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  • 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!
  • I've been an Anglophile since I was a kid, but only recently had the patience to read Agatha Christie's books (so much detail!!). Bertram's Hotel became one of my favorite because Miss Marple goes to the big city and visits places she knew as a child. We get a bit of Little Jane and what she enjoyed.

    The British have always been great at adapting books to film. This Bertram's is an excellent example. It maintains the integrity of a book while condensing it into a short span.

    Bertram's Hotel is all that and more. The plot, characters and environment are beautifully done and wonderful to watch. An aging Joan Hickson (one of her later Marples) appropriately plays the aging Miss Marple. A friend replies "She must be 100 years old," or something to that effect.

    The mystery is intriguing and I love seeing one of my favorite sleuths still able to see everything for what it really is, while fooling everyone with her elderly appearance. I love the actress who plays Bess Sedgwick. She hits the mark as Christie wrote her and she's fun to watch. I actually cared a great deal about her although some things about her character are not so hot. That pretty much goes for all the characters with one exception. Vadislaus Marinovsky is appropriately arrogant, still in keeping with the book.

    This episode of the Miss Marple series with Joan Hickson is absolutely wonderful. I bought the DVD set and watch it often.

    ONE WORD OF WARNING: If you're a newbie, do NOT mistake the two series. The new Marple series with Geraldine McEwan is terrible!!
  • From 1984 thru 1992, the delightful British actress Joan Hickson took on the role of Agatha Christie's amateur detective, the beloved Miss Marple, and made a dozen made-for-TV British movies. Every entry in this golden dozen has its own particular delights, but "At Bertram's Hotel" towers above them all and is by far the best of this 24-hour treat (each film runs a bit under two hours, and each one could easily have been given a theatrical release). The fact that "At Bertram's Hotel" rises above all the others is indeed peculiar, in that it was one of Ms. Christie's final books, and the book is--to put it bluntly--a deadly bore. In contrast, the movie is a luscious, witty, suspenseful treat. Credit is due to Jill Hyem, who wrote the cunning script, shrewdly discarding the flotsam of the novel and embellishing its virtues; Mary McMurray's delectable direction; John Walker's gorgeous burnished cinematography of Production Designer Paul Munting's luxurious sets. And, of course, Joan Hickson's crafty portrayal of the elderly spinster Miss Marple, abetted by a first-rate cast (including Joan Greenwood in one of her last performances). There have been three actresses I know of who have essayed the role of Miss Marple: the full-sized, hilarious Margaret Rutherford in 4 films released in the early 1960s (if you've never seen these jewels or Ms. Rutherford's glorious jowls, check TCM's listings and tape them; you'll cherish them forever); Angela Lansbury in the 1980 theatrical release "The Mirror Cracked," yet another treat co-starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis and the ravishing Kim Novak (I've always considered this film as Ms. Lansbury's dress rehearsal for her forthcoming TV-series as Jessica Fletcher in "Murder, She Wrote"); and then this sunburst of expensively mounted TV productions from 1984-1992. Most critics prefer Miss Hickson's interpretation of the role, feeling she was the perfect embodiment of the Miss Marple of Ms. Christie's creation--a prim, prissy, nosey (but utterly humorless) spinster. To me, all three actresses are equally amazing, each making the role her own (though I do have a soft spot for the rambunctuous, sheer hilarity the indomitable Margaret Rutherford brought to the role). Comparisons aside, "At Bertram's Hotel" is probably the slyest and most enjoyable of ALL the Miss Marple films. Set at an exclusive hotel, the plot twists and turns as, first of all, the doorman is murdered; secondly, the elderly vicar who has resided at the opulent establishment mysteriously vanishes; and, thirdly, what do these have in common with a series of jewel robberies that have been going on for several months? Don't drive yourself crazy trying to figure things out. The sprightly 80-year-old (at the time of filming) Miss Hickson will do the job for you; and watching her in action, in lavish settings peopled with a superb cast of British actors, is a memorable treat the likes of which we'll probably never see again. (Incidentally, Ms. Hickson had a supporting role in the first Margaret Rutherford/Miss Marple outing, the outrageously funny and suspenseful "Murder, She Said." At the time, who would have guessed . ..
  • The direction, acting and total production is wonderfully done in this adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel. The leading actress is superb...from the first scene which juxtaposes the arrival of Miss Marple and Lady Bess Sedgewick arrive at Bertram's Hotel is a joy of contrasts and adept editing. Throughout the film this actress (playing Lady Bess} is mesmerizing! The whole production does a fine job of recapturing the late 1950's England. A fine addition to the Joan Hickson/Miss Marple series!

    What a gift to have the Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot series on DVD.
  • Very faithful to the book and a joy to watch. Aspects of the plot of "At Bertram's Hotel" admittedly are far-fetched, but the theme and setting are among Christie's best. We also see a highly active and reflective Miss Marple, functioning as a superb amateur detective and not just dithering. Hickson is great as always, and the supporting cast is uniformly good, including a sadly aged but still delicious Joan Greenwood in one of her last performances, Carolina Blakiston as the madcap aristocrat Lady Selina Blakiston, Helena Mitchell as her daughter Elvira and George Baker as a marvelous Chief Inspector Fred Davy (one of Christie's best policemen). A wonderful show, one deserving of a far better transfer than the one avaailable in America currently.
  • I haven't read the book for a long time, but I do remember finding it rather slow and somewhat unexciting. Maybe I am being unfair because I remembered getting chills from reading A Murder is Announced and Sleeping Murder, so maybe my expectations of the book were a little too high. This adaptation I think manages to be better than the book, and actually respects it while forgivably condensing it. Some parts are a little slow and the first twenty minutes take a bit of time to get going, but the acting and the filming compensated hugely. Bertram's Hotel is very well made, with beautiful photography, crisp editing and a very nice looking hotel. Above this the directing is detailed and the scripting is intelligent. Joan Hickson is once again wonderful as Miss Marple, and while starting off a little dull George Baker is amusing as Inspector Davy. Caroline Blakiston is delightful as Bess Sedgewick, while Helena Michell is suitably cold as Elvira and Joan Greenwood effective as Selina. Overall, a superior adaptation, that is well made and well performed. 8/10 Bethany Cox
  • It's such a faithful and warm production. When winter breaks and the nights draw in, I can think of nothing nicer then putting the fire on, pouring a brandy and curling up to watch Bertram's.

    I will say that some elements of the story are a little far fetched, and require a stretch in the imagination, some of the robberies etc, but the production is so velvety I didn't even give them a second thought.

    Caroline Blakiston needs a huge level of applause for bringing the character of Bess Sedgwick to life. When you read the book she is the standout character, the interest and focus, Caroline makes her seem wealthy, edgy and wild. To see what I mean please check Polly Walker's performance in the poor remake, a great actress but doesn't bring her to life. 'Bigamy, trigamy what's the difference, scotch?'

    Bertam's itself looks so believable, when I read the book this is exactly how I picture it, sleepy, subtly lavish and full of rich and retired gentle folk, eccentric in their ways and staid in their appearance, it's the reason Bess works so well, she is meant to stand out. The music as always is spot on, melodic and non obtrusive. The costumes too look gorgeous, especially the one Bess wears at the end.

    I've mentioned before my opinions on Joan's interpretation of Miss Marple (so I won't bore again,) but once again she's just magical, scenes with Blakiston and femme fatale Joan Greenwood are just too good.

    The ending is wonderfully done, so exciting, dare I sat it manages to out do the book.

    It was never going to get anything other then a 10 was it. 10/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'Bertrams' has never been one of my favourite Miss Marple books. It's slow and unlikely and not much really happens. The new ITV McEwen version tries to remedy this by packing in lots of additional stuff and fails miserably. In my opinion, the BBC Hickson version does the reverse and improves on the original material. I think it's one of the best looking of the Hickson adaptations with great attention to detail and an effective musical score. It's very restrained but it works by sharpening the original characters. There are some lovely performances from Joan Greenwood, James Cossins and Preston Lockwood. Helena Michell is OK as a rather chilly Elvira but I can't heap enough praise on the terrific Caroline Blakiston who is superb as the crucially important character of Bess Sedgwick. Yes, her performance is over the top but then Bess as a character is over the top, lively and dynamic - a true adventuress and Blakiston captures this perfectly.

    Joan Hickson is clever and astute once more as Miss Marple though George Baker is a trifle dull as Davy and I began to get a bit annoyed with his Gilbert & Sullivan quotes. Overall, a really good entry in this series and much better than McEwen.
  • At Bertram's Hotel is not just one of the best Miss Marple episodes ever. It is a nostalgic trip to the late 1950s and shows a London/Britain as many would expect. The afternoon tea served at Bertram's in the episode is exactly how it should be. The best line is when Lady Celia tells Miss Marple about getting muffins in America that were "like tea cakes with raisins in them", to which Miss Marple replies. "The Americans have a lot to answer for." One of the best and funniest Miss Marple moments ever. The episode also includes rare footage of the De Havilland Comet 4 (the improved version of the first commercial jet liner) and of the roof terrace at the former department store Derry & Toms (which still exists as an exclusive venue for wealthy Kensingtonians). Wonderful.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Spoilers herein.

    This is the sixth or seventh in the series that I have seen. BBC has a policy of putting different creative crew in charge of each one, so they vary significantly. I found the `Alien' and `Batman' franchises to be a mini-lesson in film techniques, and this is a lot like that.

    Usually, the Marple crews use BBC or TeeVee conventions and shoehorn in the unusual conventions of Christie, which themselves vary from story to story. Here, the adapter and director have actually paid attention to the manner in which is the story is presented in the book.

    The book has the hotel as a character: the walls carry personality and act as a sort of Moriarity. It is contrived. The director cleverly uses this; the camera always locates itself as part of the architecture first. It both contains and observes the characters. The pans are inhuman. They reflect Maples' nature: nosey, skulking.

    On top of this, everything is perceived with dull colors, as if the film itself was a copy of Bertram's: an obsessively maintained antique.

    There is a physicality to the end that reflects that of this story's Moriarty.

    This is probably the best of the Hickson Marples.

    Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Unusual in the sense that it keeps teasing you with the possibility of a murder, but the murder only happens after 80 minutes of screen time have passed! This doesn't really work out too well: the murder investigation almost seems like an afterthought, and it's not very hard to guess the real killer (the suspicious goings-on at the title hotel and a priest's disappearance seem more important). On the positive side, it is clear from the first few shots that the female director of this one, Mary McMurray, has a more cinematic camera eye than many of her male colleagues who worked on this series, and both Caroline Blakiston, as the attractive, anarchic, adventurous middle-aged Bess Sedgwick and Helena Michell as her pretty, impulsive daughter are well-cast. (**1/2)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'At Bertram's Hotel' is more of a character study than a whodunit's. The audience is more concerned with background stories and motivations and this leads one to wonder who will do what, to whom, and why? Some view the book and this adaptation as one of Agatha Christie's lesser efforts. I agree the film is rather muted but I find the novel fascinating. The book was published, and set, in the mid-1960's and included references to The Beatles and counter culture. The film stays firmly in the never-never 1950's of the other BBC Marples (there is mention of the 'ghastly' new commercial ITV which began broadcasting in 1955) which I think is a mistake.

    We see Joan Hickson tut-tutting over new London architecture but there is little real sense of change, of a new world emerging in which a place like Bertram's has no real part. It is central to the plot that Bertram's *hasn't* changed, because it should have. More forcefully, Bertram's 'old fashioned' values cover something rotten and corrupt which should be swept away.

    This is a good piece of television with excellent performances and production values, but it could have been much sharper. Maybe Agatha Christie wasn't a great 'message' novelist, but I feel there is a point to Bertram's that could have been displayed more positively here.
  • sankeyjm28 September 2020
    I was captivated by the musical theme used often Are any souls able to assist me in identifying the music used?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    One of the later Marple mysteries, it was first published in the swinging sixties, but has wisely been reset in the far gentler 1950s. It is one of Christie's lesser works and unfortunately this television production does not improve on it. Caroline Blakiston's central performance as the irrepressible Bess Sedgewick, is a master class in scenery chewing, and the plot borders on the ridiculous - a criminal mastermind uses an exclusive London hotel as a front for an assortment of nefarious activities. The supporting cast includes Joan Greenwood, in a nothing role, but still mesmerising us with her honeyed voice, radio stalwart Preston Lockwood, charmingly dippy as the absent minded Canon, and Irene Sutcliffe, suitably prim and proper as the hotel receptionist. George Baker is also around with his uninteresting interpretation of a dull policeman. This, alas, is one for die-hard Christie fans only.
  • Miss Marple accepts a stay at an expensive and classy hotel courtesy of her nephew Raymond and arrives to find that Bertram's is as beautiful and preserved as people say. As she settles in she meets the various other guests and finds them to be quite interesting characters; a forgetful Colonel, an international traveller, a Lady and a doorman who seems to have a connection to one of the guests in the past. All the talk is of a series of robberies happening around the area but the strange disappearance of the Colonel distracts from this. Concerned by the circumstances of his vanishing, Mrs Marple places a call to Chief Inspector Davy to take a look into it.

    Having recently watched a lot of Columbo, Perry Mason and "mystery" series like that, the return to watching the BBC version of Miss Marple has left me a little culture shocked but still enjoying it. Here we have almost an hour going by before the first bit of the mystery happens but this isn't a real problem because we have the background of robberies and the development of the various characters in the hotel. For some this will seem quite dull but in this film I actually quite enjoyed it. The mystery element is quite well done despite the limitations of the material because, it must be said, that if you boil the story down to the core it really isn't that good and the conclusion didn't really inspire me when it finally came down to it. I've struggled with some miss Marple films to get past the slow pace but here the detail (the sets, the people and the story) helped fill the silent, slow patience with something to engage me. It could have been better of course, with a bit more complexity and an ending that works rather than just happens but I still enjoyed it.

    The performances help to do this as much as Hyem's writing. Hickson is very much Miss Marple; perhaps not as flamboyant as some would like but to me she fits the humourless, proper, English spinster really well. She is matched here by George Baker, who gives a great performance as the relaxed and slightly unprofessional CI. The support cast are not quite as memorable but generally are pretty good with the likes of Blakiston, Michell, Cossins and McGrath. The film looks good, with plenty of nice period detail, while McMurray directs with a patience and steady camera that suits the material and the performances.

    Overall a gradual film whose strength is strangely not the murder mystery. A bit slow for some viewers but had sufficient layers to it to be interesting and enjoyable.
  • I'm a Christie's fan and I love Joan Hickson,the best Miss Marple who ever was.But this story fails to excite me!I like the atmosphere of the luxury hotel,these posh ladies savoring their muffins ,their scones,their pastries ,the film will make you salivate!The depiction of the Bertram's hotel is perfect but it's not enough.

    But the story moves too slow,the crime only comes at the end,and the "solution" is downright disappointing.Lady Segdwick's character is over the top ,and her relationship with Elvira is not detailed enough. The story is muddled,involving subplots , even a small train robbery and lacks focus ,Christie's trademark.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Miss Marple, the Terrible, is going to London, to Bertram's Hotel actually and you can be sure there is a lot of eavesdropping, watching, listening, observing and whatever helps find some truth out of an evanescent surface of things. But no surprise, once again it is a daughter-mother story, an abandoned daughter who comes across at the same time her mother and her long discarded father, though not forgotten. Miss Marple also has something against the aristocracy, at least aristocratic women who have nothing to do and feel more and more useless and bored in our modern world with brand new television (the old type I hardly remember). So from boredom to lovers and from lovers to killers and from killers to train-robbers, in any order possible, that's the way to add some piquant sauce to the drab life of an aristocratic lady. The second obsession of Miss Marple is canons, parsons, priests or whatever again, provided they can quote the Bible if possible without mixing the Song of Song and the Apocalypse. That's because young ladies need a watchful eye, I guess. And there the sky falls on the heads and shoulders of a few culprits with just a couple of sentences. Of course in a way we know what is going to happen and who is the criminal. The game of the director is to systematically mislead us with the music or an ellipse of some sort to make us expects what does not come, and frustrate our suspense with a little bit more suspense. Deliciously quaint.

    Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID
  • MFH12 August 1999
    This is definatly the weakest of the Joan Hickson Marples. It has nothing to do with the acting (which, as always is great), the book was, in my opinion, one of Christie's worst. Worth watching only for the performances and the setting.
  • I always like Agatha Christie Miss Marple especially with Joan Hickson. Then things that went on in this episode woke me up. Supposedly this hotel was a high class hotel with rich people. The suspense surrounds different things that happen in the hotel.There are competing characters, Bess, Elvira, Michael Gorman, Ladislaus Malinowski and more. No Inspector Slack.

    A woman that is highly respected is really the head of a group of thieves. She is having an affair with a man who is also going to marry her daughter.

    What I find offensive is a man who sleeps around is a womanizer and questioned by police is wearing Christian Cross. I am a Christian and this is how they portrayed this man in this episode. That is the only time you see the Cross at all. I find the more I re-watch these videos the more I see they offend me. I don't know if Christie put these in her stories I never read her books. Many women played Miss Marple and they played in episodes by the same name but the episodes are similar but not the same. Example Geraldine McEwan played Miss Marple in "The Body in the Library " which is totally different which has lesbians kissing which is disgusting but the one Joan Hickson was in had nothing like that.

    So I think people are re-writing Christie's stories and putting their own morals in videos in different years. At the end Miss Marple praises a certain criminal as "remarkable"

    I support the law. I don't think criminals that do many bad things then confess to something they did not do to help someone else is "remarkable". I am very dissappointed in the way things turned out.
  • My summary line says it all. My wife has been reading and enjoying Agatha Christie's Miss Marple books. She decided to buy this video to see if it was similar to the books she has read. She liked this film. As for me, it was exactly what I expected it to be. A long, boring teleplay with non-stop talk and absolutely no action until a very brief flurry appeared near the end.