joan Hickson -- who had a supporting role in 1961's Murder, She Said -- picked up the Miss Marple mantle in a PBS television series based on the Agatha Christie books.

But for legions of moviegoers, Margaret Rutherford in Murder, She Said remains the definitive characterization of the eccentric English spinster from St. Mary's Mead who somehow manages to get mixed up in all sorts of murder mayhem.

Producer: George H. Brown
Director: George Pollock
Screenplay: David Osborn, David Pursall, Jack Seddon, Agatha Christie (novel)
Cinematography: Geoffrey Faithfull
Film Editing: Ernest Walter
Art Direction: Harry White
Music: Ron Goodwin
Cast: Margaret Rutherford (Miss Jane Marple), Arthur Kennedy (Dr. Quimper), Muriel Pavlow (Emma Ackenthorpe), James Robertson Justice (Ackenthorpe), Thorley Walters (Cedric Ackenthorpe), Charles 'Bud' Tingwell (Inspector Craddock).
BW-86m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. Descriptive Video.

by Amy Cox
Murder, She Said  - Murder, She Said

Murder, She Said - Murder, She Said

Although many stars have taken on the role of Agatha Christie's indomitable detective Miss Marple, Margaret Rutherford's portrayal remains most fans' ideal of the elderly amateur sleuth, starting with Murder, She Said (1961). Released in 1961, the film finds Rutherford's Miss Marple witnessing a girl's murder on a train. When no body is found and the authorities dismiss her story as the imaginings of an old biddy, Miss Marple starts an investigation herself. She goes undercover as a maid at an estate near the murder scene, and in between cooking and cleaning, hunts for clues. She soon finds the girl's dead body, and the family at the estate becomes suspects, even as they're starting to be killed off themselves. Red herrings, revelations and a few comic exchanges about Miss Marple's lack of domestic efficiency ensue before Miss Marple gets her man. Aiding Miss Marple in her detective work is librarian and friend Mr. Stringer, played by Rutherford's husband Stringer Davis in a role especially written for him. Other cast members include Arthur Kennedy, Muriel Pavlow, James Robertson Justice, Thorley Walters and Charles Tingwell. But Murder, She Said is definitely Rutherford's show, as one newspaper reviewer pointed out. "Dressed with all the chic of a scarecrow and with her prognathous jaw jutting determinedly, Miss Rutherford dominates most of the scenes with a forceful characterization," read the New York Times review at the time of the movie's release. The character of Miss Marple had been around for nearly three decades in print before Murder, She Said was filmed. MGM purchased the rights for most of Agatha Christie's works for $3 million in the late 1950s, planning a television series, but instead decided to go the feature film route, basing the first movie on the book 4:50 from Paddington. Murder, She Said found instant box office success and was followed by Murder at the Gallop in 1963. Murder Ahoy (1964) and Murder Most Foul (1964) rounded out Rutherford's quartet of whodunit films. Despite the rabid following her films would later receive, Rutherford was initially reluctant to play Miss Marple. In her autobiography, she describes that she didn't find murder amusing and didn't want to be a part of anything that exploited violence. It was the film's director, George Pollock, who changed her mind. He persuaded her that the role of Miss Marple "was not so much concerned with crime ... but that she was more involved in a game -- like chess -- a game of solving problems, rather than of murder." Along with Miss Marple, Rutherford is best recognized for her role in 1945's Blithe Spirit, in which she played eccentric psychic Madame Arcati. She also won an Oscar® for her supporting role in The V.I.P.s (1963), an Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton vehicle. Over the years, the role of Miss Jane Marple has lured other top actresses. Angela Lansbury starred in The Mirror Crack'd in 1980 and shortly thereafter, would star as a sort of Americanized Miss Marple in the Murder, She Wrote mystery drama on TV. The venerable Helen Hayes took on Miss Marple in a duo of television movies. In the late 1980s, Joan Hickson -- who had a supporting role in 1961's Murder, She Said -- picked up the Miss Marple mantle in a PBS television series based on the Agatha Christie books. But for legions of moviegoers, Margaret Rutherford in Murder, She Said remains the definitive characterization of the eccentric English spinster from St. Mary's Mead who somehow manages to get mixed up in all sorts of murder mayhem. Producer: George H. Brown Director: George Pollock Screenplay: David Osborn, David Pursall, Jack Seddon, Agatha Christie (novel) Cinematography: Geoffrey Faithfull Film Editing: Ernest Walter Art Direction: Harry White Music: Ron Goodwin Cast: Margaret Rutherford (Miss Jane Marple), Arthur Kennedy (Dr. Quimper), Muriel Pavlow (Emma Ackenthorpe), James Robertson Justice (Ackenthorpe), Thorley Walters (Cedric Ackenthorpe), Charles 'Bud' Tingwell (Inspector Craddock). BW-86m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. Descriptive Video. by Amy Cox

The Agatha Christie Miss Marple Collection - Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple in 4 Films on DVD

To order The Miss Marple Collection, go to TCM Shopping.


The Agatha Christie Miss Marple Movie Colletion presents the four Marple films from the early sixties starring Margaret Rutherford. Fans of Agatha Christies' frail, elderly, but infinitely sharp-witted sleuth were bound to have divided opinions about the casting of Margeret Rutherford, who took the role and made it her own: in other words, something wholly different than Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. When Christie saw the first film, Murder, She Said, she is quoted as saying "Oh, this will never do!" One can sympathize with Christie because the four Margaret Rutherford Miss Marples bear almost no resemblance to the charming books. But that doesn't stop the films from being highly enjoyable in their own right. Margaret Rutherford is a formidable and fearless presence as she tries to solve these four cases, and though not the model Marple, she really does make the role her own.

The first film, Murder, She Said, is the only one based on a Miss Marple novel (The 4:50 from Paddington). Miss Marple sees a murder being committed on a train running on a parallel track, but when the police fail to turn up any sign of a body and see no case to pursue, Miss Marple decides to take the case on herself. She determines that the only place along that particular stretch of railway that a body could've been tossed from the train without being seen is at Ackenthorp Hall. She manages to get a job as a maid at the Hall, and soon discovers the body in sarcophagus, which brings in Instpector Craddock (Charles Tingwell) and his men. But it's Miss Marple along with her sidekick Mr. Stringer (Striger Davis, Rutherford's real-life husband. Ironically, Joan Hixson, who would later become known as the definitive Miss Marple on the long-running BBC series, has a small part as a maid.

Murder at the Gallop is based on the Hercule Poirot novel After the Funeral. The not-so-unexpected heart attack of a rich man is written off as death by natural causes until Miss Marple discovers that the diseased had a pathological fear of cats, and someone had hidden a cat in the man's house so that he would come on it unawares. Once again the police have no intention of looking into Miss Marple's theory, so she checks into the Gallop Hotel, a horse riding establishment where all of the dead man's heirs are staying, and launches her investigation. But before long there are more deaths. Murder at the Gallop guest stars Robert Morley as the head of the family, who ends up hoping that Miss Marple will permanently keep her saddle at the Gallop.

Murder, Most Foul is also based on a Hercule Poirot novel, Mrs. McGinty's Dead. Miss Marple serves on a jury where she is convinced that the accused is not guilty – of course, the other eleven jurists feel otherwise. When the trial ends in a hung jury and the trial rescheduled, Miss Marple is on the move to solve the case. She traces McGinty's connections to a theatrical company that had just past through town. The struggling company, run by Driffold Cosgood (Ron Moody), is all too happy to take on a wealthy novice who wants to act (namely, Miss Marple). No sooner is Marple on the scene than the cast members start dropping off one by one. To solve the murders, Miss Marple must figure out the identity of an illegitimate child of a former actress. The cast includes Francesca Annis, who would later star in the series Agatha Christie's Tommy and Tuppence: Partners in Crime.

The last film in the set, Murder Ahoy, finds Miss Marple appointed to the board of a school for wayward boys that is housed on the frigate The Battledorn, which is moored in the harbor. At their first meeting, one of the other board members takes a sniff of snuff and promptly drops dead. In the confusion that follows the snuff is stolen from the box. The board member had been upset about something he'd discovered on visiting The Battledorn, so Of course, Miss Marple decides to pay the Battledorn a visit herself, and once there finds that everyone on board appears to have a secret...and some of those secrets will lead to murder.

The four Rutherford Marple movies may not come close to representing Agatha Christie's creation, but they are delightful, entertaining films in their own right, best enjoyed if you don't actually think of them as true Miss Marple adaptations.

Warner Bros.' new set offers four splendid transfers, stuck from source material that in remarkable crisp and clean condition. The audio is also in excellent condition, with no sign of deterioration and crystal clear tone quality. The disc includes the trailers for all four films.

For more information about The Miss Marple Collection, visit Warner Video.

by Fred Hunter

The Agatha Christie Miss Marple Collection - Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple in 4 Films on DVD To order The Miss Marple Collection, go to TCM Shopping.

The Agatha Christie Miss Marple Movie Colletion presents the four Marple films from the early sixties starring Margaret Rutherford. Fans of Agatha Christies' frail, elderly, but infinitely sharp-witted sleuth were bound to have divided opinions about the casting of Margeret Rutherford, who took the role and made it her own: in other words, something wholly different than Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. When Christie saw the first film, Murder, She Said, she is quoted as saying "Oh, this will never do!" One can sympathize with Christie because the four Margaret Rutherford Miss Marples bear almost no resemblance to the charming books. But that doesn't stop the films from being highly enjoyable in their own right. Margaret Rutherford is a formidable and fearless presence as she tries to solve these four cases, and though not the model Marple, she really does make the role her own. The first film, Murder, She Said, is the only one based on a Miss Marple novel (The 4:50 from Paddington). Miss Marple sees a murder being committed on a train running on a parallel track, but when the police fail to turn up any sign of a body and see no case to pursue, Miss Marple decides to take the case on herself. She determines that the only place along that particular stretch of railway that a body could've been tossed from the train without being seen is at Ackenthorp Hall. She manages to get a job as a maid at the Hall, and soon discovers the body in sarcophagus, which brings in Instpector Craddock (Charles Tingwell) and his men. But it's Miss Marple along with her sidekick Mr. Stringer (Striger Davis, Rutherford's real-life husband. Ironically, Joan Hixson, who would later become known as the definitive Miss Marple on the long-running BBC series, has a small part as a maid. Murder at the Gallop is based on the Hercule Poirot novel After the Funeral. The not-so-unexpected heart attack of a rich man is written off as death by natural causes until Miss Marple discovers that the diseased had a pathological fear of cats, and someone had hidden a cat in the man's house so that he would come on it unawares. Once again the police have no intention of looking into Miss Marple's theory, so she checks into the Gallop Hotel, a horse riding establishment where all of the dead man's heirs are staying, and launches her investigation. But before long there are more deaths. Murder at the Gallop guest stars Robert Morley as the head of the family, who ends up hoping that Miss Marple will permanently keep her saddle at the Gallop. Murder, Most Foul is also based on a Hercule Poirot novel, Mrs. McGinty's Dead. Miss Marple serves on a jury where she is convinced that the accused is not guilty – of course, the other eleven jurists feel otherwise. When the trial ends in a hung jury and the trial rescheduled, Miss Marple is on the move to solve the case. She traces McGinty's connections to a theatrical company that had just past through town. The struggling company, run by Driffold Cosgood (Ron Moody), is all too happy to take on a wealthy novice who wants to act (namely, Miss Marple). No sooner is Marple on the scene than the cast members start dropping off one by one. To solve the murders, Miss Marple must figure out the identity of an illegitimate child of a former actress. The cast includes Francesca Annis, who would later star in the series Agatha Christie's Tommy and Tuppence: Partners in Crime. The last film in the set, Murder Ahoy, finds Miss Marple appointed to the board of a school for wayward boys that is housed on the frigate The Battledorn, which is moored in the harbor. At their first meeting, one of the other board members takes a sniff of snuff and promptly drops dead. In the confusion that follows the snuff is stolen from the box. The board member had been upset about something he'd discovered on visiting The Battledorn, so Of course, Miss Marple decides to pay the Battledorn a visit herself, and once there finds that everyone on board appears to have a secret...and some of those secrets will lead to murder. The four Rutherford Marple movies may not come close to representing Agatha Christie's creation, but they are delightful, entertaining films in their own right, best enjoyed if you don't actually think of them as true Miss Marple adaptations. Warner Bros.' new set offers four splendid transfers, stuck from source material that in remarkable crisp and clean condition. The audio is also in excellent condition, with no sign of deterioration and crystal clear tone quality. The disc includes the trailers for all four films. For more information about The Miss Marple Collection, visit Warner Video. by Fred Hunter

Quotes

Don't you think I've seen a corpse before? Be one myself soon!
- Ackenthorpe
Don't think I won't tell him, neither.
- Hillman
Despite the double negatives, I'm sure you will.
- Alexander
If you don't shut those windows you'll be fired.
- Ackenthorpe
In that case I shall require four weeks' wages in lieu of notice.
- Miss Marple
Get out of my sight, woman!
- Ackenthorpe
With pleasure!
- Miss Marple
Have they got any other servants?
- Craddock
Yes they have, Inspector.
- Miss Marple
Good Lord! You!
- Craddock
Yes. Dottie old me.
- Miss Marple
Miss Marple, whatever it is: no, no, no.
- Mr. Stringer

Trivia

Joan Hickson, who plays Mrs. Kidder in this film, starred as Jane Marple in its remake 4.50 from Paddington (1987) (TV) and many other TV-movies.

This was the first of the "Miss Marple" series starring Margaret Rutherford.

The character of Miss Marple's friend, Mr. Stringer, was not part of the original story. The part was written for Stringer Davis who was married to Margaret Rutherford.

Notes

Released in Great Britain in September 1961. The working title of this film is Meet Miss Marple. Actors Barbara Leake and Peter Butterworth are listed in several sources as Barbara Hicks and A. N. Other, respectively.