I came to this film unacquainted with the book involved (and, to my shame, Agatha Christie books in general). That meant I had no idea of the plot and therefore could guess at the culprit. My suspicions proved somewhat correct, although the actual motive was a surprise. There were enough twists and turns to keep me interested and enough star power - I felt - to keep anyone watching.
Released in 1980, The Mirror Crack'd stared Angela Lansbury in her only outing as Miss Marple alongside Hollywood luminaries Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis and Kim Novak. It tells the story of a Hollywood crew descending on St. Mary Mead to shoot a film. It marks the return of Marina Gregg (Taylor) to the screen following a nervous breakdown. Her devoted husband Jason Rudd (Hudson) is the director trying to keep things running smoothly but this proves difficult when co-star Lola Brewster (Novak) arrives with her husband and producer Marty Fenn (Curtis). At the village fete a local woman drinks a cocktail intended for Marina and promptly drops dead. Cue the arrival of Scotland Yard's Inspector Craddock (also Miss Marple's nephew) to investigate the murder.
Lansbury made a good Marple, basing her representation on my other favourite in the part, Geraldine McEwan. That said, because of Lansbury's future as Jessica Fletcher, my vision of her was probably marred. I do wonder whether more Marple mysteries would've been made with Lansbury had Murder, She Wrote not come along but I'm more than happy with the way things turned out. The rest of the cast was excellent, in particular Geraldine Chaplin as production assistant Ella. Rock Hudson turned in a good performance, reaffirming the liking for him I've had since first watching his movies with Doris Day. Oh, and there's an excellent line in the film about Doris Day where the camera shifts straight back to Hudson - I like that kind of nod! Elizabeth Taylor's Marina was better in some places than others but I did believe in her. I struggled with Novak, primarily because I've struggled with her in the past. I'm not sure what it is but I can't bring myself to like the actress or appreciate the parts she portrays, at least the ones I've seen so far.
However, this was a reasonable slice of entertainment. The village scenes were nicely shot while the supporting characters within in the village were given more time than was appropriate given that this turned out to be a one-off. Worth a watch if only to see Angela Lansbury during her transformation from Eglantine Price (Bedknobs and Broomsticks) to Jessica Fletcher.