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19 November 2012 @ 12:14 am
Marple: The Moving Finger  
The friend I went to see Cloud Atlas with the second time got on the James D'Arcy bandwagon soon afterwards and went ahead and Netflixed everything he'd ever done that was available on DVD. She sat through a lot of terrible films (sorry, James D'Arcy but that Exorcist prequel was HORRENDOUS) but joyfully dug into this Marple episode which I rewatched with her.

I love how this show and Poirot can always be counted on for putting together a marvelous cast.

So, The Moving Finger starring Geraldine McEwan, James D'Arcy, Emilia Fox, and Tallulah Riley


Siblings Jerry (James D'Arcy) and Joanna Burton (Emilia Fox) rent a cottage in a small English village so that Jerry can recover from injuries sustained in a motorbike accident that was quite possibly a halfhearted suicide attempt. The Burtons settle in for a few months of quiet village life but since this is an Agatha Christie there is mayhem and murder. Apparently, someone in the village has been sending around "poisoned penned" letters, accusing various villagers of rather appalling behavior. One of these recipients, Mrs. Symmington (Imogen Stubbs) commits suicide soon after her letter arrives. Or was it suicide?

This is an episode that's helped largely due to the fine acting by one and all. The pacing of it and the general storyline for me always starts to drag somewhere in the middle but you manage to pull through via the sheer talent of the cast, acting their hearts out.

The first time I watched this episode, like most people I fell for the developing relationship between Jerry and Mrs. Symmington's daughter, Megan (Tallulah Riley). The adaptation did your classic Tomboyish Girl Grows Into Lovely Womanhood trope, complete with a makeover sequence for Megan whose mix of candor and innocence jostles Jerry out of the depression he's clearly in. In rewatching the episode, I still found their pairing to be fun to watch but this time they lost their OTP throne to the other couple I'd sort of forgotten about: Joanna and Dr. Owen Griffiths (Sean Pertwee).

I'd practically forgotten that while the story set the Megan and Jerry relationship more or less front and center as this burgeoning, romantic, sweet love, Joanna was busy capturing the eye of Owen. They enact their own classic trope of the Sassy Sophisticated City Girl Bowls Over Awkward Befuddled Guy but hey, it's a classic for a reason. I liked that through their quiet background courtship you saw that Joanna wasn't as superficial and careless as she might seem and Owen wasn't as hopeless in the wooing department as he might seem. Hell, he captured her heart by showing her a photo of a diseased spleen. And it worked. They were clearly made for each other. And during this viewing I realized Owen had success a lot faster than Jerry did the first time he made his feelings toward Megan be known.


Next on my friend's queue is Poirot's The Mystery of the Blue Train where she gets to watch James D'Arcy be drunk and insolvent. I told her it'll be much better than having to sit through Rise. Sorry again, James D'Arcy and Lucy Liu but it's one of the worst vampire movies ever made.
 
 
 
The Writer They Call Tay: DW: Rose cutieawanderingbard on November 19th, 2012 02:32 pm (UTC)
Jerry and Megan are legit my favourite obligatory-young-man-and-woman-who-fall-in-love-over-the-course-of-the-story couple. There's a beautiful moment in the book when Jerry's narrating and he sort of stops and goes 'wait, she's totally legal, I could tap that'. I have often questioned Dame Agatha's idea of romance (the last book I read made me want to throw the book across the room when it was revealed who was getting together), but I do enjoy Jerry and Megan quite a lot.

Have you see The Canterville Ghost? I seem to remember watching that when I went through my D'arcy phase and really, really enjoying it.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 19th, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
I like how some of the more recent adaptations have been changing who ends up with whom from the original stories because, yeah. Some of the pairings did not do it for me.

Have you see The Canterville Ghost?

Is this the one with Ian Richardson? I think I've seen it but I can't be sure. But if it's available on DVD, I'm sure my friend has it coming to her from Netflix.

I feel like her experience with James D'Arcy is the opposite of mine where she's trying to reconcile that he's played villains the bulk of his career while I'm still fighting against the knee jerk reaction that any character he plays must be evil.
The Writer They Call Tay: DH: Random Happenstanceawanderingbard on November 19th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
It's only chance if I've read the book before I see the adaptation or the reverse, so I don't think I've noticed couples being swapped of late. I remember Third Girl had an entirely different plot to the original story and Three Act Tragedy went with the British ending which confused me because I'd read the American version. And apparently Murder is Easy doesn't resemble the original story at all.

Yep, that's the one. I don't remember much about it, but I do remember it being silly and funny and delightful.

I don't think I've seen him play any villains, actually. I first saw him in Master and Commander and I remember him being a bit of a jerk in Mansfield Park and he was a bit of a douche in WE, but I've never seen him as a villain. But I don't watch horror movies, so that might be it,
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 19th, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
I don't think I've seen him play any villains, actually.

I first saw him as the sociopathic Franny Roote in an episode of Dalziel and Pascoe and I guess it says something about his acting abilities that I had a really hard time not thinking about him as serial killer after that. Even during his turn as Sherlock Holmes I kept suspecting that maybe this adaptation would make Holmes evil at the end as a final twist or something.

But I don't watch horror movies, so that might be it,

It amuses me greatly that he also hates watching horror movies, despite the fact that he's made a bunch of them by this point.
The Writer They Call Tay: SHERLOCK: Sherlock shockawanderingbard on November 20th, 2012 12:05 am (UTC)
OMG, you've seen that version of Sherlock Holmes?! I've heard it's awful. Is it good awful or bad awful?


It amuses me greatly that he also hates watching horror movies, despite the fact that he's made a bunch of them by this point.


Yeah, I could see myself making a horror movie, but not watching one. Like, I'd star in it and then not go to premieres. I doubt it's terribly scary or suspenseful when you're on set with a script, doing it fifty times in a row and without any music or sound effects.

I'm very specific and weird about what I can and cannot watch. I made it through Sin City for example, but couldn't do Glory.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 20th, 2012 12:12 am (UTC)
OMG, you've seen that version of Sherlock Holmes?! I've heard it's awful. Is it good awful or bad awful?

I don't have a very clear recollection of this movie in terms of plot but I do remember being sort of bored by it so I'm going to go with bad awful. I think part of the problem was that this particular Holmes and Watson didn't generate that much on screen chemistry.

I made it through Sin City for example, but couldn't do Glory.

Maybe the stylized quality of the violence made Sin City easier to watch.
The Writer They Call Tay: MERLIN: Merlin finds you weirdawanderingbard on November 20th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
Maybe the stylized quality of the violence made Sin City easier to watch.

Yeah, I think that's probably it. I have trouble with...suffering, I think. Like, I was fine in Glory until a soldier was getting his leg removed and screaming for his mother and that's when I went 'nope'.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 20th, 2012 12:29 am (UTC)
I had this conversation with guardian_chaos where we both squirmed and cringed our way through watching a character commit suicide in Cloud Atlas. But then when that was followed up with a loved one finding the body, it was game over.
The Writer They Call Tay: BB: Oh No!awanderingbard on November 20th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, exactly. But it's odd because something like Master and Commander, where there were limbs being amputated by cannonballs and hot doctors played by Paul Bettany, doesn't bother me at all. But I could never watch anything like Hostel or Saw, where it's torture porn. That's not my cup of tea at all.
formerly lifeinsomniac: HorriblyWrongjoonscribble on November 20th, 2012 12:40 am (UTC)
Yeah, it makes sense though. The violence in movies like Master and Commander enhances the general plot and just the world you're supposed to be in. But things like Hostel and Saw just has a plot that's nothing but violence which I can't watch either.
The Writer They Call Tay: MISC: DOB bad ninjaawanderingbard on November 20th, 2012 12:43 am (UTC)
Yeah. It's the difference between historical violence and violence for violence's sake, absolutely.