Adaption of Agatha Christie\'s \"Mrs. McGinty\'s dead\". Miss Marple is the only jury member who believes that an accused is innocently charged with murder, so she joins a local acting troupe and tries to figure out who the real murderer is.
Margaret Rutherford ... Miss Jane Marple
Ron Moody ... H. Driffold Cosgood
Charles \'Bud\' Tingwell ... Inspector Craddock
Andrew Cruickshank ... Justice Crosby
Megs Jenkins ... Gladys Thomas
Dennis Price ... Theatrical Agent Harris Tumbrill
Ralph Michael ... Ralph Summers
James Bolam ... Bill Hanson
Stringer Davis ... Jim Stringer
Francesca Annis ... Sheila Upward
Alison Seebohm ... Eva McGonigall
Terry Scott ... Police Constable Wells
Pauline Jameson ... Maureen Summers
Maurice Good ... George Rowton
Annette Kerr ... Dorothy
George Pollock\'s name never gets mentioned among major directors. Yet four of his Miss Marple films as best remembered for Ron Goodwin\'s music and the wonderful Dame Margaret Rutherford and real life husband Stringer Davis.
The four films of Pollock combined mystery with comedy in a way that it entertains even after 40 years after the films were made. The elements that hold up these four films were great casting, good screenplay, crisp editing, and charming music and sound effects. Pollock is not a David Lean or a philosopher-director. He is merely making cinema that is gripping and entertaining and how well he accomplishes this.
This film is the second only to \"Murder Ahoy\" among the four. And since \"Murder Ahoy\" followed \"Murder Most Foul\", it would be only too clear that Pollock was gaining in confidence and elegance with each film. In each of his \"Murder\" films Pollock cast a major British actor. In this one it is the talented Ron Moody (Fagin of \"Oliver!\"). In each of the four films the chosen British actor provides a counterpoint and balance to Dame Rutherford\'s major role. One tends to remember Miss Marple and not the other meaty roles (Lionel Jeffries, Robert Morley, James Robertson Justice)in each of the \"Murder\" films. All the four were memorable but Moody and Jeffries were truly remarkable. I found this a major work of Moody though not as memorable as his interpretation of Fagin and Uriah Heep in other films.
The juxtaposition of crime and comedy looks natural thanks to Pollock and imaginative casting. Pollock is probably a quiet achiever deserving more attention by critics and historians of British cinema.
This MGM British production, part of a series starring the incomparable Margaret Rutherford, is as enjoyable today, as it was when it was released. George Pollock, the director deserves credit for the immensely satisfying film version of Agatha Christie\'s \"Mrs. McGinty\'s Death\". The excellent copy we saw recently on TCM appears as good now, as it probably did when it first made its theatrical debut.
Miss Jane Marple was Agatha Christie\'s best creation. She is a no nonsense woman who can\'t be easily persuaded to condemn the man on trial, in which she is seen as part of the jury at the start of the film. Ms. Marple knows the man is not guilty, even when she gets the other jury members to give her dirty looks when she votes against the others to acquit the man on trial.
Miss Marple starts digging around the dead woman\'s room and discovers the programs for \"Murder, She Said\", a play by the theatrical production company that is performing at a theater near her. She enlists her friend Jim Stringer to help her catch the culprit. We are not prepared to see Miss Marple become part of a second rate theatrical troupe touring the country.
\"Murder Most Foul\" is a must to be seen by all Agatha Christie\'s fans and mystery fans because of the charisma Margaret Rutherford exuded playing the title character. Ms. Rutherford was an actress that always delivered in her many films. She is an acquired taste that ages well as a good wine.
The supporting cast play like an ensemble. Ron Moody, Charles Tingwell, Stringer Davis, Francesca Annis, Terry Scott, Dennis Price, and the rest, do what they do best and in the process enhance the film.
This is a tribute to the genius of the Jane Marple of Margaret Rutherford!
This is the third entry in MGM\'s quintet of Miss Marple whodunits starring Rutherford as the eccentric yet highly intelligent spinster detective who time and time again has proved herself more competent than the investigating police even though she is only armed with her knowledge of crime detective novels.
In this feature, Miss Marple is on jury service at the trial of a young man called Howard Taylor whom is accused of killing his landlady Mrs McGinty for her savings. All members of the jury are convinced of Taylor\'s guilt except Miss Marple. As a result they are unable to say if Taylor is guilty or not guilty and the trial has to be postponed until a later date. This gives Miss Marple the breathing space she needs to find the real killer. The trail leads her to discover that Mrs McGinty was a blackmailer and that she was blackmailing a member of \"The Cosgood Players\", which is run by the bungling playwright and director Driffold Cosgood (RON MOODY). She manages to secure a place in the company following an unlikely rendition of Robert W. Service\'s poem \"The Shooting Of Dan McGrew\" and she is now able to investigate her fellow actors. Two more murders follow within the company before Miss Marple is able to lay a trap for the killer. As usual the hapless Chief Inspector Craddock (CHARLES TINGWELL) resents her interference but as usual she comes out on top even though Craddock is promoted to Chief Inspector for his work on the case but it was Miss Marple who solved it for him!
All in all, MURDER MOST FOUL (adapted loosely from Agatha Christie\'s 1952 publication Mrs McGinty\'s Dead in which Hercule Poirot solved the case), has all the comedy delight and charm of its two predecessors. Director George Pollock who by now had proved that he was a very efficient craftsman effortlessly blends the humor with mystery and one isn\'t allowed to overlap the other - something that has ruined mystery films in the past. Rutherford plays Miss Marple with a great deal of authority and as always she steals the show. But Ron Moody as Cosgood, Tingwell as Craddock and Stringer Davies (Rutherford\'s real life husband) as her trusty sidekick Mr Stringer all deserve good notices as does composer Ron Goodwin, director Pollock and cinematographer Desmond Dickinson whose black and white camera-work lends the production a considerable atmosphere of the mysterious.
* Like Murder at the Gallop (1963), this movie was adapted from a Poirot novel, not a Miss Marple novel.
* This was the penultimate production in the series of four films with Margaret Rutherford as Miss Jane Marple. The last is Murder Ahoy (1964) (made the same year as Murder Most Foul (1964)), in which Inspector Craddock has been promoted to the rank Chief Inspector. After the series concluded Rutherford and her husband Stringer Davis reprised their roles of Miss Marple and Mr Stringer only once more, for a brief cameo appearance in The Alphabet Murders (1965).
* While inspecting the contents of the victims\' suitcase, Miss Marple finds flyers for a theatrical production of Agatha Christie\'s \"Murder She Said\", which also is the first movie in which Rutherford appeared as Miss Marple.
* The music playing at the opening of the hospital scene is a reference to the television show \"Dr. Kildare\" (1961), down to the shot of the doors to the ward. The score alludes to the theme music from the series, \"Three Stars Will Shine Tonight\", composed by Jerry Goldsmith.
* Miss Marple\'s audition piece for the Cosgood Players is a dramatic rendering of \"The Shooting of Dan McGrew\" by Robert W. Service.
* Cosgood hopes for a play-run longer than \"The Mousetrap\" - Agatha Christie\'s famous stage-play, which has been in continuous performance since 1952, the same year that source novel \"Mrs McGinty\'s Dead\" was first published.