7 July 2009

How could they do it?

About 10 days ago I asked Who Is the Best Miss Marple? and Philip commented a couple of times about how Miss Marple had been inserted into stories where she hadn't originally been.

Last week the television offering was MURDER IS EASY and the protagonist should have been Superintendent Battle, but Miss Marple appeared.

Then last night it was WHY DIDN'T THEY ASK EVANS? and who should appear but Miss Marple.

Now, the first in this series A POCKETFUL OF RYE was a Miss Marple originally, and so was the last we are to see, THEY DO IT WITH MIRRORS.

Now though I'm wondering how often I have been duped in a similar way in the Geraldine McEwan and Joan Hickson TV movies? Philip alluded to a couple of McEwan stories that did not originally have Miss Marple in them.

So, I've done a little research.
There were only 12 novels with Miss Marple in them and some short stories
The short stories are in
Joan Hickson played Miss Marple in a series based on the 12 Miss Marple books.
According to Wikipedia "The adaptations are mainly true to the original novels."

Geraldine McEwan was also in 12 TV movies, but 4 of these *** were not originally Marple stories
Here are the Julia McKenzie ones with the non Marple ones marked ***
A Wikipedia article talks about the controversy caused by changed plots etc.

Does this sort of stuff bother anybody else?


Bernadette said...

Well no it doesn't bother me really. Partly because I'm not a huge fan of Christie fan and wouldn't have known (although I did remark that the one last Sunday - why didn't they ask Evans - didn't have that Miss Marple ring about it). But also because I've learned to separate film/TV adaptations of my favourite things from the original in books. Well I'm learning to anyway.

I think this happens with a lot of characters these days. EG they've made 12 series of Midsomer Murders with at least 6 episodes per series but there are only 7 books featuring Inspector Barnaby so clearly the rest are made up. by the TV writers. I suspect the same has happened with Frost, Morse (certainly Lewis), Dalziel and Pascoe etc. I guess it's not quite the same as having the wrong character appear in an existing story but I guess they do what sells - Miss Marple and Poirot are familiar characters that appeal to many non-Christie aficionados while the other Christie characters will only appeal to a smaller audience.

I remember reading somewhere that the TV show Perry Mason used plots from other books written by Erle Stanley Gardner - when they ran out of his Perry Mason books to base episodes on. Don't know if it's true but it sounds about right.

Brian Kavanagh said...

It doesn't bother me but the purists are upset. I must say that I found Why/Evans a real mess, not due to Julia McKenzie, but the script was confused and clumsy. I think now, as much as I like Julia, I prefer Geraldine McEwan, the second series, and in particular, the Sittaford Mystery, which worked brilliantly.

Kerrie said...

That sounds right to me too Bernadette. I was just surprised with Marple I guess, as I had not realised that it had happened in earlier versions either.

Kerrie said...

I agree Brian - I thought the beginning of Evans was confusing and I really didn't understand what was going on.

Julia McKenzie is knitting the wrong stuff too - isn't she? I always Miss M always knitted baby clothes.

I think Julia McKenzie has aged incredibly - I've been looking at the wrinkles etc. How old is she I wonder? I was reading last night that Joan Hickson was in her 80s most of the time she was filming the series she was in.

Maxine Clarke said...

It's all about the holy grail of a brand, sadly. Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot are "brands" so they think more will watch if they "brand" the story. Will the world collectively ever learn that what's important is the story (script), not the other stuff?;-) Get the story right and the rest will follow.

Kerrie said...

I noticed on the most recent Marple that it was created in cahoots with the Chorion (Christie) estate - I thought they would have the most interest in keeping the stories straight. How long before text versions of the movies appear - i.e. featuring Miss Marple in books that she was never originally in?

Bernadette said...

Well Robert Ludlum is writing from his grave these days so I guess Agatha Christie should join that club - surely a greater achievement for her as Ludlum's only been deceased 6 years :)

Heartbeatoz said...

I kept comparing this one with the earlier version starring Francesca Annis and James Warwick and much preferred the earlier one, I found this one very confusing, I hope next weeks Episode picks up a bit.

Lourdes said...

Interesting post. The Miss Marple adaptations don't bother me as much. But interestingly, I just read a recently written book with Sherlock Holmes as the character (now aged 89) and I was really bothered by the way the author had portrayed him. Maybe I care more about Sherlock than Miss Marple?

Margot said...

I can have one foot in both camps. On the one hand I'd like to see the movies/tv shows stick to the books as much as possible. On the other hand I do love Miss Marple and would love to see a lot more of her. Since only 12 stories were written by Christie, that means that more have to be created for me to be happy. Just as long as they stay with the main premise of Miss Marple, I'm okay.


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