Agatha Christie's Miss Marple - A Caribbean Mystery (Region 2) (Import)
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Skadinavian Edition, PAL/Region 2 DVD: Subtitles: Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish. While on vacation at a resort hotel in the West Indies, Miss Marple correctly suspects that the apparently natural death of a retired British major is actually the work of a murderer planning yet another killing.
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Miss Marple is given some time in Barbados for here health. There she is in the right place and at the right time to help with the mysterious death of Major Palgrave. She and millionaire Jason Rafiel bandy wits over who did it and why. Again Miss is more of the catalyst and also points out the obvious (at least to her) to others such as Captain Daventry (Zakes Mokae.)
This story introduces you to Jason Rafiel who will turn up again in Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, "Nemesis" (1986). This was much better than the 1983 version with Helen Hayes. This version is fuller and closer to the book and closer to Jane Marple's character.
I t was an intriguing touch to have the dead person's spirit supposed to come back after nine days to get revenge.
This movie will be like a friend and just want watching again.
The story finds spinster Miss Marple (Joan Hickson) in Barbados on a trip to recover her health. It's a nice gesture by her nephew, but she's bored out of her mind. She's even taken to listening to the stories of Major Palgrave (Frank Middlemass) who rambles on about big game hunting and murders he's solve. One morning he's found dead in his room. It looks like natural causes, but Miss Marple begins to suspect something more is afoot. Is she right?
My understanding is that this movie sticks very closely to the book. Honestly, that's the first strike against it. The killer is obvious early on, and there's really nothing there to throw you off the scent. I kept waiting for the twist that never came. Usually, Agatha Christie makes me suspect everyone in the story, but that's definitely not the case here.
Agatha Christie also isn't known for her depth of character, but this movie makes it even worse. I was two thirds of the way through before I had all the characters down, and even then I mixed a couple up in the final few minutes. They were introduced so quickly and haphazardly it was hard to remember them all.
Honestly, this movie should have been under an hour and a half, probably closer to an hour. I felt like several of the scenes were stretched to make it longer. And the habit of cutting several scenes together didn't help things at all. Instead, it helped my confusion over characters and their relationships. Heck, there are some characters I still don't quite understand how all fit together. Meanwhile, those quick cuts were irritating and distracting. Ironically, they also helped make the movie seem painfully slow.
Having seen this, I can understand why so many people praise Joan Hickson as Miss Marple. She makes for a great lead character, bright but unassuming, just like she's supposed to be. The rest of the cast rises about the material and does their best to bring things to life. But they don't have good material to work with and are hampered by the direction. On an interesting note, Donald Pleasence appears here as a businessman also staying at the resort.
Even though I am not super familiar with Agatha Christie's work, I know she can do better than A Caribbean Mystery. And I'm willing to give these movies a second chance since I've heard such good things about it. But this is not a good place to start.