Murder at the Gallop
|Murder at the Gallop|
Theatrical release poster by Tom Jung
|Directed by||George Pollock|
|Produced by||George H. Brown|
Lawrence P. Bachmann
|Written by||Agatha Christie|
|Screenplay by||James P. Cavanagh|
|Based on||After the Funeral|
|Starring||Dame Margaret Rutherford|
Sir Robert Morley
Dame Flora Robson
|Music by||Ron Goodwin|
|Edited by||Bert Rule|
George H. Brown Productions
Murder at the Gallop (1963) is the second of four Miss Marple films made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was based on the novel After the Funeral by Agatha Christie, and starred Dame Margaret Rutherford as Miss Jane Marple, Charles "Bud" Tingwell as Inspector Craddock and Stringer Davis (Rutherford's real-life husband) as Jane Marple's friend Mr. Stringer.
The film changes both the action and the characters. The original novel featured Hercule Poirot rather than Miss Marple, and Christie's trademark suspense was replaced by light comedy.
The film also stars Sir Robert Morley and Dame Flora Robson and was directed by George Pollock, with James P. Cavanagh credited with the adaptation. The music was by Ron Goodwin. The film's location shots included Amersham, Little Marlow and Hilfield Castle.
While Miss Marple (Margaret Rutherford) and Mr Stringer (Stringer Davis) are soliciting donations for a charity ("The Reformed Criminals Assistance League"), they visit Mr. Enderby (Finlay Currie), a rich and eccentric recluse. He tumbles down the long entrance staircase, apparently the victim of a fatal heart attack. Knowing that Enderby had a pathological fear of cats, Miss Marple becomes suspicious when she finds one in the house. She also finds a piece of mud bearing the print of a riding boot, but when she goes to Inspector Craddock (Bud Tingwell), he is sceptical, believing that Enderby died of natural causes.
Undeterred, Miss Marple eavesdrops when Enderby's family gather for the reading of the Will. There are four beneficiaries: fourth cousin George Crossfield (Robert Urquhart), niece Rosamund Shane (Katya Douglas), nephew Hector Enderby (Robert Morley) and sister Cora Lansquenet. Each receives an equal share of the estate. Cora declares that she believes Enderby was murdered. The next day, when Miss Marple goes to see her, she finds Cora dead, stabbed in the back with a hatpin. Cora's companion of many years, timid Miss Milchrest (Flora Robson), can provide little information.
Miss Marple decides to take a "holiday" at the Gallop Hotel/riding school, as it is run by Hector Enderby and the other two surviving heirs and Miss Milchrest are staying there. When Inspector Craddock questions them and Rosamund Shane's spendthrift husband Michael (James Villiers), none of them can produce a satisfactory alibi for the time of Cora Lansquenet's death.
An attempt is made to do away with Miss Marple, but is foiled by the intended victim (without her even realising it). Miss Marple then discovers that the piece of mud found in Enderby's house came from shady art dealer George Crossfield's riding boot, but her case against him is dashed when she learns that each of the heirs visited Enderby on the day he died, to ask for money. Crossfield has meanwhile found out who the murderer is, but he is locked in a stall with an excitable horse and is trampled to death.
By this point, Miss Marple knows the identity and motive of the killer, but has no definite proof. She therefore lays a trap, pretending to have a heart attack at a dance at the hotel while doing the twist with Stringer. The police doctor places her in a room by herself, declaring it to be too dangerous to move her until morning. During the night, the criminal makes one last attempt to silence her, but Miss Marple is ready. The killer's motive is revealed to be a seemingly worthless painting owned by Cora, which actually was very valuable.
Hector Enderby later proposes marriage to Miss Marple but she turns him down, as she is opposed to blood sports and he is an enthusiastic fox-hunter. After she leaves, he mutters to himself "That was a narrow escape!"
- Dame Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple
- Stringer Davis as Mr. Stringer
- Robert Morley as Hector Enderby
- Dame Flora Robson as Miss Milchrest
- Bud Tingwell as Inspector Craddock
- Gordon Harris as Sergeant Bacon
- Robert Urquhart as George Crossfield
- Katya Douglas as Rosamund Shane
- James Villiers as Michael Shane, Rosamund's husband
- Noel Howlett as Mr. Trundell
- Finlay Currie as Old Enderby
- Duncan Lamont as Hillman
- Kevin Stoney as Doctor Markwell
- Frank Atkinson as Hotel Night Porter (uncredited)
- Roger Avon as Police Photographer (uncredited)
Christie is mentioned by name early in the film when Miss Marple speaks to the police inspector after the first death. Later in the film, Marple also uses the phrase, "murder most foul," a line from Hamlet which also became the title of the next movie in the series.
- Hunter, I. Q.; Porter, Laraine (2012). British comedy cinema. Routledge. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-415-66667-1. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Blood on the Stage, 1925–1950: Milestone Plays of Crime, Mystery, and Detection : an Annotated Repertoire. Scarecrow Press. 2010. p. 762. ISBN 978-0-8108-6963-9. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Reid, John (30 August 2006). Great Cinema Detectives: Best Movies of Mystery, Suspense & Film Noir. Lulu.com. p. 142. ISBN 978-1-84728-685-7. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Reel Streets