- Movie Rating -

The Mirror Crack’d (1980)

| December 19, 1980

I am not very well-educated on Agatha Christie mainly because I find her mystery stories kind of superfluous.  When they’re over, we’ve been witness to a crime, met all of the usual suspects, and then watched as Christie’s protagonist – maybe Marple, maybe Poirot – gets everybody in a room and explains the crime from beginning to end.  For me, it’s all frosting and no cake.  She was great at constructing the inner clockwork of her plot but she never wrote a character that I cared about.

When it comes to film adaptations, I have discovered that the whole thing really resides with the actors.  It’s fun to watch legendary actors play characters written in broad strokes and, for me, that was the magic behind Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Death on the Nile (1978) and now The Mirror Crack’d.  By the time the movie arrives at the big reveal, I admit that I had sort of given up.  The ending of this story doesn’t punch for excitement rather for a kind of bewildering sadness.

What keeps The Mirror Crack’d afloat is the added attraction of a very juicy portrait of fading Hollywood legends growing old and getting catty with one another.  Here in the same movie are Hollywood’s elder statemen: Elizabeth Taylor, Kim Novak, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis and Angela Lansbury.  Their connections always seem genuine – actors willing to play unlikable sods and playing them to the hilt.

The story is set in 1930s England and involves a group of Hollywood elite who have gathered to make a movie together.  By sheer coincidence, Miss Marple (Lansbury) just happens to be on-hand when a series of murders begin taking place.  Naturally, Marple and her nephew Inspector Craddox (Edward Fox) are on the case.  It all goes as you’d expect.  The crimes are the result of years of treachery and regret, all of which is laid out in the big final scene.

Reallly, I didn’t care anything about the murders.  I was more interested in the film as a nasty bit of Hollywood satire with Novak and Taylor as bitter old bitches always nipping at one another’s every fault.  Rock Hudson as Taylor’s weary husband.  Tony Curtis as Novak’s sleazebag agent.  It’s all a bit of catty fun.  Just shew the predictable mystery plot out of the way and you have a better movie.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1980) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized