Miss Marple: At Bertram’s Hotel (1987)

The Space as a Character

This is the sixth or seventh in the series that I have seen. BBC has a policy of putting different creative crew in charge of each one, so they vary significantly. I found the “Alien” and “Batman” franchises to be a mini-lesson in film techniques, and this is a lot like that.

Usually, the Marple crews use BBC or TeeVee conventions and shoehorn in the unusual conventions of Christie, which themselves vary from story to story. Here, the adapter and director have actually paid attention to the manner in which is the story is presented in the book.

The book has the hotel as a character: the walls carry personality and act as a sort of Moriarity. It is contrived. The director cleverly uses this; the camera always locates itself as part of the architecture first. It both contains and observes the characters. The pans are inhuman. They reflect Maples’ nature: nosey, skulking.

On top of this, everything is perceived with dull colors, as if the film itself was a copy of Bertram’s: an obsessively maintained antique.

There is a physicality to the end that reflects that of this story’s Moriarty.

This is probably the best of the Hickson Marples.

Posted in 2003

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *