The Mirror Crack’d (1980)

The Mirror Crack'd (1980)

Taglines: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the murderer among them all?

Set in the fictional English village of St. Mary Mead, home of Miss Jane Marple (Angela Lansbury), in 1953, a big Hollywood production company arrives to film a costume film about Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I with two famous movie stars, Marina Rudd and Lola Brewster (Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak, respectively). The two actresses are old rivals who despise each other. Marina is making a much heralded comeback after a prolonged “illness” and retirement (due to what was really a nervous breakdown when her son was born with severe brain damage).

She and her husband, Jason Rudd (Rock Hudson), who is directing the movie they are making, arrive with their entourage. When she learns that Lola will be in the film as well, she becomes enraged and vents her anger. Lola and her husband, Marty Fenn (Tony Curtis), who is producing the film, arrive. Excitement runs high in the village as the locals have been invited to a reception held by the film company in a manor house, Gossington Hall, to meet the celebrities. Lola and Marina come face to face at the reception and exchange some potent and comical insults, nasty one-liners, as they smile and pose for the cameras. The two square off in a series of clever verbal cat-fights throughout the movie.

After her initial exchange with Lola at the reception, Marina is cornered by a gushing, devoted fan, Heather Babcock (Maureen Bennett), who bores her with a long and detailed story about having actually met Marina in person during the Second World War. After recounting the meeting they had all those years ago, when she arose from her sickbed to go and meet the glamorous star, Heather drinks a cocktail that was made for Marina and quickly dies from poisoning.

Everyone is certain Marina was the intended murder victim. Not only has Marina been receiving anonymous death threats made up of newspaper clippings, once shooting begins on the film she discovers that her cup of coffee on the set has also been spiked with poison, sending her into fits of terror.

The police detective from Scotland Yard investigating the case, Inspector Dermot Craddock (Edward Fox), is baffled as he tries to uncover who is behind the attempt on the life of the actress and consequent murder of an innocent woman. Inspector Craddock asks his aunt, who happens to be Jane Marple, who recently injured her foot at the reception and is therefore confined to her home, for assistance. The suspects are Ella Zielinsky (Geraldine Chaplin), Jason’s production assistant who is secretly having an affair with him and would like Marina out of the way, and the hotheaded actress Lola Brewster.

The Mirror Crack’d is a 1980 British mystery film based on Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple novel The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (1962) and directed by Guy Hamilton. It stars Angela Lansbury, Kim Novak, Elizabeth Taylor, Geraldine Chaplin, Tony Curtis, Edward Fox, Rock Hudson and, in his film debut, Pierce Brosnan.

This crime/mystery was adapted by Jonathan Hales and Barry Sandler. Scenes were filmed at Twickenham Film Studios, Twickenham, London, UK, and on location in Kent.

The Mirror Crack'd Movie Poster (1980)

The Mirror Crack’d (1980)

Directed by: Guy Hamilton
Starring: Angela Lansbury, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, Wendy Morgan, Margaret Courtenay, Carolyn Pickles, Charles Gray, Geraldine Chaplin, Edward Fox
Screenplay by: Jonathan Hales, Barry Sandler
Production Design by: Michael Stringer
Cinematography by: Christopher Challis
Film Editing by: Richard Marden
Costume Design by: Phyllis Dalton
Set Decoration by: Peter Howitt
Music by: John Cameron
Distributed by: Associated Film Distribution
Release Date: December 19, 1980