Agatha Christie-Marple-By the Pricking of My Thumbs (2006)
|Category||Mystery||Main Menu Audio|
|Year Of Production||2006|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Peter Medak|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Agatha Christie created two of the most enduring characters in crime fiction, Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. Both of these characters have recently been brought to life again in a series of Granada Television telemovies over the last few years. Both series were shown on ABC television here in Australia and both have been released as a series of DVDs by Roadshow.
As you would expect from Agatha Christie, all of these new Miss Marple (played here by the wonderful Geraldine McEwan) stories are full of murder, twists, lies, red herrings and deceptions. It is impossible to describe the plot in detail without giving away the story and spoiling the twists.
This one is a little different to preceding ones in that it also involves a couple of other recurring Agatha Christie characters, Tommy & Tuppence (played by Anthony Andrews and Greta Scacchi). Tommy works for MI6 and his wife used to enjoy amateur sleuthing but more recently has resorted more to the bottle. Tommy & Tuppence appeared in a number of short stories and novels by Christie and as far as I can tell this story featured them only and not Miss Marple in the original novel. Regardless this is certainly an enjoyable Marple episode and the combination of the three of them works well. The title reference s a line in Shakespeare's Macbeth uttered by The Three Witches By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes.
In this story, Tommy & Tuppence go to a nursing home to visit Tommy's crotchety old Aunt Ada. Miss Marple is also there visiting a friend of hers. While waiting for Tommy to finish talking to his aunt, Tuppence is press ganged into conversation with another old resident, Mrs Lancaster who tells her a confused tale of a murdered baby and the possible hiding place of the body. Shortly after their visit, Tommy goes to the continent for MI6 and news comes through to Tuppence that Aunt Ada has died suddenly. When Aunt Ada's belongings arrive, a painting is included which Tuppence does not believe was Aunt Ada's, however she finds a letter from Ada hidden in it which indicates that the contents of the picture will help to solve the mystery. Mrs Lancaster also disappears. Tuppence hooks up with Miss Marple and sets out to solve the case.
Stylistically, this telemovie includes some nice touches, somewhat reminiscent of a 1950s melodrama. All-in-all, this is one of the best of the Marple series and can certainly be recommended for fans of English murder mysteries.
The video quality is very good but not spectacular.
The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, which is most likely the original aspect ratio.
The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout without being overly crisp. The sharpness was also affected by some light grain. There was no evidence of low level noise. The shadow detail was good.
The colour was very good with no issues to report.
The only noticeable artefact was a little mild aliasing.
There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired which are clear and easy to read.
The audio quality is very good.
This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 256 Kb/s.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.
The score of this film by Dominik Scherrer is very good indeed surprisingly so for a television production. It adds significantly to the mood of the show. The music sounds very warm and full.
The surround speakers were used quite extensively for music when played using Dolby ProLogic II.
The subwoofer was used to add bass to the music but this was more a function of my amp's bass management than anything else.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu was very simple only allowing for scene selection and turning on and off of subtitles. Music plays over a still from the show.
This series of four movies are available as a box set in Region 1 which includes the following special features:
As the local releases include no extras, this is obviously a better solution.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is very good.
The disc has no extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|