THE PALE HORSE By Agatha, THE PALE HORSE [AMAZON Prime Video] and THE PALE HORSE (DVD)

Agatha Christie’s The Pale Rider (1963) is one of Christie’s conspiracy mysteries in the mode of The Big Four. There are significant differences between Christie’s novel, the new AMAZON Prime Video version, and a DVD version from the 1990s.

A priest is murdered after visiting a dying woman. The woman gave the priest a list of names which he wrote down and hid in his shoe (because he had a hole in his pocket). The killer didn’t find the list, but the police did. On the list is the name of Mark Easterbrook, an art historian, who becomes the narrator of this tale. Easterbrook meets a young woman called Tommy Tuckerton whose name is also on the priest’s list. She dies soon afterward.

Christie introduces the Three Witches in a small town who appear to be behind the deaths of the people on the priest’s list. In Christie’s novel and the DVD version, Christie underlines the Three Witches by including a scene with Easterbrook and his girl friend, Hermia, attending Macbeth.

While the AMAZON Prime Video version has better production values than the The Pale Horse DVD version, the DVD version stays closer to Christie’s novel. And the star of the AMAZON Prime Video version, Rufus Sewell as Mark Easterbrook, looks bewildered most of the time in this 2-episode series. COLIN BUCHANAN, who plays Easterbrook in the 1997 DVD version (53% on ROTTEN TOMATOES), is young, cocky, and gets beaten up.

All in all, a weak Christie mystery and two mediocre video adaptions. GRADE: B- (for all three versions of The Pale Horse

19 thoughts on “THE PALE HORSE By Agatha, THE PALE HORSE [AMAZON Prime Video] and THE PALE HORSE (DVD)

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    Yet again George performs a public service by watching these things so the rest of us don’t have to. Thanks, George!

    I’ve found recent Christie adaptations to range from unwatchable to mediocre to so so but not really Christie. The adaptations in the ’70s and ’80s with Peter Ustinov were far better.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Jeff, you’re right. I’ve heard the AMAZON Prime Video version of THE A.B.C. MURDERS is dreadful. The best of Christie may be the DVD sets of POIROT and MISS MARPLE on Acorn.

      Reply
    1. george Post author

      Rick, THE PALE HORSE is one of Christie’s weaker mysteries. Some experts think Christie, at this point in the early 1960s, was affected by early-onset Alzheimer’s.

      Reply
      1. Steve Oerkfitz

        I dislike mysteries that are solved by little old ladies. I live in a building full of little old ladies and most of them can’t figure out how to use their cell phones much less solve a murder. The only thing worse are crimes solved by little old ladies with help from their cat.
        Never liked Poirot who never came across to me as a real person. More of a caricature.

      2. Michael Padgett

        Back in the Sixties there was a series of Miss Marple movies with Margaret Rutherford, and I remember liking those. Of course that was 50+ years ago so who knows what I’d think of them now.

  2. Michael Padgett

    I could swear I’ve read all of Christie’s novels but it was long ago and I’m drawing a blank on this one. Add the fact that I’ve never much liked even the Christie adaptations that everyone else seems to like and I’ll give this a pass. I’m familiar enough with your reviews to know that a B- is the kiss of death. Amazon Prime has added a lot of stuff recently, but the only one I’ve really liked is a distinctly weird thriller with Helen Hunt called “I See You”. “Blow the Man Down”, another thriller that seems to have gotten a lot more attention, left me cold.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Michael, I’m always confused by Christie adaptations that change the story (and sometimes the characters) in their movies or video versions.

      Reply
  3. maggie mason

    It’s moot as I don’t get amazon prime. There is one new Christie movie I want to see, don’t remember the name but Bill Nighy is in it.

    I do agree on the older adaptations being much better.

    Reply
  4. wolf

    I read most of Christie’s novels as a teenager or as a student but don’t remember this. I liked the Poirot and Miss Marple books especially.
    Rather OT:
    I had three or four sources – our local library didn’t have them but …
    A relative of my mother who worked in a small bookstore allowed me to read books (standing up …) in the early afternoon in the store, that’s how I read SF.
    A family friend had a large collection of A Christie, Edgar Wallace etc and also allowed me to read books in his library – but not to take them out of the house! I knew that he and his wife slept every afternoon so around 4 pm I went to visit them.
    They also had a large collection of Disney comics – fantastic!
    And as a student I visited another relative, prof in Munich, who would often read a detective novel in the afternoon – and then give it away …
    I got several boxes of books this way.
    And at university I went to the library of the America House reading the originals in English that helped me a lot in my business activities later!

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Wolf, at one time in the 1950s, Agatha Christie was the best-selling writer in the United States. Her paperbacks were everywhere. Today, Christie paperbacks still show up in used bookstores and thrift stores from time to time.

      Reply
      1. Steve Oerkfitz

        They are still in print. B&N has a full shelve of them.

        Having nothing to do with this post I admit to being fascinated with a Netflix crime documentary called The Tiger King. Full of weird characters that remind me of a Carl Hiassen novel.

  5. Cap'n Bob Napier

    Steve, your comment about little old ladies made be laugh out loud. Or, LOLs made me lol.

    George, It’s been decades since I read any Christie and I think the last ones were Tommy and Tuppence!

    Reply

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