Author Topic: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie  (Read 49013 times)

joangrimes

  • Posts: 790
  • Alabama
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #280 on: July 27, 2009, 09:22:51 AM »
 
      

Six 90-minute mysteries — Sundays, June 21-July 26, 2009
"With grey cells firing and knitting needles clicking, Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) and Miss Marple (Julia McKenzie) star in Six by Agatha, a half-dozen whodunits by the greatest mystery author of all time, Agatha Christie." (PBS Masterpiece Mystery!)

Would you enjoy discussing these new PBS mysteries?  Reading the books adds a whole new dimension, as we learned reading Henning Mankell's novels.
 Thank you for promoting reading, Masterpiece! Are you interested?


June 21, 2009 at 9pm
Hercule Poirot: Cat Among the Pigeons
Something is amiss at Meadowbank School for Girls, where hidden rubies, kidnapping, and murder disrupt the term. View the episode online through July 5 at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/poirot/watch.html
June 28, 2009 at 9pm
Hercule Poirot: Mrs. McGinty's Dead
A man is about to hang for a brutal murder. But did he do it? After learning about 30-year-old homicides, Poirot concludes a ghost from the past has returned. View the episode online through July 12 at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/poirot/watch.html
July 5, 2009 at 9pm
Miss Marple: A Pocket Full of Rye
A killer who seems obsessed with a nursery rhyme commits a string of murders. Miss Marple and a local detective (Matthew Macfadyen) join forces to investigate. View the episode online through July 19 at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/marple/watch.html.
July 12, 2009 at 9pm
Miss Marple: Murder is Easy (the book is sometimes called EASY TO KILL)
Miss Marple investigates a string of "accidents" after a woman on a train tells her about murders in a local village. Benedict Cumberbatch co-stars. View the episode online through July 26 at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/marple/watch.html.
July 19, 2009 at 9pm
Miss Marple: They Do it With Mirrors (the book is sometimes called MURDER WITH MIRRORS)
During rehearsal for an amateur show a murder occurs, and Miss Marple must decipher the elaborate conjuring trick played by the killer. Joan Collins co-stars. View the episode online through August 2 at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/marple/watch.html.
July 26, 2009 at 9pm
Miss Marple: Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (the book is sometimes titled THE BOOMERANG CLUE)
The last words of a dying man lead the sole witness and a socialite to investigate. Miss Marple joins them as they land in a hotbed of homicide and intrigue.

 
Discussion Leader:  Babi




Roll Tide ~ Winners of  BCS 2010 National Championship

marcie

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 7751
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #281 on: July 27, 2009, 11:21:17 AM »
JoanG, the book is quite entertaining. I borrowed a copy from our public library. If you have the opportunity to do so, I think it would be worthwhile. The interplay between Bobby and Frankie is humorous.

I agree that the acting/directing of Frankie, and her costumes, didn't capture her character.

I had read the book but wasn't trying to compare it with the TV production. I thought the TV episode was difficult to follow in the beginning.

The various plots were crazy. It seemed like a soap opera. None of the characters was very sympathetic. Bobby was okay. Babi, I too was wondering if they were trying to be farcical.

JoanP

  • BooksDL
  • Posts: 10391
  • Arlington, VA
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #282 on: July 27, 2009, 11:22:13 AM »
I'm glad to hear that last night's production made little sense to those of you who have NOT read the book lately.  I did read it - and spent most of the time watching, trying to find Christie's story - and trying to follow what I was seeing on the screen.  It made absolutely no sense to me.What was all that stuff about the snake?  Sylvia, the mommy of those two kids written into the story - And Moira, the nurse - and the new Evans...with the maid Evans thrown in at the end as an afterthought.  It seems that someone thought it was not a good idea to change Evans after all.

I have to say this - this was not Agatha Christie's work brought to the screen.  It was someone else's work - trying to emulate her.

Immediately following the new Masterpiece Mystery "Agatha Christie"  mysteries, our PBS station has been running older Masterpiece Christie stories - with Geraldine McEwan.  These are what I expected to see in these new Masterpiece Mysteries.  The plot is easy to follow, though still full of mystery.  And Geraldine McEwan is believable in the role.  I feel sorry for the new Ms. Marple -she has a such a murky plot to act through - how could she portray a believable detective?  Why, there isn't even a Miss Marple in the Christie story - those two kids, Bobby and Franky fumble through - and eventually solve the mystery - without Miss Marple.

How do we let Masterpiece know how we feel about this?  After all, THEY pointed us to the books - surely they knew we would see the liberties taken in the rewriting?

marcie

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 7751
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #283 on: July 27, 2009, 11:27:26 AM »
I think there are (at least) two main issues. One is does the TV production closely follow the original Christie book. The other is, if there are changes, are they for the better or at least equal to the book. I wouldn't necessarily object to the writers changing even the plot of the episode, if they did it well. I didn't like the sensational/soap opera type of motivations and plot elements that were changed. They made me have little regard for the characters.

EvelynMC

  • Posts: 216
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #284 on: July 27, 2009, 11:59:25 AM »
I sat and watched the whole 1-1/2 hours and at the end thought it was a complete waste of time.  At first I thought they were going for camp and trying to be funny.  Then I realized it was just bad, bad writing and definitely was not Christie. What were the producers thinking?  Where are they getting these "writers"?  All these crazy plots and sick, dysfunctional families are supposed to modernize the stories and bring them up to date? I don't think so.
 
But once more the clothes, scenery and cars were all beautiful.  Very, very good photography.  The actors by and large did as well as they could with the script.

I am glad "Six by Agatha" is over.  Next week they have Sgt. Lewis again.   

marcie

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 7751
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #285 on: July 27, 2009, 12:05:11 PM »
I agree, Evelyn, with all that you say. The production values of the Miss Marple series were great...stylish and attractive. It's only the "content" that was mostly awful :-)

I enjoyed the Inspector Morris series and the first Inspector Lewis series. I hope Lewis II lives up to them.

JudeS

  • Posts: 1162
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #286 on: July 27, 2009, 01:12:52 PM »
I agree with you who found "Why didn't they Ask Evans " confusing, almost  farcical in its confusing plot.  What would Agatha have said if she had seen this version of her work?
I guess she would have said "Who Murdeed the Plot" or "Why Didn't They Read the Book".

In happier news a new book about Christie has just been released;
 "Duchess of Death' by Richard Hack publ: Phoenix Books.
It seems Christie referred to herself as a'"sausage machine".  It seems she had a great sense of humor.   

pedln

  • BooksDL
  • Posts: 6694
  • SE Missouri
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #287 on: July 27, 2009, 01:47:22 PM »
Well, I taped Evans last night and the captions were a mish mash, but from what you all say, I didn't miss much. -- I'll just look forward to reading the book, sometime.

It's a shame.  On the whole, I've found the performances a bit draggy, and just not very good. The one exception was Cat Among the Pigeons, with David Suchet as Poirot.  It did not stray far from the book, and was enjoyable and decently paced.  I did not care for Julia McKenzie in any of them, prefer Geraldine McEwan,  or of course, Joan Hickson.  We complained the last time PBS put on a Christie series (with McEwan) because of the ridiculous changes the writers made. (I didn't watch Mrs. McGinty because I'd just seen a horrible Margaret Rutherford version -- PBS isn't the only one to muck up Christie).

So what is it with the Christies that puts PBS off-track?  I haven't read the Wallendars, but they were good shows to watch.  Likewise the Linleys, very loosely based on E. George, but not likely to raise cain among those who haven't read the books.  At least they didn't come across as being written in junior high English.  And some things are simply excellent, like Bleak House.  Guess it all boils down to the writers.

Mippy

  • Posts: 3100
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #288 on: July 27, 2009, 03:03:33 PM »
It looks like Masterpiece Mystery and Masterpiece "classics" or whatever they call it  are organized by totally different people.
I also thought Bleak House was absolutely wonderful, and was inspired to re-read the book!  Little Dorritt , also by Dickens, was pretty good as well.

I agree AC would have hated many of these recent films.  Thanks for the heads up on the one last night which I didn't finish; now I won't bother.
quot libros, quam breve tempus

marcie

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 7751
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #289 on: July 27, 2009, 04:33:22 PM »
  What would Agatha have said if she had seen this version of her work?
I guess she would have said "Who Murdeed the Plot" or "Why Didn't They Read the Book".

Very funny, Jude! ;)

Thanks for the information about the book "Duchess of Death."

Babi

  • Posts: 6732
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #290 on: July 28, 2009, 10:17:26 AM »
 
Quote
There were things in it that seem familar to me but from different Christie novels or maybe even other English novels that I have read.
 That was just the impression I got too, JOANGRIMES.  The whole plot seemed to be a hobo stew, ...throw in everything!

  I wonder if this whole thing was a quick down-and-dirty job by Chorion, to make a few more bucks off the Christie
property before selling it.  They'll be lucky if they don't have to lower their asking price after this batch.  Though I agree with PEDLN that the Poirot films were much better done than the Miss Marple.

  I got a grin from those lines, too, JUDE.  Thanks for lightening the scene. :D

  I don't know how much control Masterpiece Theatre or Masterpiece Mystery have over the productions. They may
simply contract with the producers for so many films from a given author, with no say as to the writers, plot changes or actors.  Anybody know more about how that works?
"I go to books and to nature as a bee goes to the flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey."  John Burroughs

JoanP

  • BooksDL
  • Posts: 10391
  • Arlington, VA
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #291 on: July 28, 2009, 10:23:08 AM »
I don't know, Babi - I could ask the lovely lady who arranged for us to receive the Wallander and the real Christie novels.  She just might answer.  As soon as I get my laptop up and running - should be any day now...I'll have more than the allotted half hour the library allows.

We learned one important thing here - that Agatha Christie was not losing it - that the recent productions were not her work at all...a "hobo stew" perhaps,  ;) - but not the tight mysteries we were expecting.  And we would never have known this if not reading the books along side the film versions.

Retired, was it you who asked for a set of the real Christie novels?  Someone did - and I will send mine on to you  if you email me your home address.  And if it wasn't Retired, please speak up - I think it will be an eye opener seeing what A. Christie really wrote!


JoanP

  • BooksDL
  • Posts: 10391
  • Arlington, VA
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #292 on: July 29, 2009, 11:26:05 AM »
Here's a question - for those who saw the PBS production - but probably more for those of you who just read the  book - Why the second title - the Boomerang Clue?  I can't get this out of my head - but see no reason why the Evans title was renamed Boomerang in some titles.  Would be grateful if anyone can come up with a reason and I can free up some gray matter in my poor overloaded brain.

marcie

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 7751
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #293 on: July 29, 2009, 11:33:00 AM »
Joan, I was wondering about that myself. I think the "boomerang" could refer to the fact that Evans (whom Bobby and Frankie were trying to identify) turns out to be in Bobby's own home at the vicarage. His search to solve the mystery leads him back to where he first began.

JoanP

  • BooksDL
  • Posts: 10391
  • Arlington, VA
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #294 on: July 29, 2009, 06:54:18 PM »
That makes perfect sense, Marcie.  Thanks!  I can stop thinking about that now.

Well, did you guess who dun it?  I don't think you could predict that it was Roger - and Moira from the PBS production - I could be wrong.  But Agatha Christie made two things clear in the book - that Bobby and Frankie were going to be together at the end...AND Bobby was attracted to Moira and Frankie to Roger.  So the only thing to do - make Moira and Roger the bad guys and that would leave Bobbie and Frankie together.  Simple!


marcie

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 7751
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #295 on: July 29, 2009, 08:20:55 PM »
LOL, Joan. Yes, the "rivals" had to bumped off to make way for Bobby and Frankie.

JudeS

  • Posts: 1162
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #296 on: July 29, 2009, 08:42:32 PM »
I just reread "A Pocketful of Rye".  To my amazement the plot became technicolor as I read it.  The indoor and outdoor settings were much clearer than before I saw the PBS version.  So if we wipe away the confusing plots and subplots that the writers invented we are left with a wonderful picture of the backdrop of all the action.Some of the faces stayed with me too.

Watching the PBS version  wasn't a waste of time after all.

marcie

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 7751
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #297 on: July 29, 2009, 10:08:44 PM »
That's great, Jude! I have to admit that there is much to enjoy in the productions....even if some of the plot features and motivations are crazy. ::)

dean69

  • Posts: 253
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #298 on: July 30, 2009, 06:46:20 AM »
What a disappointment.  I believe PBS is better than this.  Why do they continually change the stories of Agatha Christie when they were so good as written by her.  The Geraldine McEwan and the Julia McKenzie versions of Miss Marple are disasters not only their performances, but the stories as well.  The Joan Hickson portrayal of Miss Marple was believable, although some of these stories were changed, too.  I hope PBS does a better job of the Inspector Lewis series.

Babi

  • Posts: 6732
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #299 on: July 30, 2009, 09:05:14 AM »
 I can see where some aspects of Christie's stories might not do as well on
film, DEAN.  She did have a large number of characters...and thus more potential suspects...in her books.  They added interest to the books, but could
be confusing in a film as being really irrelevant to the development of the plot.
The time constraints had to be considered too, in making a film.  A number of
scenes could be cut without damaging the story line.
  But completely changing the characters, the plot, the motives....that was
really too much.  Some bad decisions were made, IMO, in producing this
particular series.
"I go to books and to nature as a bee goes to the flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey."  John Burroughs

JoanP

  • BooksDL
  • Posts: 10391
  • Arlington, VA
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #300 on: July 30, 2009, 11:36:54 PM »
Well, we'll always have Wallander, right? Dean, I have to defend Geraldine McEwen's Miss Marple - because her eyes twinkle with good humor.

It will be interesting to view and compare Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse with PBS Inspector Lewis - beginning on August 16.   Have you ever read any of Colin Dexter's novels?

marcie

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 7751
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #301 on: July 31, 2009, 04:23:14 PM »
If you have more comments about Agatha Christie please post in this discussion here before we close out this one.

We have a new discussion for the Inspector Lewis series here:  http://seniorlearn.org/forum/index.php?topic=707.msg31519#msg31519


Babi

  • Posts: 6732
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #302 on: August 01, 2009, 09:23:00 AM »
 Last chance for any choice observations you would like to make on the much
lamented new 'Miss Marple' series.  I think we must blame the writers for these
misdeeds.  The quality of Masterpiece Theatre productions is so firmly fixed in
my opinion, that I cannot believe them to be responsible.
  Do sign up for the Inspector Morse series.  Marcie has a link for us, bless her!
"I go to books and to nature as a bee goes to the flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey."  John Burroughs

Pat

  • Posts: 1544
  • US 34, IL
Re: PBS Masterpiece Mystery! ~ Six by Christie
« Reply #303 on: August 01, 2009, 09:47:21 AM »
The Boomerang Clue was the title that the book had when first published by Christie.  

Why Didn't They Ask Evans was added when the first TV production on the Mobil Showcase Network aired it in '83-'84.  Remember Peter Ustinov, the MC.

In the book the clue "Why didn't they ask Evans" finally returned to significance, when Evans was identified as the cook or housekeeper in the Vicarage where Bobby's father was the Vicar.