Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. United Kingdom, 1961. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, George H. Brown Productions. Screenplay by David Pursall, Jack Seddon, adaptation by David D. Osborn, based on the novel 4.50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie. Cinematography by Geoffrey Faithfull. Produced by George H. Brown. Music by Ron Goodwin. Production Design by Harry White. Costume Design by Felix Evans. Film Editing by Ernest Walter.
The world’s best advocate for the benefits of spinsterhood is in top form in this adorable adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 4.50 From Paddington, one which fans of the more recent A&E Miss Marple mysteries should definitely take a look at. Margaret Rutherford is wonderful as the shrewish senior who is travelling by train one random afternoon and witnesses a man strangling a woman on a passing train. Passed off as a crazy old lady by the police inspector to whom she reports the murder, Marple decides to solve it herself by posing as a maid for the mansion near where she believes the body might have been dumped. The residents of the crumbling abode end up being so colourfully dysfunctional in their own way that it almost throws her off the scent. Beautifully paced and expertly written, this is a marvelous showcase for Rutherford’s irresistible talent for delightful doddering. Of interesting note, the house’s cook is played by Joan Hickson, who would go on to play Marple in the A&E series.