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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > British TV > Telefilms > TV Situation Comedy > Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Pale Horse (2010/Acorn Media) + Mister Ed – The Complete Fifth Season (1964 – 65/MGM/Shout! Factory DVD)

Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Pale Horse (2010/Acorn Media) + Mister Ed – The Complete Fifth Season (1964 – 65/MGM/Shout! Factory DVD)


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:






When it 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:





The new 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.


However, 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.


Not as 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.


This new 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:











This new set sadly has no extras and the show would only last one more season.


The 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.


The Dolby 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


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