This movie made from Agatha Christie's novel is all about dotty characters, and not really about crime. Christie was the master at crafting characters and places. These were the essence of her novels, which placed them apart and well above more routine mystery stories.
There's Miss Marple, the epitome of the spinster lady of good manners and breeding, if a little on the inquisitive side. Always aware of what's going on around her, collecting all gossip and facts which she will use to solve the murder that baffles the police. Joan Hickson played the best Miss Marple; she was Miss Marple - all cardigans and tweed skirts.
There's Col. Luscombe the old bachelor who couldn't be more unsuited to his role as guardian of a comely girl. Clueless as to parenting, and as unfeeling as only old bachelors can be.
There's Lady Selina Hazy, a dotty old dear if there ever was one. Ever gossiping, knowing something about just every one, she's the quintessential lady who rattles on and on. See her stick to Miss Marple like gum to a shoe. And Miss Marple is gentlewoman enough to allow her.
Chief Inspector Davy is the dull, if gentlemanly copper. Played by George Baker, who's also Chief Inspector Wexford in the Ruth Rendell mysteries. Hangs about the Betram Hotel eating muffins, while undercover to investigate some robberies.
Canon Pennyfather is the old gent gone vague, the absolutely most absent minded fellow there was. Definitely bats in his belfry.
Miss Gorringe is the receptionist at the hotel, ever stuffy and condescending to the guests.
Henry is the doorman, or concierge since we are in exclusive Mayfair, London.
Ladislaus is the oily racing car driver and two-timer.
We see a fabulous cameo of an Indian waiter played by Rashid Karapiet, who had played Dr. Das in Passage to India (1984).
Don't watch this movie for the crime, or the brilliant detective work and clever solution. But do watch it if you enjoy characterizations that amuse. Do watch it if you enjoy a brilliant author at her best, expertly crafting the oddest bunch of characters to ever fill a hotel.
Compliments to the director for bringing these characters to life!
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