Murder She Said (1961)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Detective Film, Whodunit  |   Release Date - Sep 26, 1961 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 81 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Murder, She Said, the first of the Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple films, is an engaging and appealing little thriller. Though it's not a classic of the detective mystery genre, it's "fun" in the best sense of the word. A great deal of the film's charm comes from the wonderful Rutherford, one of the screen's finest character actresses. She obviously enjoys playing Marple; although the role doesn't allow her to indulge in her wonderful eccentricities, she still manages to provide some delightful comic relief moments. More importantly, she handles the dramatic requirements of the role very well and imbues Marple with a sturdiness and a sense of commitment that's essential to the success of the movie. The supporting cast is also quite good, especially young Ronnie Ryamond, who plays off of Rutherford well with his mischievous manner; James Robertson-Justice whose bluster makes the proceedings lively; and Stringer Davis, who gives a sweetly endearing performance. Although the script could use a little work -- the plotting is a bit too obvious in places -- and George Pollock's direction could be a trifle more imaginative, it does boast a sprightly and enjoyable score. Murder, She Said would be followed by three equally enjoyable sequels.