Agatha Christie on the Big and Small Screen
Even though Dame Agatha may not have enjoyed adaptations of her mysteries, audiences have been loving them for decades
- By Daniel Eagan
- Smithsonian.com, May 16, 2011
Dame Agatha Christie didn’t just rule a publishing empire, she conquered other media as well. She wrote the longest continuously running play in modern history, The Mousetrap, and also excelled in writing radio plays. Her stories, novels and plays have also been adapted into numerous movies. (In her Autobiography, Christie, who died in 1976, found fault with just about all of the film adaptations.)
Based on her short story “Philomel Cottage,” Love From a Stranger was made in England in 1937. The story, from one of Christie’s peak creative periods, is an atmospheric thriller starring Basil Rathbone and Ann Harding, as his imperiled bride. (According to Rathbone, producer Darryl F. Zanuck cast him as Sherlock Holmes based on this performance. “So you can say it was actually Agatha Christie who got me typecast as Holmes for all those years!” Rathbone later said.) Adapted from a London and Broadway stage hit by Frank Vosper, it featured future Miss Marple Jane Hickson in a supporting role.