Murder Most Foul

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(1964) ★★★

TCM: Thursday 22 October, 3pm

The marvellous Margaret Rutherford as Milchester’s meddlesome amateur sleuth Miss Jane Marple in Agatha Christie’s mildly comical case Mrs McGinty’s Dead. Reviving happy memories of Rutherford’s splendid 1952 ensemble comedy Curtain Up!, Ron Moody is Mr H. Driffold Cosgood, actor-manager of the nearby Cosgood Players (their last production was Murder She Said at Milchester’s church hall). “Are you Jane Marbel?” he exclaims from the gallery.

Lurking behind the lace and stage curtains – a blackmailer and a killer. But the scariest character is Miss Marple’s landlady: “No cooking in the room, a shilling in the meter if you’re cold… and don’t waste the lights.” Despite the macabre title, it’s perfectly cosy matinée fare, topped off with a suitably jaunty score by Ron Goodwin. As are the others in the engagingly modest series. 1963’s Murder at the Gallop follows at 4.45pm, with Robert Morley and another great Dame, Flora Robson.

On Friday at 3pm, TCM has Murder Ahoy (1964), Margaret Rutherford’s final outing as Miss Marple. It’s not based on any of Dame Agatha’s stories, although mousetraps are bandied about. 1961’s Murder She Said, which follows at 4.45pm, is drawn from Christie’s 4.50 From Paddington. One of the few actors capable of upstaging Rutherford is James Robertson Justice, and here he is, in full bluster. It was reclassified PG from U for video release in 1990 and 2003.

Dame Agatha didn’t much care for the films but she was a big fan of Dame Margaret’s Miss Marple, dedicating her 1962 book The Mirror Crack’d: “to Margaret Rutherford, in admiration.” Fitting, somehow, that Miss Rutherford’s final resting place should be Chalfont St Peter. She died there in 1972, age 80.

Certificate: U
Duration: 87

IMDB – Murder Most Foul

TMDB – Murder Most Foul

Rotten Tomatoes – Murder Most Foul

Other Showings Date & Time
TCM Friday, 23 October at 9:00AM