The Mirror Crack’d

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Miss Marple (Angela Lansbury) is thrilled to learn a film company is coming to her small town, but as she soon discovers, not all that comes is good. But before we get into the bad, let’s discuss what happens at the start here, shall we? The small town hosts a wealth of crew members and stars, with the biggest stars being Marina Rudd (Elizabeth Taylor) and Lola Brewster (Kim Novak), the hottest female talent in the business. But it seems the two don’t know they’re working together, as when Marina arrives, she blows her stack in anger over the issue. As you can imagine, the two dislike each other and of course, loathe the idea of having to share the screen with one another. So the production is troubled from the start, but when Marina starts to get death threats, it all takes a turn to the serious side. This is never more true than when a local woman drinks a cocktail meant for Marina, which ends up being poisoned and kills the poor girl. Now Miss Marple must deduce who is behind this murderous plot, before the two vixens go at each other’s throats.

I’ve been wading through some of Anchor Bay’s Agatha Christie releases, so I figured it was time to spin the disc for The Mirror Crack’d. I love a good murder mystery and while Christie writes some the best ones, the films don’t always turn out as well as they should. While this one isn’t one the best examples of filmed Christie, it is a decent one and with such a gifted cast, more than worth a look. These Christie based pictures usually have a nice selection of performers, but this one is better than most, with such names as Rock Hudson, Kim Novak, Tony Curtis, Elizabeth Taylor, and Angela Lansbury involved. The screen always seem loaded, but never too much so, as the actors are given enough space to work within. This is by no means a flawless suspense flick, but The Mirror Crack’d offers some terrific twists and turns, powered by a superb cast of characters. But it moves very slowly and stumbles a few times, so don’t expect perfection from this one. I recommend this as a rental to genre fans and those who love Christie, as this is not a classic, but still worth a spin.

The man behind the wheel of this flick is director Guy Hamilton, who seems to use the brakes a little often with The Mirror Crack’d. I know suspense films can be superb and slow at the same time, but Hamilton never juices this one when it needs it, so the picture trips up often. I am unsure why it turned out this way however, as Hamilton is a talented director and he had a terrific cast to work with here. I suppose he was trying to make this a slow mystery film like other Christie works, but I think he forgot where that gas pedal was in this case. Other films directed by Hamilton include Force 10 >From Navarone, Goldfinger, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Diamonds Are Forever, Evil Under The Sun, and The Man With The Golden Gun. The cast here includes Tony Curtis (Spartacus, Some Like It Hot), Angela Lansbury (Tv’s Murder She Wrote), Rock Hudson (Pillow Talk, Giant), Kim Novak (Picnic, Vertigo), Elizabeth Taylor (Cleopatra, Butterfield 8), and Wendy Morgan (Out of the Blue, Yanks).

Video: How does it look?

The Mirror Crack’d is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. At times, this image is laden with grain and print wear, but at other times, it seems clean and well presented. In the end, the negatives seem to outweigh the positives, but not by too much in the end. I am not pleased with the level of grain here, as it is evident in most scenes here, even in daylight and well lit shots. But don’t assume this is a terrible transfer, as it isn’t at all, it just seems like it could be better at times. The grain lessens the effectiveness of the colors and contrast, but enough to make a world of difference, so no dealbreaking problems here. I’m sure this could have been restored somewhat, but I am not sure that would have made much sense in terms of investment return.

Audio: How does it sound?

A simple, but effective mono track is present, which more than handles the needs of this material. The music and sound effects don’t need much space to open up, but when they need to, this track allows as much as mono can, which isn’t that much. Even so, I was never let down with this audio treatment and in truth, I doubt many others will be either. No problems to report with the dialogue either, which comes across in fine form and with no volume flaws to discuss in the least. A basic effort here, but it proves to be enough in the end.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes some talent files, two television spots, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

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