This Village is Full of Strange People: Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Endless Night (2013)

Hey everybody, for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays. Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! Our second film is:

So technically this is an episode, but as it is the same length as an actual film-I’m including it with the films. I did the same thing my first year with Agatha Christe’s Poirot: Halloween Party.

So I am a huge fan of Victoria (when will the next season be coming?) and reading through rticles about the show and the actors, one thing that was recommended was Tom Hughes’ (Prince Albert in Victoria), portrayal of Michael Rogers in Miss Marple’s Endless Night.

So when I had my free trial of AcornTV to watch the Miss Fisher movie, it included the Miss Marple TV Show. I had seen it before when it was included in Netflix and Amazon, and while I love Miss Marple I noticed that the show took more liberties with the stories than they did with the Poirot TV show. I think it is because there are less stories and she’s a different type of sleuth as she is an elderly lady who isn’t as active in her sleuthing as Poirot.

Even though I haven’t really liked the recent adaptions, I decided to check it out.

This is one of the weirdest portrayals of an Agatha Christie novel I have ever seen.

from Jamaica Inn

Like, what is THIS?

So we start off with Mike (Tom Hughes) talking abut his life. The first important memory is when he tried to save his friend, Rudolf Santonix’s, brother who fell through the ice. He didn’t save him, but as his Rudolf was unable to do anything he vows to do anything for Mike if he asks it. Mike does’t take him too seriously. The boys grow up and go on separate paths. Mike ultimately becomes a chauffeur, but dreams of more. He wants a big piece of land with woods, a house, etc. There is a spot he dreams of, Gipsy’s Acres, but he doesn’t have the money for it. There he meets Miss Marple and they talk about the land, and that it has a “curse” on it.

Dark forest, from Death Comes to Pemberley.

Mike runs into Rudolf who is now an architect. He’s suffering from tuberculosis and wants to pay Mike back for trying to save his brother. He designs him a beautiful house, as he knows Mike better than anyone else. Mike loves it, but has no money to buy land or build the house.

He goes now and then to Gipsey’s Acres to dream, running into Miss Marple again.

This, this was pretty weird. Miss Marple keeps wanting to see him, searching him out, she’s like obsessed with him. There is no other reason why she keeps randomly popping up.

It is such a weird direction to go in.

One day at the Gipsey’s Acres he runs into Fenella “Ellie” Guteman. Ellie is an heiress who is lonely and not normal. She just acts weird.

You know what, EVERYBODY in this is weird. They act completly strange and not normal, it’s pretty creepy. In fact Mike is the only one who is normal. He and Ellie are going to get married and she wants to bring her companion to live with them as she can’t live without her.

What??

Mike is like no he dosen’t want the companion to live with them when they get married and Ellie gets really upset about it. Why would you want your friend to live with you when you just got married? Espechially, as you go on and on about how beautiful she is…it almost seems as if there is something between them, but if that’s the case why marry Mike?

They decide to get married and Mike tells his mom who freaks out. They fight and she screeches at him that she is the only one who knows who he really is.

They then meet up with Ellie’s family who are strange, dysfunctional, and don’t want to lose control of her or her money. And they all go on about her companion Greta. Like why is everyone is obsessed about her?

They then meet Rudolf to tell him and he’s furious. He wanted Mike to make money not marry it. Nevertheless he agrees to build the house and starts acting strange too. He goes on about how he is very sick, in fact he is terminal. He talks about what power his impeding death gives him-he could go anywhere he wants to and kill anyone he wanted to.

SUPER creeped

Weird. Really weird. Everyone is just so strange and creepy and weird except Mike. Mike is the only normal one. You know what that means, he must be the bad guy.

So Mike and Ellie go to Italy for their honeymoon and guess who they run into: Miss Marple.

Where is everyone?

Okay, NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!

I have read almost every single Miss Marple book and short story. She is on a fixed income, and the only times she goes anywhere is in England is to visit or help friends, and or once to Bertram’s Hotel when her nephew gave her money to go on a trip. There is no way she is going on holiday to Italy, she only knows people who don’t have a lot of money.

Miss Marple is soooo obsessed with Mike that she went all the way to Italy to casually bump into him? I think she is the killer. I mean we all know the rich heiress is going to be murdered. Its obvious. I think she killed his wife to make room for her.

Just kidding, I know that isn’t the answer. Anyways, Greta comes and they move into the house Mike and Greta just can’t stand each other.

An old woman is harassing them for taking the Gipsey Wood away from the gypsies, etc. Ellie has been suffering from the damp air and starts taking pills which she shares with a fellow equestrian rider.

Hmm…

One day Ellie never comes home, and they look for her and, surprise surprise-she is found dead, fallen off her horse. Her horse riding friend dies too. They think the old lady harassing them did it, but they find her dead too.

SPLAT!

Mike and Greta grow close together, while Miss Marple is on the case.

So it is obvious that the only “normal” character turns out to be the “psycho” and all the “psycho” characters are “normal”. I don’t know what they were doing with this episode, it’s a mess.

Ugh…

This actually legit sets up Jane Maple to be a potential killer. I mean she is always “happening” to come across Mike. If Miss Marple was a boy and Mike was a girl-this would be a Lifetime movie.

Seriously!

So this is obviously not like how it was in the novel, I’m sure. In fact…I don’t recall Miss Marple ever being in anything called Endless Night now that I think about it.

Hmmm…

So I googled it and it turns out this was just a mystery novel by her, not a Miss Marple mystery, they decided to rewrite it as a vehicle for her, probably because there aren’t as may Miss Marple stories as there are Poirot, and let me say it DID NOT work!

HARD PASS!!!

For more Agatha Christie, go to Miss Marple and Jane Austen: You Can See Human Nature From Anywhere in a Small Village

For more Miss Marple, go to A Whole Lot of Fanfare

For more detectives, go to The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario: Ellery Queen (1976)

For more female detectives, go to Why Miss Fisher the Movie Flopped for Me: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)

Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: Stardust (2007)

So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?

Hmm…I don’t know!

That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.

I can’t stop watching!

Here we go with:

I lOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOve this movie!

So years ago my friend and I were having a hunk-a-thon, a movie marathon with films that had men we found attractive in it. We used to do this every three or four months.

Squee! I loved it!

I remember that my friend Anne had brought this and wanted to watch it. I wasn’t feeling it as I wanted to watch another movie, but it was her turn to choose, so we did and I straight up loved it! She fell asleep as she had seen it before, while I wanted to watch every minute.

I love it so much I will watch this film over and over again.

I loved it so much that of course I wanted to read the book…and I did. Let me say that this is a statement I rarely ever, ever say: The movie was way better.

I know, the world must be ending again.

Anyways…let’s get back to the plot synopsis.

There is a small village called Wall that resides next to an ancient wall. No one knows why it was built, who built it, or why they are supposed to keep people from crossing it. On one side of the wall is the village, and the other is a field.

A long time ago there was a break in the wall, and as long as they can remember there was a guard there to keep people from crossing it. One young man, Dunstan Thorn, has been very curious and decides to vault over there.

When he does he finds himself in a magical world. There is a market by the wall, and Dunstan stops at a caravan which houses a beautiful woman, Una (Kate Magowan), an enslaved princess. She is trapped by witch Ditchwater Sal and can’t be free until the witch dies.

That’s my life. 😦

She offers the wares, and sells Dunstan a snowdrop flower for a kiss. The snowdrop is a very special enchanted flower that offers protection to the owner. She invites him into the caravan, and after Dunstan returns home.

Dunstan tries to get over the wall again, but the spry wall guard will not allow it. He thinks that is all, until nine months later a baby is left at the wall with a candle, a note for Dunstan, an a note for the boy, Tristan.

Oh…

Years pass and Tristan is a young man and played by the very handsome Charlie Cox, also known as Daredevil.

Tristan is just an average boy, with an average life. His father is a farmer and he works in a shop. He is in love with the town beauty, Victoria, but she isn’t interested. She wants Humphrey, who has money.

I’m on the Tristan side as I find Cox attractive and love that name.

He loses his job at the shop for being more focused on Victoria. He feels out of sorts, but his dad encourages him and he surprises Victoria with an amazing picnic and watch a falling star. He tries to woo her and Victoria tells him that he has a week-until her birthday-to get her that star or she will marry Humphrey.

Now in the magical land on the other side of the wall, Stormhold, the King is dying. He had seven sons and one daughter. There is a fierce competition for the throne-although three of the sons have been murdered, the sister has vanished, and one is pushed out the window-leaving three left. A male heir must take the throne and to decide who will inherit the king throws his priceless ruby into the sky-knocking a star down (the one Tristan and Victoria saw)-and whoever finds it will be the next king. Another brother is disposed of and we are left with only two- Primus and Septimus (Mark Strong)-both searching for the jewel.

Mark Strong, you say?

Meanwhile, the falling star awakens the three witch Queens-Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer), Mormo, and Empusa. They need the star’s heart in order to maintain immortality. Lamia eats the remaining part of a former heart, giving her some youth and power, and she sets off to find the new star.

Meanwhile, Tristan wants to get over the wall, but the wall guard won’t let him and beats him up. When he gets home his father sees him and after they talk, decides to reveal his true parentage. Tristan reads his note and that his mother wanted to keep him but was unable to. She gifted him with a Babylon Candle, that will send the owner anywhere they think of when they light it. She tells Tristan he is the only one who can save her and tells him to light it and think of her and nothing else.

Tristan does, but instead of his mother ends up on top of Yvaine (Claire Danes), the star. Yes, when a star is knocked out of the sky it becomes a human form. It turns out Tristan was thinking of Victoria and went to the star instead.

He chains Yvaine to himself and prepares to take her to Victoria, promising that if she goes with him to win his true love, he will give her the rest of the babylon candle and she can return to the sky.

As they go along, the brothers are also searching and plotting against each other. Meanwhile, Lamia, prepares a trap for the star.

That is not good,

Tristan and Yvaine are separated when she can no longer walk on, and Tristan goes in search of how far the next town is and falls asleep. A unicorn comes to help Yvaine, but instead goes right into the trap that Lamia has set up-a fake inn. There she gives Yvaine a bath to refresh her as she sees a happy, glowing star.

The forest wakes Tristan and warn him that something bad will happen to Yvaine. He wakes up and catches a ride with Piramus, who is still searching for the ruby.

They manage to get to the inn before Lamia puts her plan into action. Although, Piramus isn’t so lucky-he gets his throat cut.

Ouch

Tristan pulls out the Babylon candle and tells Yvaine to think of home, he thinking of Wall-she thinking of space, and they end up in the middle-the sky!

There they get picked up by Captain Shakespeare and his lightening pirates. Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro) is known throughout the land to be fierce, strong ruthless, and has a dreadful reputation.

It turns out that Captain Shakespeare isn’t as bad as he seems. He is fun, loves England (named himself Shakespeare after the author), ballet, music, clothes, etc. He “kills” Tristan to protect his reputation and then gives him a fierce makeover (sorry I have been watching a lot of America’s Next Top Model). And teaches him to sword fight, dance, etc.

He takes them to as close as he can and gives Tristan some advice to not pass over Yvaine. They continue to the Wall, but will Tristan continue on his quest to give a jerk not worthy of his time something priceless? Will he ever find his mother? Will Yvaine get her true love and find her home? Who will be King? And will they outsmart the witches, or Yvaine be on the menu?

Hmm…

So an AMAZING!!!!! AMAZING!!! AMAZING film!!! I LOVE it.

So what makes it something an Austen fan will love?

Hmmm…

So the first thing that kept popping in my head when they spoke about Tristan was that he was a lot like Catherine Morland. Both growing up in okay families, seen as ordinary and average-nothing special.

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her.”

But Catherine ends up being whisked away to the big city, has two men after her, goes to a mysterious abbey, etc. Tristan has to fight witches, get kidnapped by pirates, outwits princes, etc.

Catherine is also like Yvanie. Both are dreamers wanting more. Catherine a reader-reading romances and dreaming about them. Tristian dreams about adventure as well. And both find themselves smack dab in the middle of a romantic adventure with gothic elements.

Yvaine: You know, it’s funny. I used to watch… I used to watch people having adventures. I envied them.

Tristan: You ever heard the expression “Be careful of what you wish for”?

Yvaine: What, so ending up with my heart cut out – that will serve me right?

Tristan: No, I didn’t mean it like that. Look, I admire you dreaming. A shop boy like me… I could never have imagined an adventure this big in order to wish for it. I just thought I’d find some lump of celestial rock, take it home and that would be it.

Yvaine: And you got me. [they both begin to laughIf there’s one thing I’ve learned about all my years watching Earth, is that people aren’t what they may seem. There are shop boys, and there are boys who just happen to work in a shop for the time being. And trust me Tristan, you’re no shop boy. You saved my life. Thank you.

And then there is Victoria.

Ugh!

Victoria is the girl that Tristan likes and wants to win her heart, but she doesn’t care about him. She is just interested in money and wants Humphrey as he has it. She plays around with Tistian’s feelings, enjoying how he does things for her, let’s her cut in line at the shop, gets Champagne, etc. She reminds me of Mary Crawford and Mr. Wickham with their search for a wealthy partner to take care of them; along with being like Mr. Wickham and Frank Churchill in how she flirts, teases, and plays on other’s affections-when she has no intention of being with them at all. Frank just messes around with Emma, and Wickham toys with Lydia and Elizabeth.

And of course, Mark Strong is in it. Mark Strong played Mr. Knightley in Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version.

Mark Strong, you say?

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

For more Neil Gaiman, go to Heaven on Earth: 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

For more Charlie Cox, go to Old Fandoms and New Fancies

For more Mark Strong, go to Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

For more Jane Austen film/TV, go to I’ll Be Watching You: Austentatious (2015)