Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Novak, Hudson and Taylor
THE MIRROR CRACK'D (1980).  Director: Guy Hamilton.  Based on "The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side" by Agatha Christie.

"Chin up, darling -- both of them!"

Move star Marina Gregg (Elizabeth Taylor) and her director husband Jason Rudd (Rock Hudson) have taken over a British country estate while in England to film Marina's comeback film when during a party a young fan (Maureen Bennett) talking to Marina is given a poisoned drink and dies. It isn't long before it is determined that Marina was the true target of the poison -- or was she?  Miss Marple (Angela Lansbury) asks questions while her nephew, an Inspector (Edward Fox), investigates, but it's sure bet who'll solve the case first. Agatha Christie got the germ of her idea from an actual tragic incident that happened to actress Gene Tierney, although Marina does not seem otherwise based on that particular movie star. Taylor is perfect casting as the difficult, whiny, needy fading actress going to fat, but that is not to say her performance is any more than passable. Kim Novak is better and much more fun as a movie rival of Marina's who trades bitchy remarks with her. Hudson is okay, if a bit dour and superficial, and Tony Curtis is fun enough as a vulgar producer.  Geraldine Chaplin is Rudd's suspicious secretary, and Charles Gray is his butler. This is better than another adaptation done on Masterpiece Mystery in 2010. Lansbury looks more like Miss Marple than Margaret Rutherford did, but she's not as funny nor meant to be.

Verdict: At least it has an interesting cast and Novak looks sensational. ***.

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