The word here, of course, is ‘formidable’. Formidable like the gangster’s moll in Margs’ first ever film role, whacking a copper with her brolly. Formidable like the Doolittle-esque pet shop owner in An Alligator Named Daisy. Formidable like Miss Prism. Formidable like Miss Marple. The sheer authority and indefatigability emanating from Margaret Rutherford means she can be as eccentric as the writers can make her, and still give off an unmistakeable air of dignity. Dottiness never deported itself with such showboating elan.
FINEST HOUR: As the cucumber sandwich-munching medium Madame Arcati in the film of Blithe Spirit, complete with parrot.