The Mirror Crack'd (1980)
Main Menu Audio
|Year Of Production||1980|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Guy Hamilton|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
From the same production team (John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin) that brought us two Hercule Poirot film adaptations (Murder On The Orient Express and Death On The Nile) comes another Agatha Christie classic murder mystery transcribed to film and featuring a star studded cast: The Miss Marple mystery The Mirror Crack'd. The same team would go on to produce Evil Under The Sun.
Hollywood descends on the sleepy English village of St. Mary Mead as the big stars plus a film crew arrives. The village folk are delighted to meet and mingle with a has-been actress trying to make her comeback called Marina Rudd (Elizabeth Taylor), her arch-rival Lola Brewster (Kim Novak), her husband (who is also the director of the film) Jason Rudd (Rock Hudson), and the film producer Martin Fenn (Tony Curtis). Jason's secretary Ella Zielinsky (Geraldine Chaplin) tries to organise a get together to coincide with a local village fair.
Local resident Heather Babcock (Maureen Bennett), who is a great fan of Marina, tries to ingratiate herself by talking about how they met many years ago when she was a young girl asking Marina for her autograph. Next thing you know, she is dead from poisoning - administered through a drink.
Enter Inspector Delbert Craddock (Edward Fox) from Scotland Yard to determine who the murderer is. Perhaps Heather wasn't the intended victim? Perhaps the drink was intended for Marina? Luckily, Delbert has Auntie Jane Marple (Angela Lansbury) to do his thinking for him.
This is a film that is not afraid to poke fun at itself - by opening with the villagers watching another murder mystery, shot in black and white. Also, Inspector Craddock is introduced with the background music playing some jangling chords via screeching violins in true Psycho tradition.
All in all, this is an okay and watchable film, although the ending does not translate well to film and comes off as being a bit melodramatic.
The transfer is presented in widescreen 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced , which is close enough to the intended aspect ratio of 1.85:1 based on a 35mm film source.
The film source is not perfect, leading to a somewhat soft transfer with faded colours. There is also a moderate amount of grain present, though thankfully no signs of edge enhancement.
Compression artefacts include pixelization during the black and white opening scene and some Gibb's effect ringing.
There are no subtitle tracks on this single sided single layered disc.
There is only one audio track: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) - but it might as well be in mono due to the lack of directional Foley effects.
The fidelity of the audio track is somewhat dated, with a prominent mid-range bloom and dialogue that sounds somewhat crackly. Apart from that though, the dialogue is reasonably easy to understand and I did not notice any audio synchronization issues.
There is also rather prominent wow and flutter during the opening "film within a film" but I suspect this is intentional (part of the parody).
As mentioned before, the original music score by John Cameron is almost tongue-in-cheek in its parody of the murder mystery genre.
Needless to say, there is no surround nor subwoofer activity.
|Surround Channel Use|
Extras are limited to a theatrical trailer.
The menus are static but 16x9 enhanced. The main menu includes background audio.
This appears to be presented in 1.33:1 full frame/open matte and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;
Region 1 wins ever-so-slightly on account of the extras, but they are so insignificant I wouldn't bother if I were you.
The Mirror Crack'd is another adaptation of an Agatha Christie murder mystery, this time featuring spinster sleuth Miss Marple. Like other Brabourne/Goodwin productions, it features a big name cast and authentic locations but comes across as being a bit cheesy.
Both audio and video transfers are mediocre.
Extras are limited to a theatrical trailer.
|DVD||Panasonic DVD-RP82, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Denon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)|
|Speakers||Front and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500|