Miss Marple: Nemesis (TV Movie 1987) Poster

(1987 TV Movie)

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My favourite piece of television, a stunning adaptation.
Sleepin_Dragon11 May 2007
I have waited for ages to comment on this programme, and felt it was about time some justice was done to it. This is one of Christie's darker, more sinister and engaging works, not simply someone being killed for money, this is a dark and thoroughly engaging tale of mystery, intrigue, love and murder, made all the better by the amendments made by the adaptor. The level of acting is utterly superb, Joan Hickson is sublime in the part, as always! The rest of the cast, including the likes of Liz Fraser, Anna Cropper and Helen Cherry all perform beautifully, but it's my opinion that the show is stolen by Margaret Tyzack, the closing scene between her and Joan Hickson is simply magical, the acting is as good as it gets, chilling, moving and totally brilliant. The performances are incredibly sincere.

Please let me know if you agree with my words. I find it quite sad that ITV made such a hash of their interpretation with Geraldine McEwan, the story is such a strong one, they butchered it.
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If you have heart... you will love this one.
mary-marland119 February 2007
I give this a 10 out of 10, not because the plot was hard to uncover because it wasn't... but because it leaves one caring for the characters. The acting, by all the cast, is superb, especially Joan Hickson, and it's a marvellous episode because of it's heart.

Miss Marple is called upon by Jason Rafiel's dying request to investigate, and solve, a murder that happened some seven or eight years previously, and she has to discover who, why and when as she goes along. Mr Rafiel is the same Rafiel as was in A Caribbean Mystery and so there is a sense of a connection here.

Nemesis is definitely one for the amateur psychologists among us, and if you are one of those who is only happy with lots of blood, guts and rip-roaring action sequences, then you won't like it. But if you are like me, one who loves knowing about PEOPLE and discovering what makes them tick, then Nemesis is the one for you.
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There are no small parts...
Pieter05019 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
As always Joan Hickson is wonderful as Jane M. Subtle, sharp and aware. I do not wish to dwell on her acting skills as they are praised enough on this site. I would like to criticize some of the smaller parts as the rest of the cast seemed to be hand picked by director David Tucker.

Liz Fraser's performance as Mrs. Bent (the mother of the missing girl Nora) is a joy to watch. Subtle and deeply moving as the alcohol-depending grieving mother who loves and misses her daughter desperately. A good long shot of her monologue (thanks Tucker!) so she can be enjoyed to the fullest. I was moved when I saw her the first time when it was broadcast and I am moved again, now I have it on DVD. Brava.

Joanna Hole as Madge the tour-guide I find highly amusing. She is on the edge of over-acting but her role can have it. She is SO funny as the over-organized guide who wants to do good with everyone on that bus, I find her hilarious. Her reaction after she boarded every-one on the bus is great... As always: to perform comedy one has to take it very seriously, and that's what Ms Hole does.

In general I think it's a beautiful filmed episode with a brilliant cast.

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Really excellent version
Iain-2155 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
'Nemesis' was the last book to feature Miss Marple written by Agatha Christie (the official final case 'Sleeping Murder' was written in the forties) and I've always had a very soft spot for it. I loved the characters and they are lovingly brought to life in this excellent BBC adaptation with Joan Hickson, terrific as ever, as Miss Marple.

On the whole it is very faithful to the book. A few characters are dropped, the first (new) murder is slightly different and a couple of new characters are introduced. Personally I felt that the added character of Lionel Peel was unnecessary and rather irritating. Tour guide Madge was irritating in a different way but often quite amusing. It's largely because of Lionel that I don't award 10 out of 10! The other characters are beautifully done especially Helen Cherry as a dignified Miss Temple and all of the three weird sisters but particularly Margaret Tyzack who gives a towering performance as Clothilde. She threatens to go over the top towards the end but just avoids it. The female bodyguards are good value too and the episode contains one of my favourite Hickson lines...'An Archdeacon?!'

This is another relatively early BBC Marple that looks wonderful and is has a gloriously nostalgic feel to it. Highly recommended.
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Best of the lot
mjtsmm20276 February 2006
I thought this was probably the best of the Hickson adaptations. It also deviates from the book in many ways and is better for it. The new Marple is receiving criticism for being too altered from their source and yet this adaptation is completely. There is no Lionel in the book at all and Miss Temple's murder is completely different. There is something more moving about this tale than others, mainly as a result of the wonderful 3 sisters who as Miss marple says 'the world has changed and they haven't changed with it'. Fond memories of more carefree days long ago, a feeling which age can only destroy. Lovely adaptation and watchable on more than one occasion.
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Excellent, and a HUGE improvement on the Geraldine McEwan version
TheLittleSongbird26 March 2010
While not quite as good as A Murder is Announced, which was not only delightful but almost surpassed the book, this is an excellent adaptation. And you know what, it is a huge improvement on the Geraldine McEwan version. Now I don't take pride in bad mouthing the Geraldine McEwan adaptations, two or three of them were surprisingly good, but others started off well but ruined by either a poor script, a confusing final solution or both. The Geraldine McEwan version suffered from a plodding pace, and both of the above problems, and I would consider second worst of the ITV adaptations, worst being Sittaford Mystery, which even on its own merits turned out dull and confusing. This adaptation of the book Nemesis is a huge improvement, it not only respects the book, despite a few liberties, but it pretty much rectifies the problems the ITV version had. Despite the added character of Lionel coming across as rather irritating, more to do with how he was written than how he was acted, and one or two moments of sluggish pacing, this is solid as an adaptation of a decent book. It is beautifully filmed, with nice photography and period detail, and the music as always is excellent. The performances are wonderful this time around, and make the most of an in general well-done script, with Joan Hickson brilliant as always as Miss Marple, and solid turns from Liz Fraser, Helen Cherry, Joanna Hole and Anna Cropper. Margaret Tyzack is outstanding though in a chilling and moving performance as Clothilde. Overall, well worth watching, better than the recent version in pretty much all departments. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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The best of the Miss Marple adaptations
davism-117 July 2001
Joan Hickson is at her peak in her portrayal of Agatha Christie's amateur detective character Miss Jane Marple. The title "Nemesis" is the key to the way in which the character is presented: Miss Marple, despite her appearance as a rather confused spinster, is in fact, a relentless avenger of a long-forgotten murder. She seeks justice, despite where the results may lead, on behalf of an old friendship. Hickson depicts Miss Marple as an unyielding force; far from the doddering old lady she might seem on the surface. The best version of Miss Marple, bar none.
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Yes Indeed!
fkd19639 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I totally agree with the other poster. NEMESIS is one of the best of the Christie adaptations with a superlative plot and cast.

The scene involving Liz Fraser as the mother of the murder victim is a study in acting at the finest level. This underrated woman was a fave in Brit films in the 1960s who never got a mainstream break in US films. Check her out as Julie Andrews's friend in the 1964 THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY.

All of the perfs in this prod have a chance to shine with and without the peerless Ms. Hickson who was never nommed for an Emmy for her Marple work. Shame on them! And dig the lesbian CID agents! :)
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musician76_7610 August 2000
This brilliantly done Agatha Christie is by far the best Miss Marple movie. I enjoyed it better than the Book, at least the movie was easier to understand than the book. Joan Hickson is excellent, the only Miss Marple. Very strong performances by Peter Tilbury, Margaret Tyzack, Helen Cherry, and John Horsley. This is an excellent video, no Agatha Christie fan should miss this.
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Deep, dark and intricate
revans-583683 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is a real must for any fans of mystery, Agatha Christie or simply just excellent television. It's a very dark tale of justice and overpowering love. It's all about the bringing about of justice for a dead innocent girl. Miss Marple is called in by a recently deceased Jason Rafiel (Caribbean Mystery) to explain why Verity Hunt was murdered, and bring her killer to justice. A dark cloud hangs over Jason's son Michael who was acquitted of Verity's murder, but remains the number one suspect. There are some truly wonderful performances in Nemesis, the three sisters especially, the bodyguards, but it's Joan that shines, she is truly so good in this, I think it's her finest performance in the role. A must mention too for Liz Fraser who plays the mother of another dead girl Nora Hunt, she is so good it's heartbreaking. Overall I'd consider this one of the best Agatha Christie adaptations of all time, the later version is shocking by comparison.
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An excellent adaptation of the book
jhwinters-755282 January 2018
I was driven to write this by Charlie Peterson's baffling review, claiming that it is nothing like the book. I had watched and enjoyed the film, but then saw that review and so went back and read the book again.

It's a book with an awful lot of people talking and saying what they're thinking, which you simply can't drop straight into a film adaptation. However, the fundamental story line is maintained, along with almost all the characters. (A couple of very minor ones have been dropped, and one other minor one is introduced.)

You can't turn a book like this verbatim into a film, but this is a really good effort and very well done indeed. It captures the atmosphere and the story telling of the book excellently. To fuss that you can spot tiny differences is simply splitting hairs.

There are really bad adaptations out there - The Secret of Chimneys with Julia McKenzie for instance is quite dreadful - but where that film scores less than 1% for faithfulness to the book, Nemesis scores well over 90%.

Worth seeing - whether or not you have read the book.
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Justice for a dead girl
jaybabb19 December 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Herein is the situation: Jason Rafiel-an old man in a wheel chair is perhaps near death-makes some arrangements for a number of people in his will and they will get a financial award if they carry out his wishes. Objective? To achieve justice in a murder case that has since gone cold. A young girl was murdered 7 or 8 years ago and Rafiel wants justice. Lets meet some of these people now:

All of these people, (well almost all) go on a houses and garden tour-they do have something to do with each other, though they don't know it.

**Miss Marple-elderly spinster from St. Mary Mead-is called to solve a crime-what crime? She gets a letter from Rafiel lawyers asking her to see them. She eventually figures out what crime she is to investigate.

**Norma Brent & Verity Hunt-disappear at the same time. Verity was found in a ditch 6 months later-as for Norma Brent-she was never found-or is she?

**Miss Temple-school teacher. One of her pupils was Verity. Her death was painful to her. She tells miss Marple that she died because she was loved. She also says that Verity was engaged to Rafiel's son, Michael. She knows something, and she becomes a victim of murder. On her death bead-she tells her to ask them about Verity because "The truth was buried with her."

**Michael Rafiel-Mr. Rafiel's son. Was arrested and questioned about the death of Verity-was prime suspect in the murder, but was never brought to trial. He was engaged to Verity. He is also the Sole Heir to his father's fortune-but is required to live in "Rafiel House" to get it. My advice: Don't depend on appearances when it comes to Michael.

**Professor Wanstead-is with the home office-specializing in criminal psychology. He is to stay in the shadows and observe what is happening.

**Miss Cooke & Miss Barrow are miss Marple's body guards. Rafiel knew that he was putting her in danger. Their job is complicated when she agrees to stay with "The Three sisters" At the Manor house-where Verity lived and the Bradfurd Scotts where her guardians.

**Finally we have Archdeacon Brabazon-minister who once Advised Michael and Verity on getting married-plans are canceled by murder. His role is even more clear in the book. He knows something about Michael.

This is by far the best of the Miss Marple TV Productions. Enjoy!
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Love is ingrained in our own souls
Dr_Coulardeau1 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Shining Miss Marple is after the murderer or murderess of a shining young orphan who fell in love with a rakish young man, the son of a very rich man who entrusted the case with Miss Marple on his death bed, in a way. The director plays with us like a cat with his mice, showing unexplained people, characters and actions to mislead us into believing all kinds of plots were being carried out around that poor innocent old lady that never lets anything go. She is helped by her unhappy nephew who was locked out of his family home by his own wife. Once again we have the relation between a daughter and her foster parents, three sisters, who saw her beauty, her shine and also her escaping into real life with both love and apprehension. The decor of the investigation is marvelous: a tour to homes and gardens in England and it starts beautifully with Blenheim Palace and ends around Abbey Ducis where the whole business started. She sure is both under narrow surveillance from the Home Office and well protected by several guardian angels even if seriously in danger from the real criminal. But it will take her some real stamina to face the situation and confound the culprit with the crime, while her nephew will be running after the son of that millionaire practicing his repentance with London's homeless people. That too is marvelously done: showing what England was in the mid-1950s. Quite an interesting adaptation with such a nice actress knitting in the corner of the drawing room of some hotel.

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An excellent adaptation
ash8809 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Some have said that the Marple adaptations starring Joan Hickson as the titular spinster sleuth tend to 'plod along'. This is true of this 1987 adaptation of Nemesis as well. However the slow pace at which the mystery unravels is due more to the fact this adaptation sticks closely to the original novel - unlike the later adaptation starring Geraldine McEwan, which departs greatly from the novel. Christie fans will undoubtedly find this version more enjoyable.

The film is, however, not without its faults. The adaptor has cut out some of the characters from the novel, and introduced instead Miss Marple's godson, Lionel, as her sidekick. Needless to say, this whittles down the suspect list and makes the culprit more obvious. The latter was not helped by some questionable filming approaches.

The good news is the story itself flows quite coherently, although a lengthier explanation might have been appreciated by casual viewers. The acting is also quite stellar. I am not a great fan of Hickson's Marple, but I quite liked her in this episode.

Finally, the fact that this story is set on a tour of stately homes and historic gardens means there is often fabulous architecture to be seen in the background.

All in all, a good outing in the Marple series - I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
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The perfect Miss Marple in one of the best filmed adaptions
dakjets25 December 2016
Joan Hickson as Miss Marple is simply the best. I certainly understand why Agatha Christie herself wanted Hickson to play Miss Marple. (she once said to Hickson that she would be perfect for the role). Years later, and after Christies death, her wish came true.

In this TV movie, and all the others Joan Hickson portraits Miss Marple in a wisdom, and quit way. She is intense and alert in the role, but also withdrawn and quiet.

This is one of my all time favorite films based on the great Agatha Christies novels. The story builds up the suspense, and there are a great set of characters. The evil is hard to find, and Miss Marple really has a tough time figuring out whats going on.

If you would like to see an older adaption of this kind of play, try out this one first. If you like top crime-stories, you won't be disappointed. They don't make them like this anymore.
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Miss Marple Is Brought To Life
theruralfox30 October 2016
I have been an avid fan of Agatha Christie's writing since childhood and in particular of Miss Marple. Only one actor has ever been able to capture the character that was written, as it was written, and that is Joan Hickson OBE. Her portrayal brings to life the character that Christie wrote - a gossipy, older village lady who happens to have a brilliant deductive mind. In Nemesis, we see how Christie pays homage to her creation in creating an unsolved murder for her to resolve after many years have past. It is a masterpiece of writing, portrayed by a master actor. It is time for the BBC to re-master this masterpiece!!!!! Any actor considering playing the part should review Joan Hickson first.
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kall66954 February 2020
Joan Hickson is the perfect Miss Marple. Subsequent actresses who play this role are very good, but haven't the gravitas that Hickson brings. She is very old, and looks it, but is also very observant and always figures out the perp in the end, after several deaths, of course. Also the settings in this particular series of Miss Marple are vintage.
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Slow, but one of the better entries in the series
gridoon202027 September 2008
What often gets overlooked in Agatha Christie's stories is her progressive, anti-conservative attitude on a number of issues - from the role of women to the effects of tradition to people's belief in the supernatural. In "Nemesis", you can spot a lot of those subtexts - but you can also find a good old-fashioned intriguing mystery that keeps you in the dark for most of its length. Also lifting "Nemesis" above other series entries ("They Do It With Mirrors", "4:50 From Paddington", etc.), is the fact that in the crucial moments before and after the revelation of the killer you can actually feel the suspense. And finally, Jane Booker is welcome to guard my body any time. (***)
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Miss Marple appears to be psychic
maestroinferno17 August 2011
I find it hard to believe there are so many great reviews here regarding this movie. In my opinion it is the worst of all Miss Marple movies. Although nicely photographed, the weak plot left me totally unsatisfied. Seems to me the viewer must be taken by the hand throughout the movie, learning clues step by step, until finally every detail is known and you only have to make the puzzle complete. Which is what Miss Marple is so good at. In this movie you get the same 'clues' over and over again (at a very slow pace I might add). And, in the end all is revealed by Miss Marple without hardly any explanation at all. How did she come to this conclusion? She must be psychic! After seeing the movie end, I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. Never a good sign if you've watched a thriller.
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tedg11 October 2003
This was one of Christie's later stories. Throughout her long career, she was interested in the shifting narrative and the notion of conflicting agents. Both are essentially the same thing and boil down to questions of who it is that controls or creates the situation.

In detective fiction, the game is a matter of conflicting realities. The murderer intends to change reality to fool the detective, the writer intends to do the same to the reader. Both the reader and the detective are in similar battles to create what they see. That's why her stories often include a writer.

In her works, she explores every combination of tricks she can think of that deal with this. Along the way, we often have bodies that are not who they seem, and times, and intended victims and such. But the real magic of the books is this notion of control. In 'Bertram's' it was literally a building.

Here, it is a dead man. Well, sometimes that happens, but not like this. It is as if the writer were the famous Mr. Rafiel. This is particularly sweet to Marple readers who remember this same character from the 'Carribean Mystery,' which in a way was also framed by her nephew. In that story, Rafiel was the conveyor of the story to the authorities.

The producers of this series have an almost wacky commitment to using a different creative team on each one. Sometimes it produces bland work. The 'Bertram's' episode was rather brilliantly staged. This one is the most lavish of the lot, and has an active camera. But unlike the 'Bertram's' work, it has nothing to do with the story.

The camera moves and captures merely because it can. The 'Citizen Kane' quote at the beginning was a little too literal and blunt. This story is good, but the adapter took out some pretty critical stuff, and that irrelevant camera annoys.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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This is the absolute worst - I repeat - the worst adaptation I have ever seen
charlieakapookie16 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I read a previous review where the reviewer wrote that the movie was very faithful to the book. I can only ask, what book had she read? If my husband, never having read the books, hadn't just watched A Caribbean Mystery and wanted to see Nemesis, I would have turned it off after the first scene.

I have read everything Dame Agathe Christie wrote and I consider A Caribbean Mystery and it's sequel, Nemesis, to be the two best things she ever wrote, especially Nemesis, building, as it does so cleverly, on the Caribbean Mystery. I consider Nemesis to be a superb piece of literature and the story a masterpiece in it's telling. I have read and reread these two books many times and still enjoy them, so this movie adaptation came as a horrible shock.

It went all wrong from the very beginning with Miss Marple's newly separated "Godson" staying with her. He was never in the book at all. In the book, Michael Rafael, son of the late Mr. Raphel of Caribbean Mystery fame, was in jail, having been convicted of murder, and does not actually come into play until almost halfway through the book; in the movie he is a homeless man wandering around London with a dog and appears very early on.

In the book, Miss Marple is given one ticket and goes off on the bus tour alone, in the movie she is given two tickets and takes the Godson along. At this point I am ready to pull my hair out! I wanted to turn it off, however, aside from the fact that my husband was engrossed, I wanted to see how bad it could get. It got steadily worse. The only place it even vaguely resembled the book is that the proper people got murdered although one did not even die as they did in the book, not even close.

Nothing, absolutely nothing,(except the scene near the end in the bedroom, which was excellent and exactly as it was in the book) happened in this movie the way it did in the book, as a matter of fact, if you hadn't read the book, the movie would be very difficult to make any sense out of because the actions of the characters were all out of place and made absolutely no sense. This movie is a total savaging on Dame Agatha Christie's wonderful work and is not worth watching. The book was very low key, methodical, and totally devoid of melodrama; the movie was all highly ridiculous melodrama.

If you have watched this movie without reading the book, I would suggest that you get the book, read it, and then write a review. If you have read the book, don't watch this movie, you will be bitterly disappointed. Or, watch the movie and then write a review.
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Just too slow and uninteresting for the casual mystery fan
bob the moo18 January 2006
When millionaire Rafiel dies, he leaves a message in his will for Miss Marple - £20,000 if she will go on a coach tour and solve a "mystery" that will become apparent to her. Nobody can tell her more than that so Miss Marple decides to take the trip with her godson Lionel. She finds that her coach trip has a lot of quite interesting characters on it but still she has no idea what the crime is that she is suppose to solve. However as time goes, she learns more of Rafiel's son and the history that has put him on the streets.

As with most of the Miss Marple films from the BBC, this one is almost painfully slow and will frustrate many casual viewers. Here the concept is quite interesting and looks like it will produce a tight little mystery however it just does what it usually does and crawls forward without any pace. This isn't a problem where the material is very strong and can engage on its own but here I'm afraid it just didn't. The plot and the red herrings are delivered in such an understated fashion that it is hard to really start to care about them and there is never enough urgency or drama to keep things moving. The solution is quite nice but it isn't built to at all well and even as the characters talk back over the "case" I felt like I had been left out of quite a cunning mystery because it hadn't been delivered that way at all.

The cast are reasonably good. Hickson is a solid Marple as ever and she is enjoyable even if she is part of the problem with the series always being too slow and deliberate; she is very proper and perfect but it doesn't help the film engage. The support cast is not that great but doesn't have any poor performances – just lots of ones that don't stick in the mind. Tilbury distracts while Bruce Payne is a strange find despite mostly just hanging around the edges.

Overall this is an OK film but one who's slow pace and lack of grip will probably put off the casual viewers. Fans of Hickson will be happy that she does the character justice and is her usual self but I must admit that my respect for her Marple is undone by the fact that the story is far too slow and uninteresting to really satisfy the mystery fan in me.
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Worthy, if dull, addition to the series
glyntreharne-116 December 2003
Miss Marple rounds up the usual suspects, allowing a lot of aged actors to come out of semi-retirement. However, it's mostly acting by numbers, although Margaret Tyzack does manage to conjure up the spirit of the post-war era in which the story is set, by making a meagre role go a long way.
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Jo_Blo_Movie_Critic20 July 2019
7/10 - not my favorite Marple, but still definitely an intriguing mystery acted by Joan Hickson and a great ensemble
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