365 Film Challenge Part 28: Mystery Special

Film #97: Murder Most Foul

I’ve never been a massive fan of Miss Marple, I’ve always preferred Poirot as a character. This 1964 big screen outing is possibly my favourite Marple adaptation I’ve seen mainly because Margaret Rutherford’s performance is totally different. She’s a more bullish, louder take on the character, while still keeping the trope of her being dismissed due to her age and sex.

The mystery, involving a troupe of actors and a murder case that everyone else views as open and shut is quite well done, and enjoyably silly. The tone’s also surprisingly dark in places, with an odd glee in the murders and so on (the opening sequence has some rather dark sight gags). It’s daft but fun, if dated in places. 6/10.

Film #98: Dressed to Kill

Another Basil Rathbone starring Sherlock Holmes movie with the sleuth on the case of a burglary of a seemingly worthless music box. As others with similar boxes are targeted can Holmes work out what’s going on?

The problem with this film is that we know what the deal is with the music boxes before Holmes does, so as a mystery it doesn’t really engage. That aside it’s a decent, entertaining yarn, even if a tad dated. 6/10.

Film #105: Murder Ahoy!

Another Margaret Rutherford mystery as Miss Marple investigates after a fellow trustee is murdered after discovering something suspicious about the training ship they oversee to help straighten out delinquent youths. Marple goes to the boat, much to the dismay of the captain and delves into the case.

This is another light hearted romp with Rutherford’s loud, contentious Marple rather charming and funny as she rubs everyone up the wrong way. The mystery is simple, but done reasonably well and mainly played for gentle laughs. 6/10.

Film #110: Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror

Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock is updated to World War II, and takes on a Nazi plot of terrorism, all foretold by the titular voice who breaks into radio broadcasts spreading fear and negativity.

Made while the war raged this is pure propaganda, with Holmes urging the criminal underworld to stand up against the Nazis, to keep Britain free and to defend the realm. It’s an interesting movie, if heavy handed, but rather fun, and it’s always nice to see the Nazis lose. 7/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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