Murder at the Gallop (1963)
“(The Raciest Mystery of the Season!)”
Director: George Pollock
Cast: Margaret Rutherford, Stringer Davis, Robert Morley
Synopsis: When a wealthy old man appears to have been “frightened to death” by a cat, Miss Marple suspects one of his four relatives, all heirs to his estate, of his murder.
Having recently watched the disappointing Alphabet Murders, it was a relief to revisit an Agatha Christie detective who can be relied upon to offer a light-hearted and entertaining movie without having to resort to slapstick and farce. Dear old Margaret Rutherford plays the irrepressible Miss Marple alongside her real-life husband Stringer Davis as her companion Mr. Stringer, and is a joy to watch in what is arguably the best of her Miss Marple movies (in what is actually an adaptation of a Hercule Poirot story). The epitome of the great British ‘dotty’ Great-Aunt, Rutherford has great fun as she attempts to discover who is murdering the members of a family in order to get their hands on an expensive painting. Of course, there are numerous clues and suspects for Miss Marple (and the viewer) to sift through, and a few red herrings thrown in for good measure. Her problem is also somewhat complicated by the fact that nobody seems particularly upset by the murders.
Robert Morley provides sterling comic support as the owner of the Gallop, the horse riding resort in which some of the murders take place, and interacts nicely with Rutherford. One warning though: Miss Marples’ theme tune is highly infectious, and you’ll be humming it for days after watching the movie.
(Reviewed 26th April 2002)