The old and wealthy Mr. Enderby dies of a heart attack but the ever suspicious Miss Marple has her doubts. Who or what gave him a heart attack? Enderby\'s poor relatives gather at the The Gallop, a combined boarding-house and riding school. Miss Marple also gets there to find out if any of them had any particular reasons to see him dead.
Margaret Rutherford ... Miss Marple
Stringer Davis ... Mr. Stringer
Robert Morley ... Hector Enderby
Flora Robson ... Miss Milchrest
Charles \'Bud\' Tingwell ... Inspector Craddock (as Charles Tingwell)
Gordon Harris ... Sergeant Bacon
Robert Urquhart ... George Crossfield
Katya Douglas ... Rosamund Shane
James Villiers ... Michael Shane
Noel Howlett ... Mr. Trundell
Finlay Currie ... Old Enderby
Duncan Lamont ... Hillman
Kevin Stoney ... Doctor Markwell
The frustrating thing about Agatha Christie novels is that some of them have alternate titles. With some dismay, I realized, a few minutes into \"Murder At The Gallop\", that the film is the cinema version of a book I had finished not two months earlier, \"After The Funeral\" (a.k.a. \"Funerals Are Fatal\"). There would be no new whodunit puzzle for me here.
\"After The Funeral\" features Hercule Poirot; \"Murder At The Gallop\" features Miss Marple. The story is basically the same in both book and film, and is a typical Christie whodunit. I think I prefer the book to the film, as the book has more suspects. The film has minimal suspense except near the end. And I find Robert Morley\'s performance to be slightly annoying.
Still, \"Murder At The Gallop\" is an OK whodunit for a rainy Sunday afternoon. The main attraction really is the wonderful Margaret Rutherford, who plays Miss Marple. With her feisty determination, this is really her show. To see a woman of 71 in an evening gown dancing The Twist is reason enough to watch.
This is possibly MARGARET RUTHERFORD\'s most satisfactory excursion into Agtha Christie-land and she\'s helped by a delightful Ron Goodwin score that emphasizes her character with an infectious main theme and the gorgeous B&W photography, full of sinister shadows and proper atmospheric effects.
Furthermore, Miss Rutherford is surrounded by some formidable British talent, such as Stringer Davis (his Mr. Stringer is always a delight), Robert Morley (blustery but fun), and most notably, FLORA ROBSON, remarkable as the timid companion of an elderly woman.
I\'ve seen most of these Miss Marple mysteries from the 1960s, and this has got to be one of the best. It moves at a swift gallop (unlike some of the more tedious, slow-paced BBC versions), and the accent is on the humorous characterization that Rutherford is capable of. Purists may not think it serves Agatha Christie well, but taken on its own as a piece of comedy/mystery entertainment, it stands up well in that genre.
I have not read the book on which the film is based--but I understand it was a Hercule Poirot book not a Miss Marple book. Anyway in Christie\'s novels with Miss Marple there was no \"Mr Stringer\" the real life husband of Dame Margaret Rutherford. But it is Dame Margaret and Stringer Davis that makes the Marple films come alive apart from Ron Goodwin\'s charming score.
This is the first movie I have seen in which the author of the book on which the film is based is discussed. This movie will not survive trenchant criticism--it is best viewed as a fun movie with loads of British humour.
What strikes you is that the film is really a women\'s film, with even Robert Morley having to take a back seat to Dame Margaret and Dame Flora Robson who steal the show.
Of the films in the series, \'Murder Ahoy\' I thought was most charming because of the supporting cast and a stronger role for Mr Stringer. \"Murder at the gallop\" has a weaker story and screenplay in comparison. Yet all these Miss Marple films can be enjoyed by one and all, years after they were made.