Murder Ahoy, Director: George Pollock
Cast: Margaret Rutherford (Miss Jane Marple), Lionel Jefferies (Capt. Rhumstone), Charles Bud Tingwell (Inspector Craddock), William Mervyn (Breeze-Connington), Joan Benham (Matron Alice Fanbraid), and Stringer Davis (Mr. Stringer).
This black and white 1964 comedy-mystery was the third in the popular series of Miss Marple films starring character actress, Margaret Rutherford. Unfortunately, the film is likely to make true Agatha Christie fans more than a bit seasick. Unlike the other films in the series, this movie was not based upon a Christie novel or short story and it truly suffers the consequences but if you're looking for a quirky, fun-filled mystery, Murder Ahoy will do just fine.
The movie begins with the erstwhile Miss Marple joining the Board of Directors of a most unusual boys academy. The boarding school purports to transform juvenile delinquents into ship-shape citizens while the students live and study aboard the H.M.S. Battledore.
The crusty Miss Marple soon realizes that there are stormy seas at the school. Certainly, there is more than meets the eye brewing at the academy and the crusty senior citizen and amateur detective squares her shoulders and vows to stop at nothing to solve the puzzle.
It is clear to the eccentric Miss Marple that murder and mayhem are setting sail to wreck havoc on the famed school which, not coincidentally, was founded by one of her ancestors. In fact, at her first Board of Directors' meeting, one of her colleagues drops dead from poison that was hidden in the man's snuff box.
Decked out in seaworthy uniform in regulation style, Miss Marple boards the Battledore. Recognizing that there are secrets aboard, she is determined to solve the mystery come Hell or high water. Aided as usual, by her elderly suitor, Mr. Stringer, Rutherford tiptoes from stem to stern uncovering irregularities and downright lies as she investigates the academy's staff and students.
Throwing her weight, age and status as a member of the Board of Directors around, she quickly takes over the captain's quarters as her own and sets about to solve the crime with, or without, the help of her police acquaintance, Inspector Craddock.
This black and white film is not to be taken too seriously and culminates in a sword fight to rival the best of the swashbucklers of the Golden Age of movies. While Rutherford may not get the nod of approval of true Christie fans, her Miss Marple films are fun and Murder Ahoy makes for a nice romp on the high seas of crime. We guarantee a good time for the entire family and this film is certain to become a favorite with young mystery fans.
Read our biography of Agatha Christie.