The Mirror Crack’d is another of those Agatha Christie big budget movie adaptations of the 1970’s and 80’s that I love so much. This one was shown again over Christmas on the Talking Movies channel, and as it is a star studded treat I couldn’t wait to watch it again, and introduce the hubby to it (although it has to be said that he wasn’t blown away with it.)
The Mirror Crack’d is set in the UK and has Miss Marple, played in this case by the perfect Angela Lansbury, solving the mystery of the seemingly random murder of Heather Babcock, who was murdered at a party given by Hollywood star Marina Rudd. Marina is in the UK to make a film about Elizabeth 1st and Mary Queen of Scots, her first film in many years, and seems to have been the intended victim, but as with all Christie stories, all is not what it seems.
There really is so much to savour about this movie, not least the star power on show. Marina Rudd is played by the incomparable Elizabeth Taylor, with her rival Lorna Brewster played by Kim Novak. The main male characters are also wonderful names from 1950s Hollywood, Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis, and there is strong backing from Edward Fox and Geraldine Chaplin. The leads are over acting wonderfully, almost making the film a camp classic, and that is before you even look at the costumes.
First we have Elizabeth Taylor’s Marina, in the purple outfit that is most famous from the movie stills. The purple floral hat seems to have been modelled on something beloved of the Queen Mother, either that or a swimming cap, rather ageing for the still beautiful Elizabeth. Kim Novak fares better, her pneumatic curves pushed into Barbie Pink, complete with a large brimmed hat that looks like it came from the set of ‘Oh what a lovely war’. The costumes are odd and gloriously camp, and just add to the general mood of fun that surrounds the film, even with it’s ultimately very tragic story line that had its basis in a true story.
The Mirror Crack’d is far from perfect, but it is perfectly entertaining, a bit of a last hurrah for some great Hollywood stars of the 1950’s, and one with a great Miss Marple in Angela Lansbury. (Almost an early version of Jessica Fletcher.)