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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly terrifying film
Much has been written in reviews here about the film so I won't dwell on it's specific content. I've never read any of M.R. James's stories so have nothing to compare this dramatisation with. I watched it last night as a recording made over Christmas from the BBC4 Ghost Story season and went to bed OK but woke up in the middle of the night, just...
Published on 31 Jan 2006

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother Whistling
I agree with the comment of an earlier reviewer - you have to work pretty hard to get this to scare you. I worked overtime trying to work up the mildest chill down the spine. I love atmospheric old ghost tales, especially from the black and white TV era, but this one just doesn't cut it for me. A large part of this short story concentrates on a lead character who is,...
Published 14 months ago by Antares


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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly terrifying film, 31 Jan 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Whistle And I'll Come To You (BBC Ghost Story For Christmas) [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
Much has been written in reviews here about the film so I won't dwell on it's specific content. I've never read any of M.R. James's stories so have nothing to compare this dramatisation with. I watched it last night as a recording made over Christmas from the BBC4 Ghost Story season and went to bed OK but woke up in the middle of the night, just beginning to realise the terror implicit in the story. I have had to have lights on ever since when I go around the house in the dark. I am almost 50 for heaven's sake! I was never really scared by cinema horror and ghost stories - far too contrived. This little story however leaves it all up to the imagination of the viewer - which is why I only realised the true horror late at night whilst I was no doubt dreaming about it and turning it over subconsciously in my mind. I mean, imagine never being able to sleep or rest without THAT THING always being there to haunt you? It makes my blood run cold! Michael Horden's acting was superb.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars short but flawless., 15 Oct 2003
By 
S. Hapgood "www.sjhstrangetales.com" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Whistle And I'll Come To You (BBC Ghost Story For Christmas) [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
As a big fan of the ghost stories of M R James I would go so far as to say that this actually IMPROVED on the original story! Shot beautifully in black-and-white, every moment of the 40 minutes seems to have been crafted with great care and thought. Michael Hordern proves his acting salt to the hilt with his portrayal of the lonely middle-aged academic holidaying alone, talking to himself endlessly and comforting himself with food. He finds an old whistle whilst out for a walk and recklessly decides to blow on it. From then on he is haunted by strange figures following him along the beach, and appearing in his dreams, and rustling noises in his bedroom. His rendition of the eerie phrase "who is it who is coming?" is wonderfully spooky. I was delighted to see this had been released on video, now please PLEASE can we have all the old M R James adaptations from the 1970s released as well? BBC2 always used to show one late at night on Christmas Eve, but have unfathomably stopped in recent years, which doesn't make sense!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eerie Adaption of MR James, 28 Dec 2002
This review is from: Whistle And I'll Come To You (BBC Ghost Story For Christmas) [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
To me, MR James is perhaps the finest of all ghost story writers, and it's not an easy feat to replicate his chilling and subtle (yet still very nasty) methods on the screen, but it can be done. This short film succeeds mainly in its use of the bleak, lonely and windswept coastal landscape, superbly shot in black and white and wisely avoiding any background music, instead relying on the authentic sighing of the wind and ever-present sounds of the sea. The original story is here only in passing, and Horden's alarmingly wonderful comic creation will be unfamiliar to James's readers (but perfectly acted). The moments of unease in the film - the faceless figure on the beach, the loneliness of Parkin, the dream sequence, are handled with restraint. It's a nice little film, not terrifying but occasionally unsettling, often wickedly amusing, and never less than interesting. The DVd wins major points for its extra features: Ramsey Campbell talks about MR James and then gives a welcome reading of one of his own James-influenced tales. There's also a reading of the original James story for anyone who doesn't already know it. If you're a lover of ghost stories, or are looking for genuine chills you will thank me for recommending MR James to you, get to know his work as soon as you can.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Creepy, 29 Mar 2006
By 
LorenzoStDubois (Dumfries, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Whistle And I'll Come To You (BBC Ghost Story For Christmas) [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
Not a lot to add that hasnt been said already. I disagree with those who knock Jonathan Miller's direction. I think its superb, and black and white only enhances the film's settings and atmosphere. Michael Hordern is also utterly believable as the eccentric sceptic. I'm a big M.R. James fan but I see nothing wrong with adapting his stories a little if the results parallel this masterpiece. A lost art! Rent or buy, you wont be disappointed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother Whistling, 21 July 2013
By 
This review is from: Whistle And I'll Come To You (BBC Ghost Story For Christmas) [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
I agree with the comment of an earlier reviewer - you have to work pretty hard to get this to scare you. I worked overtime trying to work up the mildest chill down the spine. I love atmospheric old ghost tales, especially from the black and white TV era, but this one just doesn't cut it for me. A large part of this short story concentrates on a lead character who is, frankly, uninteresting and spends most of his time mumbling to himself. The 'climax' is a white bedsheet twisting on a bed. It looks like a primary school production, both in concept and realisation, and it's over in a flash. I love letting my imagination do some leg-work for any film but the director might at least have met me halfway!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint hearted, or intellectually challenged!, 13 Aug 2007
By 
This review is from: Whistle And I'll Come To You (BBC Ghost Story For Christmas) [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
Slow, almost ponderous direction takes the viewer on a terrifying journey in which almost nothing actually happens, but that succeeds for those with the patience and imagination to interpret the subtleties of deft storytelling and expert film-making. Definitely will not appeal to people used to 'paint by numbers' horror films, where the audience are treated to a series of shlock 'scares'; (usually provided by a group of half naked, dumb American teeagers holidaying in a log cabin, in the middle of a forest inhabilted by a knife weilding nutcase with a penchant for slaughtering half naked, dumb American teenagers)... only for their intelligence to be further insulted by a patronising denoument in which an already contrived storyline is explained in detail.

This film exists on a different level, where it sits in limited, but priviledged company with that rarest of beasts - the 'Genuinely' creepy horror film. The lack of dialogue, action, special effects, music, half naked dumb American teenagers etc etc makes for a refreshingly unique and deeply disturbing study of lonliness that climaxes in a truly disturibing series of images; (and sounds) that stay with the viewer long after the end titles roll. I originally saw this on BBC 1 when I was 16... and I've never looked at a blanket the same way since!
Any fans of modern Asian horror will appreciate this film, and recogonise that much of the so called 'modern' (and lauded) technique of slowburn atmospherics owes more than a passing nod to this truly chilling classic.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars White Sheet Syndrome, 10 Nov 2009
By 
C. JONES "CJ" (Swansea, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Whistle And I'll Come To You (BBC Ghost Story For Christmas) [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
If you described the denouement of this version of the story, you would hear yourself saying, "..and Michael Hordern wakes up to find a white sheet dancing on the bed next to him, and is frightened out of his wits."

In these days of CGI it must be very difficult for younger people to imagine the limitations of what was possible in the 60's and 70's. And it's fair to say that this production won't frighten you out of your wits, if that really is what you want!

What I like about it is the way in which it deals with an entrenched position about the spiritual aspects of the world.

At the end, there is something a bit Shakespearean about Hordern's repeating the word "No!" At first it is the "No, No, No!" of a terrified human being, then the tone changes, and it is the "No, this can't be right," of a man who finds his whole view of creation thrown into question by what he has seen.

Oh, and that white sheet. It sounds incredibly corny, but bear with me for a minute. Imagine you yourself woke up alone in a strange room, and on the empty bed next to you, saw a bedsheet dancing of its own accord. Just a thought.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, 13 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Whistle And I'll Come To You (BBC Ghost Story For Christmas) [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
One of my all time favourite ghost stories in a film that scares me still, watch at Christmas on a windy night you will love it
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Short Masterpiece, 18 Sep 2011
This review is from: Whistle And I'll Come To You (BBC Ghost Story For Christmas) [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
A short masterpiece from director Jonathan Miller and actor Sir Michael Hordern.

I think that Miller deliberately lulls you with the first half of the film in order to jolt you the more when the frights do come. In the meantime, Hordern gives us a brilliant and amusing portrait of, firstly, an eccentric man on holiday and, latterly, an academic who is in denial of what is happening to him. I very much enjoyed the conversation about the supernatural, which takes place at the breakfast table, between Hordern's character and a fellow guest. When the shocks do begin to arrive, Miller achieves them largely with razor-sharp editing and sound effects. And there was at least one moment which made me physically jump. I think the depth of the horror is added to by the latin inscription on the whistle - suggesting that the evil is something very ancient - something rooted in our past. And this sense of something nasty from the past catching up with the present is what gives the piece its psychological and historical depth.

I would echo the request of other contributors for the BBC to issue all of their "Ghost Stories for Christmas" as a DVD package, retailing at a price which is affordable to all.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb, 19 Dec 2007
By 
This review is from: Whistle And I'll Come To You (BBC Ghost Story For Christmas) [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
i love this short film! superb acting, you get drawn into the character and almost feel sorry for him to suffer his disbelief.
not one for new school shock film fans. but as mentiond above, the scare tactics appear hours after the films finished!
bbc1 have produced some terrific ghost films such as this, the woman in black and more of the m.r james collection. why stop now? very few ghost films have been done that are of any standard ,and i for one would love to see more been written to the brilliance of whistle and ill come to you and the woman in black.
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