Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Murder Box.

(From my sketchbook) What about this face? Is she not marvelous, the wonderful Margaret Rutherford, as the equally wonderful Ms. Marple. I just picked up the DVD box set of her four outings as Agatha Christie's lovely old lady detective( Murder She Said, Murder At the Gallop, Murder Ahoy and Murder Most Foul) I have only just watched the first ,Murder She Said ,which was just great. What a theme tune. I was very surprised to see a a young Joan Hickson in it, playing a minor role as a grumpy house keeper. She was my favorite of the modern Marples. To me it was all in the eyes, the tilt of her head as she listened and observed, like an osprey spying her prey.
             Oh but what a treasure Margaret Rutherfird was. What a joy it would have been to share some hot buttered crumpets and a pot of tea with her. She has inspired me. I have decided to become a detective in my old age, a crime solving pensioner in long johns, I shall become...
             Mr Marple.
             I have heard that although Agatha Christie  did not approve of the tone employed during these movies, too comedic, she was rather fond of Margaret herself. In fact Christie dedicated her 1963 novel The Mirror Cracked "To Margaret Rutherford in admiration". People of Christie's generation did not throw such compliments around lightly, admiration and respect had to be earned.
             One other film she appeared in was Anthony Asquith's adaption of The Importance Of Being Earnest as the character Ms Prism. It is an entirely arch adaption of Wilde's perfect creation and as such completely how he believed life should be. I think of it as a snow-globe production in that it is a perfectly realised art piece, trapped forever in its own little sphere, to be taken out and viewed and admired when desired. Just perfect.
             Rutherford was aided and abetted in her four forays as Marple by her real life husband stringer Davis who played a character called Mister Stringer. All who knew them said they adored each other and remained inseperable until her death in 1972. The world must have seemed like an empty place indeed without her for he followed her a year or so later. Occasionally you can see the affection shared by the pair leap across the screen between them. It is in the gentle inflection, the sparkle in the eye, a smile that wraps itself around the bottom of their faces like garlands of joy.
                What a thing it would have been to be counted amongst their friends.