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Agatha Christie's Miss Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage (1986)

Miss Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage (original title)
Faced with two false confessions and numerous suspects after a despised civil magistrate is found shot in the local vicarage, Detective Inspector Slack reluctantly accepts help from Miss Marple.

Director:

Julian Amyes

Writer:

T.R. Bowen (dramatised by)
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Hickson ... Miss Marple
Paul Eddington ... Reverend Leonard Clement
Cheryl Campbell ... Griselda Clement
Robert Lang ... Colonel Lucius Protheroe
Polly Adams ... Ann Protheroe
Tara MacGowran ... Lettice Protheroe
James Hazeldine ... Lawrence Redding
Christopher Good ... Christopher Hawes
Norma West ... Mrs. Lestrange
Michael Browning ... Dr. Haydock
David Horovitch ... Det. Inspector Slack
Ian Brimble ... Det. Sergeant Lake
Jack Galloway Jack Galloway ... Bill Archer
Rachel Weaver ... Mary Wright
Rosalie Crutchley ... Mrs. Price-Ridley
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Storyline

When a despised magistrate is found shot to death in the library of the local vicarage, his wife and her lover, a portrait painter living on the church grounds, both confess to the crime. Miss Marple's keen powers of observation clear both of them of the crime, but other suspects abound. Included are the murdered man's daughter, who posed for the artist, a neurotic cleric who's embezzled church funds, the local doctor, an ex-convict who poached on the magistrate's land, and a missionary's enigmatic widow who argued with him the day before he was killed. An exasperated Inspector Slack must reluctantly accept help from the analytical Miss Marple. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

UK | USA | Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1986 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Agatha Christie's Miss Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cheryl Campbell (Griselda Clement) and Ian Brimble (Sgt. Lake) were both in Inspector Morse series 4 episode 1 The Infernal Serpent See more »

Goofs

This seems to be set in the spring of 1955 or 1956. When the parishioners are coming to church late in the second part, they arrive to Albinoni's Adagio even though this wasn't published until 1958. See more »

Quotes

Detective Sergeant Lake: [Referring to Mrs. Price-Ridley] Oh, yes, and she thinks she heard the murderer in the shrubbery. Reckon she heard him sneeze.
Detective Inspector Slack: So all we have to do is find someone with a snotty handkerchief!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Robert Lang (Colonel Lucius Protheroe) was omitted from the closing credits even though his name appeared in the opening titles and he played a significant role in the opening scenes before his character was murdered. See more »

Connections

Followed by Miss Marple: At Bertram's Hotel (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

The Entertainer
(uncredited)
Written by Scott Joplin
[Lettice plays on piano]
See more »

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User Reviews

Engaging story with gentle laughs and a nice development around the "village grapevine" theme
18 January 2006 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Life in the vicarage is not as gentile and peaceful as it would seem as even mild-mannered Reverend Clement is driven to swearing by the stiff-necked attitude of Colonel Protheroe over the church accounts. In fact Protheroe is so unpopular that, when he is found murdered in the vicarage, several people confess to the crime to protect others who they assume must have done it. When the police manage to prove that the confessors couldn't possibly have done it, it leaves them with the question of who actually has killed him. As they conduct their investigation, Miss Marple continues her gardening and listens to the village grapevine to build a picture in her mind of what could have happened.

Although I have seen several BBC Miss Marple films where boredom could have been the cause of the murder, I still tried again several times and I was happy when this film turned out to be one of the more enjoyable and free-flowing in the series. Stepping away from the uptight and repressed standards of the period this film instead builds on the gossipy, small-world nature of life in a small English village. In doing this it show Miss Marple's quiet use of the grapevine in nice contrast to the police resources of Slack. The story itself is well structured and has plenty going on – it avoids the trap of being dull by way of trying to "English" and is quite fun. The mystery is well spun out and well solved with a nice air of humour along the way. It will still appear "boring" to those raised on the quick-fire mysteries of CSI etc but I found it to be quite sparky by the usual BBC Miss Marple standards.

Hickson is the one I always think of when I think of Miss Marple and here she is good value. She plays the "village" aspect of her character well and her personality comes through well in even simple lines. She is well supported by Horovitch's Slack who provides several laughs with his character. The support are generally up to the task – Eddington had a smaller role than I expected but was good; Lang was enjoyable before his final shot while people like Adams, Hazeldine, Good, West and others are all solid enough to stop the audience ignoring them or seeing them as dominate (and thus a possible murderer).

Overall this is an enjoyable and interesting entry in the solid BBC Miss Marple film series. The story is engaging and developed well and, far from being stiff, it actually flows quite well. The addition of humour and lively performances only helps to make it all the more enjoyable and makes this a good introduction to the BBC Marple series.


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