Well I’ve been having a bit of a think – who is the best Marple? We’ve got a new one over here in the form of Julia MacKenzie (who I’ve always liked) but I have to confess, she does look a little young. She’s got the hang of the character though and if she plays her for the next 10 years then she’ll look the part!
Our other candidates are:
Margaret Rutherford: I love Margaret Rutherford’s version of Marple, absolutely nothing like Christie’s Marple, the character she created is so endearing she’s in a class of her own. Here is the picture I mentioned in an earlier post of a disgruntled Agatha Christie:
I wouldn’t like to be on her bad side!
Joan Hickson: The actress that came closest to being the Miss Marple of the books, Joan Hickson appeared in 12 feature-length Miss Marple programmes. I felt that she trod the line between being observant and interfering very well, very likeable she never came across as a dotty old lady. Her intelligence was clearly there behind the eyes and she didn’t miss a thing. The most important trait in playing Miss Marple. Great stuff.
Geraldine McKewan: A modern favourite I actually thought her performances were a little bit hit and miss, in a couple of episodes she was superb but then the following week she was almost a pantomime version of Marple with many squinty attempts at beady eyes. She was also just a little bit of a know it all.
Angela Lansbury: Oh I love Angela Lansbury, I travelled all the way to New York to see her triumph in ‘Blythe Spirit’ but her Miss Marple is not the greatest. An American production it’s all a bit ‘jolly old Englandshire’, and I feel the director had been instructed to make the most of an all star cast that includes Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. Consequently Miss Marple doesn’t get much screen time. I like the picture though.
Helen Hayes: The American favourite Helen Hayes just doesn’t do it for me, I’m not overly fond of the pictures she made as Marple, primarily because the pacing is so slow (which obviously isn’t her fault). But the problem with Hayes is that she’s so busy pretending to be English (with that gosh awful accent) that she doesn’t embody the Miss Marple of the books at all, even Bette Davis can’t perk up the rubbish that is ‘They do it with Mirrors’.