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Here are some drama notes for the SP "Daijoyu Satsujin Jiken" (Warning: Spoilers Ahead!!):


The Original Novel. "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side" by Agatha Christie was published in 1962, featuring Miss Marple as the amateur detective who cracked the case. It takes references from actual history (discussed below). The time setting sees the end of the 50s, and the beginnings of a rising new culture of the 60s, with Miss Marple commenting on these changes and her aging health.
(info/pic: wiki)

References From Actual History. In the story, actress Marina Gregg giving birth to a mentally disabled child due to having been infected with a disease was based on the real life story of Hollywood actress Gene Tierney. Her baby with then husband, fashion icon, Oleg Cassini, was born prematurely, and with severe mental disability, due to being exposed to German measles by one of her fans when she was performing for troops in WW2. Meanwhile Marina Gregg's stormy and colorful love life was obviously inspired by Elizabeth Taylor, who had been married four times by the time the book was published. The latest husband at that time was Eddie Fisher, who left Debbie Reynolds for her. Taylor herself would later on play the character of Marina Gregg in the 1980 adaptation of this book.

Differences Between the Book and the SP:
• The mansion in the book was called "Gossington Hall" owned by a retired serviceman Col. Bantry and his wife. In the SP, it was called "Kami no Yakata", which means "God's Hall" or "God's Mansion". The "god" was taken from the character "kan" (god) in "Kannokoji" which was the former residents' surname.
• The party guest victim in the SP was a fan of the actress and was the former owner of the mansion that the actress bought. In the book, the mansion owner was an elderly widow named Mrs. Bantry and was also a good friend/neighbor of Miss Marple. This widow was the one who described the actress' frozen look, as if "she had seen the mirror cracked from side to side". The victim was a charity worker who met the actress at a benefit concert abroad. She was middle class and was invited to that party because it was held by the charity that she was a part of.
• The adult versions of the three adopted children were all shown in the SP. But in the book, it was only the photographer. Her other two adopted siblings were both male, one said to be working as a farmer in the countryside while the other's whereabouts were unknown. In the SP, the director's aide, the tv newscaster, and the newspaper reporter were new characters added in the story.
• The drug in the book was "Calmo". In the SP, it was "Calmol". Both are fictional but in the book, it was in liquid form, not in tablet form, so it can easily be dissolved in the drink.
• The husband in the book was a big Hollywood producer who was implied to have given Marina Gregg an overdose of sleeping medicine in the end. In the SP, he was a director who in the end, made the hot cocoa for his wife which was implied to be spiked with poison, and probably planned to tell the public that he was the killer to protect his wife's reputation. But Madoka probably knew it so she didn't take the drink and died by her own hands instead.
• The disease in the original story was German measles. In the SP, it was Jikki Virus, a fictional disease that's likely based on the Zika Virus.
• The actress in the SP gave birth to a stillborn baby. She also prepared the murder in advance. In the book, Marina's baby was born with severe mental disability and had to be institutionaized. The murder was a spur-of-the moment decision. After she heard the guest's story, she decided right there and then, to poison and kill her.



Marina Gregg's Frozen Look portrayed by (pics above from left to right) ElizabethTaylor (1980, EMI Films), Claire Bloom (1992, BBC)
Lindsay Duncan (2010, ITV), Kuroki Hitomi (2018, TV Asahi)

The Frozen Look. The title of the story refers to a line in Alfred Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott". In the book, Mrs. Bantry quoted this line "The mirror crack'd from side to side, 'The curse is upon me'" to describe Marina Gregg's frozen look. But instead of saying "The curse is upon me", what Mrs. Bantry said was "The doom is upon me" since "doom" is more dramatic and more apt in capturing Marina's strange expression. And in the end, we learned that the "doom" wasn't meant for Marina, but it was intended for her victim. In the pictures above, which actress do you think gave a better expression of that "frozen look"?

Plotholes. Lol. This adaptation was a bit of a mess, wasn't it? There's a lot but I'll just discuss the three that irked me the most:
• First was the adoption paper. I didn't show anymore what was written on the rest of the adoption paper but the name of the adoptive parents were "Nonaka Keiko" (which was Madoka's real name), and "Nonaka Yoshihiko" as the "adoptive father". Who the heck was "Nonaka Yoshihiko"!? Wasn't Madoka married to the novelist "Takitsuame Akira" (whose real name was "Aiba Hitohiko"... yes, apparently, everyone in this SP is using a fake name) at that time?
• Second was the letters of threat. Madoka had all the time to prepare for the murder (buying a house, redecorating it, planning the party) but failed to make the letters in advance? And yet she planted one of the envelopes on her doorstep before the murder, what the heck was that about? If you have time to make that envelope, at least make the contents already!
• And last was the "bumping into the victim to spill her drink" scene. This was my favorite part of the book, especially how it was revealed in the end, since I thought it was a very clever literary subterfuge. The way it was depicted in the SP was both disappointing and laughable at the same time.


Filming Locations.


"Kami no Yakata". The mansion's setting was filmed at Wakeijuku Mansion of Bunkyo Ward, another filming location especially popular with mystery and period dramas (see my Orient Express SP Notes).

Rokumeikan. Rokumeikan used to be a famous hall during the Meiji era where noble families and dignitaries held social parties and balls. Madoka was filming her movie, "Rokumeikan no Hana" at a mansion. This mansion's setting (facade and stairway) was that of the Shimazu Mansion (left pic above), now a part of Seisen University in Shinagawa Ward.

Madoka's Former Home. The scenes of the adopted children staying at Madoka's house with a nice garden and pond was filmed at the Matsumoto Memorial Music Guest House (right pic above) in Setagaya Ward.
Date: 2018-11-11 08:57 am (UTC)

From: (Anonymous)
I think Claire Bloom gave a better expression of 'frozen look'! And i agree with you that this SP was a mess :/ Too bad because the books isn't that messy lol. Anyway great job on the notes! Thank you.

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