A friend of Miss Marple's sees a woman being strangled in a passing train. When police cannot find a body and doubt the story, Miss Marple enlists professional housekeeper, Lucy Eyelesbarrow, to go undercover.
While on vacation at a resort hotel in the West Indies, Miss Marple correctly suspects that the apparently natural death of a retired British major is actually the work of a murderer planning yet another killing.
The normally friendly village of Lymston is plagued by vile anonymous letters. When a mother of three takes her own life, following such a letter, Ms. Marple is not at all convinced things are as they seem.
When Miss Marple's visiting friend sees a woman being strangled on a passing train, they immediately report it to the police. Inspector Slack sees Miss Marple as a bit of a busy body and drops the investigation after only a few days. Miss Marple however determines that there is only one spot along the line where a body could have been dumped and it happens to be very near the Crackenthorpe estate. She asks a professional housekeeper, Lucy Eyelesbarrow, to go there undercover as a domestic. She soon finds the dead woman's body at which time the police take on a renewed interest but it is left to Miss Marple to solve the mystery.Written by
Coincidentally, the main setting for this story is "Rutherford Hall"; between 1961 and 1965 actress Margaret Rutherford played Miss Jane Marple in several productions, including "Murder She Said" (1961), a previous version of this same story. See more »
When Dr Quimper takes the old man's blood pressure near the end of the movie, he doesn't have the stethoscope earpieces in his ears. See more »
Miss Jane Marple:
But of course you must go on searching, Inspector! Now you might say that Elspeth is not a sophisticated person, but, I assure you, she has both feet firmly on the ground. She saw what she saw!
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4:50 From Paddington Station was also the first Agatha Christie Miss Marple story to be adapted for Margaret Rutherford in Murder She Said. Comparing the two is six of one, half a dozen of the other.
For the big screen the characters of the woman who saw the strangling on a passing train and the woman who Miss Marple sends in as a housekeeper to scout out the terrain are eliminated. Rutherford's character serves as both and one of the biggest strengths of the film is Rutherford doing her own scouting and sleuthing and her scenes with ailing family patriarch James Robertson Justice are a hoot and a half.
Joan Hickson's Jane Marple is a milder sort, but still a woman who doesn't miss much. This version is faithful to the Christie story and has a friend of Miss Marple see the strangling of a woman and her being thrown out the window of a train going the other way. But no body turns up near the tracks. At that point Hickson goes into action and determines that the body was most likely thrown off near the Crackenthorpe estate. At that point she sends in Jill Meager as an operative so to speak.
The Crackenthorpes are wealthy British family, new money, they got rich manufacturing breakfast cereal. And they've got an ailing patriarch with one of those crazy wills that provide a host of relatives as suspects.
I will say this, the same perpetrator in the Margaret Rutherford movie does the deed again in 4:50 From Paddington Station. And nearly gets away with it, but for an unexpected witness.
A little slow, but more is explained and the murder itself doesn't seem quite as contrived as the Rutherford film.
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