BBC Ghost Stories: The Stalls of Barchester + A Warning to the Curious
Two films by Lawrence Gordon Clark
As a Christmas treat in the late 1960s and 70s, the BBC produced adaptations of ghost stories based on the works of M R James, the Cambridge academic and author of some of the most spine-tingling tales in the English language, which were broadcast to terrified viewers in the dead of winter. This was a tradition that was briefly revived by the BBC between 2007 and 2010.
These adaptations, which have a subtlety and style all of their own, have been a major influence on many contemporary British horror filmmakers and have come to be some of the most sought after British TV titles by their legions of eager fans.
The Stalls of Barchester (1971)
While cataloguing the collection of Barchester Cathedral library, Dr Black stumbles across an intriguing box of papers belonging to former Archdeacon Haynes. In it, he discovers a hidden history of blood guilt and macabre supernatural revenge.
With its superb cast and beautiful choral accompaniment by Norwich Cathedral choir, Lawrence Gordon Clark s (Harry s Game) evocative adaptation of James short story inspired the BBC's popular 1970s series A Ghost Story for Christmas
A Warning to the Curious (1972)
The second of Clark's M R James adaptations for the BBC features Peter Vaughan (Straw Dogs, Our Friends in the North) as a doomed amateur archaeologist who pays a terrible price for his curiosity about an ancient Saxon legend.
- Introduction to The Stalls of Barchester by Lawrence Gordon Clark (2012, 10 mins)
- Introduction to A Warning to the Curious by Lawrence Gordon Clark (2012, 12 mins)
- Ghost Stories for Christmas with Christopher Lee 'The Stalls of Barchester' by M R James (Eleanor Yule. 2000, 30 mins): Christopher Lee recreates M R James famous soirees, at which the antiquary would read his tales of the supernatural to eager undergraduates
- Ghost Stories for Christmas with Christopher Lee 'A Warning to the Curious' by M R James (Eleanor Yule. 2000, 30 mins): dramatic reconstruction of one of the author's Christmas readings
UK | 1971 + 1972 | colour | English language | 45 minutes + 50 minutes | DVD9 | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1 | Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps) | Region 2 DVD
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Lawrence Gordon Clark directs this double bill of horror dramas adaptated by the BBC from two of M.R. James's classic ghost stories. In 'A Warning to the Curious' (1972) Mr Paxton (Peter Vaughan) travels to English seaside town Seaburg hoping to find the last of three Anglo Saxon crowns belonging to the Agers family whose last descendant has recently died. When he uncovers the crown, however, he finds himself haunted by a ghostly figure. In 'The Stalls of Barchester' (1971) Dr. Black (Clive Swift) is cataloguing the Barchester Cathedral Library when he comes across an old diary belonging to Archdeacon Haynes (Robert Hardy) who died mysteriously. Whilst reading the entries Black soon discovers that Haynes may have been cursed upon the death of his predecessor after which he was tormented by supernatural goings-on. ...Ghost Stories - Volume 2 ( The Stalls of Barchester / A Warning to the Curious ) ( Ghost Story for Christmas: The Stalls of Barchester / Ghost Story for Christmas: A Warning to the Curious )