Ghost Stories from the BBC: Lost Hearts / The Treasure of Abbot Thomas / The Ash Tree (DVD)
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.
LOST HEARTS (1973)
When recently orphaned Stephen (Simon Gipps-Kent) goes to live with his uncle he is troubled by two terrifyting child spectres whose mischievous acts lead to a blood-curdling revelation. Based on a gory tale by masterful ghost story-teller M R James, Robin Chapman's dramatisation is a spine-chilling piece of atmospheric television which features a superb performance by Joseph O'Conor as the erratic uncle
THE TREASURE OF ABBOT THOMAS (1974)
Pride comes before a fall in John Bowen' adaptation of M R James' tale of a treasure hunt with a sticky end. Michael Bryant plays The Reverend Somerton whose self-assured intellectual arrogance masks a naked greed.
THE ASH TREE (1975)
Enlighted eighteenth-century nobleman Sir Richard Fell (Edward Petherbridge) inherits more than he bargined for when he comes into possession of a stately home dominated by a sinister old ash tree. David Rudkin's (Pendar's Fen) nuanced adaptation of M R James' short story about malevolent witchcraft features Barbara Ewing (Torture Garden, Brass) as the sorceress.
UK / colour / English language / DVD9 / Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps) | Region 2 DVD