Home Video

Miss Marple: Volume One (1984 - 1986) - Blu-ray Review

  • Movie Review

  • Blu-ray Review

  • Trailer

Miss Marple: Volume one - Blu-ray Review

{googleAds}

5 stars

Many years ago, there used to be such a thing as life without reality programming on the television.  Call it boring.  Call it slow.  Call it whatever you want.  The fact remains that the medium used to have atypical production values.  Miss Marple, a co-production between the BBC, Network Seven and A&E Networks, is a product of that era.  Produced between 1984 – 1992 with Joan Hickson in the title role, the show celebrates its 30th anniversary with its release on blu-ray courtesy of the BBC.  This series – with all twelve mysteries spread out over 3 separate releases this year – is a must-own due to the lavish care spent on the remastering of the original film elements. 

Miss Marple, an elderly woman working as an amateur detective with keen instincts and small town insights, doesn’t appear to be a threat to anyone.  Truth is that she wouldn’t hurt a single person but her intelligence has even the police force shaking in their boots.  She’s on top of everything and always keeps her wits about – especially when there is a murder to solve.  Created by Agatha Christie in 1926, the BBC televised all 12 of her cases when Hickson, who Christie secretly hoped would eventually play the role after seeing her on stage before her death, was 78.  Gross!  An old woman as a lead character?!  Perish the thought, America!  We like our blue-hairs to be reckless behind the wheel only, not out solving murders with class.

What we get in this first volume are the following episodes: The Murder at the Vicarage, The Body in the Library, The Moving Finger, and A Murder is Announced.  These episodes make up the first set of episodes aired on the BBC from 1984 to 1986.  Set in and around the village of St. Mary Mead during the late 1950’s, these first to air episodes of Miss Marple are time capsule additions that demonstrate “the why”, “the how”, and “the what” of practical production values.  No CGI.  No cheap tricks.  Even the acting – especially from series regulars David Horovitch and Ian Brimble – is of the finest for a show about murders in various domestic locations.

Miss Marple, as previously noted, is a good example of the production values popular in the 1980s.  For the English, the show combines new Victorianism in moral standards and presents a sanitized version of England's rich past.  Mostly set in rural surroundings, the English architecture and country mansion houses are heavily featured.  Like many BBC programs from the period, production values are impeccable and costumes, houses and decor, cars, hairstyles and make-up are detailed.  The details released by the High Definition transfers only make what we knew to be true previously more scrumptious for viewers. 

Regardless of your age, Miss Marple: Volume One is as distinguished as they come.

Miss Marple: Volume one - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 28, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.33:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (2 BDs)
Region Encoding: A, B

From the first note of the opening music and the title sequence drawings of countryside, murder and characters with moody stares, I was transported back thirty years ago to when this BBC adaptation of Miss Marple was first broadcast.  I was a kid then but still engaged.  It was a quality production then and still is, with a faithful period feel and an array of top class actors.  The 1080p improved picture quality of these new HD remasters brings the drama, comedy and intrigue into even sharper focus, quite literally, for an enhanced viewing experience of this classic and much loved series.  The amount of work that went into the restoration to create these AVC encoded 1080p transfers is INSANE.  Through the visual upgrade we see a new level of clarity to the period elements, with richer colors for the clothes and interior styling, as well as the countryside, showcasing more than ever before the excellent production detail.  The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio Mono mix does perfectly well with the various episodes' rather talky ambiences sound and is adequate for the production.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

There is one interesting extra in this set.  It’s called A Very British Murder: Part One The New Taste for Blood.  It’s a 3 part series that originally aired on BBC Four in 2013 and is presented by Dr. Lucy Worsley.  I have to admit that when I started to watch it, I didn’t think it was going to be any good. I was wrong. It is actually quite good and informative.  Check it out when you BUY THIS SET.

A Very British Murder: Part One The New Taste for Blood (50 min)

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home Home Video Miss Marple: Volume One (1984 - 1986) - Blu-ray Review
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Letterboxd
Find us on Rotten Tomatoes