Anna Robinson(Susan Hampshire) is on holiday in the Channel Islands, escaping from a loveless marriage and trying to make sense of her life. There she meets tall, handsome pilot Hugh Dabernon(Michael Petrovitch) and immediately falls head over heels in love. With Hugh's only surviving family member, his brother George(Frank Finlay), being negative towards their relationship, the couple elope to Scotland. However, tragedy strikes when Hugh collapses whilst running across the beach. The local Doctor pronouncing him dead gives a heart defect as the cause of death. That night, Hugh returns to Anna. It seems he took his vow to never leave her very seriously indeed. Anna immediatly returns to Jersey with Hugh, but finds that being in love with a walking corpse can have serious drawbacks....
I find this film, finally getting a decent dvd release through Odeon Entertainment, to be rather wonderful. It has a rather stately pace to it, in fact there are periods when nothing much happens at all, but accept it for what it is, a real mood piece dripping with doom laden atmosphere, and you will find much to enjoy.
Starting off as a love story, the film mutates into both a straightforward ghost story and a variation on 'The Monkey's Paw' during its running time. Not very horrifying, although there are a couple of disturbing scenes as Hugh starts to decay, it never drags thanks to some stunning cinematography and a widly erratic music score, perfect as a companion piece for the schizophrenic proceedings onscreen. The two leads are a bit bland at times, although this could be explained by Anna trying to grieve, and Hugh being rather dead. Anyway, Finlay as the overly mannered, fussy and sexually repressed George is a big compensation, stealing every scene that he is in. The late Michael Craze also impresses as Hugh's pal Collie.
I thought that the picture and audio quality were excellent for a film of its age. Fans of the exploitation films of Tony Tenser and Tigon films might be dissappointed though, as this is far from a titillating piece of schlock, despite a couple of sex scenes. It's not that kind of film. Finally, just to add some bizarre icing on the cake, the scriptwriter for Neither The Sea Nor The Sand is none other than TV-AM Newsreader Gordon Honeycombe.
So, an excellent release for a much neglected slice of atmospheric Brit horror, and one I would highly recommend to the curious. 5 out of 5.