Out of the same stable as 1970's 'The Railway Children' this film has long lived in the earlier's shadow - rarely receiving a UK television outing. This is - very much - unfair as in many ways it's a much superior film. A ghost-story for intelligent children (and adults!), it oozes period charm like its elder sibling and boasts performances as strong, if not stronger.
Lynne Frederick and Garry Miller are convincing as the children called to travel back in time to save two other children from a gruesome death. Rosalyn Landor, well suited to the Empire-line, is charming as the elder of the two ghosts and Laurence Naismith as the solicitor with the tormented soul is powerful and moving. Watch out especially for the scene where he leads Miller up the stairs, suffering the pain of a century's folly, to make good his earlier, fatal, error of judgement. Powerful stuff.
Diana Dors comes of age as a character actress here, too, and this is a must-see for all her fans.
The twist-in-the-tale ending has often been done since, but rarely any better, and still leaves the viewer who has soul with a warm glow and a tear in his eye. Thirty-one years has been too long a wait for the opportunity to own this film.
Buy it, lock yourself away one Sunday afternoon and wallow. It's beautiful and it's worth it.