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Film / Murder, She Said

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The first entry in MGM's, Murder, She Said is a 1961 comedy/murder mystery film directed by George Pollock, based on the 1957 novel 4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie. The production stars Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple along with Arthur Kennedy, Muriel Pavlow, James Robertson Justice, and Stringer Davis (Rutherford's real-life husband).

Miss Jane Marple is on-board a train when she sees what appears to to be a murder - a woman being strangled - in a passing train. When the Police refuse to believe her story, she decides to do some investigating of her own.

Features an appearance by Richard Briers in one of his earliest film roles as "Mrs. Binster"note .

Tropes, She Said:

  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Ackenthorpe family are all just waiting for the patriarch Luther to die so they can claim their inheritance, and cannot get together for a simple family gathering without dissolving into acrimonious bickering.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Alexander is a pretty obnoxious example.
  • Cat Scare: Miss Marple opens a carriage door, expecting to find a dead body, and is startled when a chicken flies out.
  • Composite Character: Miss Marple absorbs the roles of both Elspeth McGillicuddy and Lucy Eyelesbarrow as witness and Amateur Sleuth.
  • Crusty Caretaker: The gardener Hillman is a surly devil who skulks about the estate and acts as Luther Ackenthorpe's enforcer and spy.
  • Curtain Camouflage: Miss Marple first encounters Alexander when he is hiding behind the curtain that separates her room and the lumber room, and she throws a vase at him.
  • Dead Man's Chest: Miss Marple finds the body of the woman murdered on the train concealed inside a sarcophagus in Luther Ackenthorpe's collection of Egyptian artifacts.
  • Dirty Old Man: Luther Ackenthorpe, the patriarch of the Ackenthorpe family, whose first comment on being told by his daughter Emma that the new maid has arrived is that he hopes she has some meat on her bones, unlike the previous stick.
  • Golf Clubbing: When Miss Marple spies someone lurking behind the curtain between her room and the next, she grabs a golf club from her bag to confront them.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: Miss Marple has trouble convincing the conductor that she witnessed a murder occurring in the train on the parallel track, with him being convinced that it was a dream she had after falling asleep while reading a murder mystery.
  • Never Suicide: Harold dies by his own shotgun. The police are unsure if it was suicide by a remorseful murderer or the third victim. Needless to say, he is the third victim.
  • Pain Mistaken for Sex: Discussed trope. Inspector Craddock suggests to Miss Marple that what she saw might have been two honeymooners getting amorous. Miss Marple derisively replies that she might be a spinster, but she knows the difference between horseplay and murder.
  • Rear Window Witness: Miss Marple is studying the passengers on the express passing her train when the blind in one compartment flies up, revealing a set of gloved hands strangling a woman.
  • Same Language Dub: Alexander's lines seem to have been redubbed by an adult actress doing a "child" voice.
  • Snooping Little Kid: Alexander. Miss Marple harnesses his inquisitive nature by inveigling him into her investigation and using him as source of inside information on the Ackenthorpe family.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Arsenic in the curried duck prepared by Miss Marple sickens all who eat it, but only Albert succumbs.