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 MR 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 MR 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 MR 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 MR 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)
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