The Mirror Crack'd Reviews
PS : a curious discovery. You'll catch a glimpse of a young and handsome ex 007 Pierce Bronson as Jamie-the-actor in a dialogueless role.
VERDICT: "In The Zone" - [Mixed Reaction] These kinds of movies are usually movies that had some good things, but some bad things kept it from being amazing. This rating says buy an ex-rental or a cheap price of the DVD to own. If you consider cinema, ask for people's opinion on the film. (Films that are rated 2.5 or 3 stars)
According to my Aunt Susie (hi, Aunt Susie!), she has my grandmother's old set of Agatha Christies. She says that Angela Lansbury has never been her favourite Miss Marple. To which I was forced to confess, as I must confess to you hear, that I've never really gotten into Agatha Christie much at all. I'm pretty sure I have by now read one or two. However, I didn't until really quite recently. She just never did anything for me when we used to watch various productions of the stories on [i]Mystery![/i] when I was a child. I've come to appreciate the David Suchet Poirot quite a bit, and I remember enjoying the Tommy and Tuppence ones when I was in third grade, but I must confess that I can't remember much of anything about them. This isn't the intense dislike I tend to have for anything Sherlock Holmes; this is a mild lack of interest. And it isn't just because she's always overshadowed my beloved Dorothy L. Sayers, either.
A production company has come to Wherever-It-Is-On-the-Something, that quiet little English town inhabited by Miss Jane Marple (Lansbury). Everyone is very excited, though Miss Marple doesn't seem to much care, and a great fuss is being made over what sounds like it will be a very bad version of the life of Mary Queen of Scots. It is to star, as that doomed queen, Marina Rudd (Elizabeth Taylor), and it is being directed by her husband, Jason (Rock Taylor), who improbably enough has the same last name. The producer, Martin N. Fenn (Tony Curtis), has selected his current paramour, Lola Brewster (Kim Novak), to play two scenes as Elizabeth I. At a village fete to raise money for Elizabeth II's coronation, local bore Heather Babcock (Maureen Bennett) is poisoned and dies. But she was drinking from Marina's glass; was the poison really meant for her? Miss Marple has injured herself and is essentially bedridden, but of course she still solves the case before her nephew, Grady--er, Inspector Craddock (Edward Fox).
It's worth noting that, though she looks older here than she would as Jessica Fletcher, Angela Lansbury was only fifty-four at the time she made this movie. In other words, too young. The current TV Miss Marple is seventy; the previous one was pushing eighty when she stopped making the things. By definition, Miss Marple is a Little Old Lady Detective. Which means that Angela Lansbury is apparently as confused as the rest of us by the news that Disney is planning to cast thirty-eight-year-old Jennifer Garner in what will presumably be an "edgy" reboot of the series. Lansbury appears to be assuming that they'll be having Miss Marple remain an old lady, though of course she won't even be middle-aged in this version, at least not by my definition. (I think you're young a lot longer than you're middle-aged or old. Or, really, I think there are four stages, one between young and middle-aged.) This will doubtless be a sexy Miss Marple, as brain-breaking as that is to imagine. I suggest not trying.
Once you figure out what's going on, no fan of movie history should be uncertain about who the killer is and what the motive is. This leaves you to examine the car wreck that is pretty much the entire film. Tony Curtis is obviously having a great deal of fun, but his character can't care all that much about historical authenticity, or else he never would have cast a woman essentially the same age as his Mary as his Elizabeth, no matter who he was sleeping with. Rock Hudson is charming and handsome and uninteresting, just as he is in most of his movies. At least most of the ones I've seen. I'm still not entirely sure who Geraldine Chaplin was in this--Rock Hudson's assistant, possibly? I've realized I don't really know what she looks like, and I couldn't keep track of most of the characters' names. An Agatha Christie fan would probably already know most of the villagers, but I'm not one, and I didn't.
I've been holding spoilers until this last paragraph. It turns out the solution to the mystery is based on the life of Gene Tierney. Tierney was, while she was pregnant, entertaining the troops at the Hollywood Canteen. She only went once. A young woman, a member of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve, sneaked out of quarantine for rubella to see Tierney, who was her favourite actress. She showed exactly why there is such thing as quarantine when she infected Tierney; as is so often the case when the mother contracts that particular disease during pregnancy, she gave birth to a child with serious health problems. Tierney merely stopped caring about acting altogether; the character in her situation in this movie sought her revenge. It's certainly understandable, and Gene Tierney didn't necessarily handle the real situation well, even if she didn't kill the young woman in question. The story, however, is so incredibly close to the reality that I think it's kind of in poor taste. All Christie really did to change the set-up was to put the fateful meeting in London.