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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whistling in the Dark
These two productions inspired by one of M.R. James' most famous stories are very different; one a black and white classic, the other a definitely modern creation.

Both `versions' move some way from the original story, but the Jonathan Miller film from 1968 creates a classic in the process, and would be well worth buying if it was the only programme on the DVD...
Published 18 days ago by Number13

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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One great film and one turkey
Writer/director Jonathan Miller's adaptation of MR James' Whistle and I'll Come to You is one of the great ghost stories and one of the great TV dramas. It's dark, deeply atmospheric and sharply characterised. Miller takes some liberties with James' original, but his choice to imply rather than show is a lesson that should be learned by many contemporary filmmakers. Some...
Published on 23 May 2012 by Henry Turner


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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing direction, 17 Jan 2013
This review is from: Ghost Stories from the BBC: Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968 + 2010) [DVD] (DVD)
I was brought up with M. R. James' wonderful stories - as well as others in the same genre such as the collections of Lady Cynthia Asquith. The "psychological" approach of Miller worked extremely well in his version of Alice in Wonderland. It goes much too far in the present case - far too much focus on the neurotic nature of the professor and too little on the actual story content. James' stories were not psychological studies. They were about tangible horrors - and "Whistle and I'll come to you" is no exception. WHY did the film not set the scenario where it actually begins in the story - at Cambridge with a request that the professor look for the Templar preceptory? WHY did Parkins appear to retrieve the whistle as if he knew exactly where it was - without any attempt to search or poke about? WHY did the pursuing figure appear only in a dream - and not (as in the story) in actuality during his walk? WHY did the film spend so long on maids making beds, running baths, and the totally gratuitous conversation between Parkins and Colonel Wilson? Not to mention the fact that -in the story - Parkins DOES play golf with the colonel, and gets on well with him. WHY was the other Latin inscription on the whistle not mentioned ("Fla fur flebis" - 'blow, thief,and you'll weep')? WHY (at the finale) did the spectre not have the professor half out of the window as per story and the colonel play a more robust role in rescuing him? Michael Hordern of course saves this adaptation with his usual superb acting, but no thanks on this occasion to J. Miller. Well, just my opinion. It's still a piece of vintage BBC and well worth watching - unless you've read the story that is.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Adaptation, 28 Nov 2012
This review is from: Ghost Stories from the BBC: Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968 + 2010) [DVD] (DVD)
The adaptation is that, great. However a word of caution, it's rated 12, although in my opinion most 12 years olds would not sleeps for weeks after watching this; it's pretty damn creepy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story, 5 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Ghost Stories from the BBC: Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968 + 2010) [DVD] (DVD)
Every Christmas they have a ghost story, this is such a good scary one that must be watched and it's great that you get the original one. Good price.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly eerie television, 27 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Ghost Stories from the BBC: Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968 + 2010) [DVD] (DVD)
This includes both the 1968 and 2010 adaptations of the classic M.R. James ghost story and is worth it for the former alone which makes stunning use of the Norfolk coast's desolate beauty. Low-key spooky TV recommended for anyone tired of in-your face drama and blaring soundtracks.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spooky tales old and new, 22 Nov 2012
By 
S. C. Johnson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ghost Stories from the BBC: Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968 + 2010) [DVD] (DVD)
Not being able to source the 2010 John Hurt version on its own you may like me be tempted to buy this dual version of this creepy tale. Containing both a colour modern version as well as the original black and white this is actually a good buy - hence my 4 star rating. The story in a nutshell is about a man who takes a break at a motel on his own only to witness ghostly encounters. The build up to the scary bits is slow in both, although I think it adds to the tension, as it gets more and more intense. I personally feel the colour version with John Hurt has much more of a fright than the original. However, the ghost in the black and white version is very cleverly done and I found it creepy. Both should be watched in the dark if you dare for maximum effect. Don't expect frights on the same level as say Paranormal activity, but both are cleverly written and like the best ghost stories play on your mind. If you are not a big fan of all types of ghost stories I wouldn't recommend buying this product as it is not a fright a minute by any means. Being a fan of what you can't see in creepy films as opposed to make up and special effects I found these very watchable overall. I wouldn;t expect you to watch over and over though, although makes a good collectors dvd.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine films, 11 Aug 2012
This review is from: Ghost Stories from the BBC: Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968 + 2010) [DVD] (DVD)
The 1968 version is a classic needing no comment from me - 5 stars. With respect to the 2010 version, I can enjoy watching John Hurt if he just sits in a chair - his capacity to convey emotional depth is astonishing. Indeed, the acting, photography, casting, and direction are all excellent, but I feel the ending of the story itself just lets the film down: it could have been more comprehensible. - 4 stars.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The raw head and bloody bones (at long last!), 28 May 2012
By 
Bob Sherunkle (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ghost Stories from the BBC: Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968 + 2010) [DVD] (DVD)
These initial comments apply to Volumes 1, 2 and 3. Three gripes on this series:
-Why has it not been marketed, in line with the Australian release, as a box set?
-What happened to Number 13 and View from a Hill?
-Why have these releases taken so long (about as long as both "official" versions of the Beach Boys' "Smile")? That said, hooray. (A warning to the credulous: get your advance orders in NOW before "they" withdraw the series from the market after only a brief outing.)

Volume 1 gives us both versions of "Whistle", the only James story which the BBC have adapted twice. The first Amazon review described this as "one great film and one turkey" . I can see where he's coming from, as Jonathan Miller's 1968 classic - the first of this long-running "occasional series" - is much closer to James than the 2010 version, which is best described as a variation based on the original story. However, the newer version does preserve some of the suspense. Apart from Miller's atmospheric production, the star feature of the b/w 1968 version is the performance of Michael Hordern, from the days when the UK bred character actors. Here he employs his extraordinary range of facial and vocal expressions to build a picture of an eccentric academic, whose self-satisfaction is about to come a fearful cropper at the hands of the supernatural. The character portrayed by John Hurt in the 2010 production is very different, preoccupied more with his wife's sad decline into senility than with the supernatural in general.

Stop press 1 Aug 2012 - belated release of a fifth disc, with the two remaining MRJ stories, but also all five discs as a box set.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not before time, 5 Jun 2012
By 
W. K. Jones (Warrington, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ghost Stories from the BBC: Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968 + 2010) [DVD] (DVD)
This is a comment about the whole series. This has been long awaited. I already have Whistle in its BFI incarnation but as I'll be buying Vols 2-3 I'll probably buy this in order to complete the set. And it includes the more recent version as a bonus.

When the BBC re-screened some of these films about 10 years ago I trapped them on video and just these last few weeks I've been busy transferring them to DVDR - grotty though the quality is. I've occupied in designing suitable covers for the cases and this very day I was casting around on google for an illustation for Abbott Thomas - it appears to have been filmed partly in Canterbury cathedral and I was after a gargoyle. Doing a search for M R James/Canterbury, what should turn up but the Aussie box set, which led me to Amazon, a ganders at the price, add import duty, add VAT, add the post offices fee for collecting said taxes - I almost went straight back to gargoyle-hunting. Then these new releases caught my eye.

There really must be a volume 5, though. How could they not include No.13 and View from a Hill?

Anyway, can't wait for August. I hope they include all of the Christopher Lee episodes as extras - as story-telling goes they are without equal.

While I'm here, and while I thought the recent Woman in Black film was excellent, I'd still like to make a plea for a DVD release of the 1989 BBC film. It scared the living daylights out of me!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two brilliant versions of a haunting story., 8 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Ghost Stories from the BBC: Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968 + 2010) [DVD] (DVD)
As a big fan of the original story by M.R. James and the horror genre, I enjoy both BBC adaptations. The more recent 2010 version is my favourite, so I'll discuss that one first.

Let me start by saying that the 2010 version is very different from the original story, so it should not be judged by its faithfulness to the original. It should be viewed and judged on its own merit; a separate entity with inspiration taken from the core idea.
The film builds quietly with a constant eerie and expectant atmosphere that just gets more and more intense as it goes on. It's so effective, it had me on the edge of my seat. By the end my nerves were shredded. Very few horror films actually scare me, but this one certainly did. This is a film I could watch over and over, I absolutely love it.

The 1968 version is a pretty faithful adaptation of the book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although it does not have the fear factor of the 2010 version, or the same suspense, it's very well done.

I'm very pleased the 2010 version is finally getting a DVD release. And to have both versions on one disc is just the icing on the cake.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars scaring children, 12 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Ghost Stories from the BBC: Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968 + 2010) [DVD] (DVD)
Absolutely brilliant. Was looking for proper ghost stories which engage your mind and imagination and this was great. My youngest is 12 and eldest 16 (and he's seen all the gory ghost things). Whistle and I'll Come to You made all the hairs in places you didn't know you had them stand on end. There were squeals all round and immediate requests to go visit grandpa. Quite disturbing and menacing story the way it is filmed, but excellent yarn. Rest of BBC Ghost Story's are pants compared to this. Everyone should definitely crawl to purchase this one.
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