Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Pale Horse (2010/Acorn Media) + Mister Ed – The Complete Fifth Season (1964 – 65/MGM/Shout! Factory
Picture: C/C+ Sound: B-/C+ Extras: D Telefilms/Episodes: C+/C
NOTE: Since this first posted, Pale Horse was issued on Blu-ray in the
Marple – Complete Series Five set
reviewed at this link:
comes to doing stories with animals, it is easy to get caught up in clichés and
two very different TV releases on DVD show that one such animal is the
horse. We have had so many bad and
formulaic movies and TV shows on and with horses, that despite what amazing
creatures they are, you would have to be out of your mind to actually produce
one unless you had a really strong idea and script. Here are two of the more intelligent attempts
complete with all their limits…
Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Pale
Horse (2010) is a
remake of a non-Marple story from 1961 that is also among those without one of
her main character detectives. Acorn has
issued this new version with an older 1997 telefilm version that is more
faithful to the novel we covered years ago at this link:
version connects Marple (now played nicely by Julia McKenzie) with a friend of
hers who happens to be a priest, when she receives a letter from him and he is
found dead at the same time. Turns out
the title refers to an Inn where people stay,
but something strange is going on there and the more she investigates (much to
the chagrin of the police), the more twisted the situation gets. Among other things, a cult may be involved
and a complex scheme that only she may be able to figure out.
despite a clever transformation into a Marple tale, it still has the limits,
flaws and lack of impact of the previous version and this stems back to the
book. The cast is not bad though with
comic actress Pauline Collins giving an unusually chilling, bizarre, creepy
performance that will surprise those who are more familiar with her work.
clever, but also in the classic category is Mister Ed – The Complete Fifth Season (1964 – 65) with the show at
a point that it was past its prime and they had done every possible horse joke
possible. However, Alan Young hung in
there and played each episode with the same joy and energy that he did from
that first pilot show and it is why it continued to be a hit along with the
one-joke talking horse gimmick that people embraced. Of course, many know the show was revived in
a bizarre way with My Mother, The Car,
one of the worst scripted TV shows ever featuring a talking car and other
oddities too numerous to go into here.
DVD set has all 26 half-hour shows over four DVDs and will keep fans and
completists happy, but I have not looked at a season since the second and we
have not reviewed one since the third.
How much is enough? A little goes
a long way after a while. Here are links
to our coverage of the first three seasons:
set sadly has no extras and the show would only last one more season.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image Marple
is softer than expected despite the styling of what is an HD shoot, though
color is not bad usually. Other new Marple DVDs looked better, though the
real comparison will arrive when we look at the Marple Blu-ray due very soon.
The 1.33 X 1 black and white image on Ed may have some flaws from softness in the transfer or in part so
the print that have aged or have damage, but they look consistently better than
Marple oddly and would be very
interesting on Blu-ray. The performance
is on par with the previous DVD sets.
Digital 2.0 Stereo on Marple has a fullness that surprises and despite the
lossy codec, sounds good when Pro Logic is used. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Ed can show distortion and the age of
the shows, but is more consistent than you might expect for a show its age.
- Nicholas Sheffo