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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling, must-see classic
This is a hugely enjoyable and perfectly chilling DVD of classic television. A relatively late casualty of the BBC's junking policy it now sadly consists of just 3 episodes. Everyone knows about "Dr Who" missing episodes, but these are so expertly crafted it's criminal the full series doesn't exist. The three we have left however are very good though.

Whilst...
Published 8 months ago by downkiddie

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0 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter Garbage from Out of the Past
It's too bad they didn't lose these last three episodes too. What an ordeal to watch. Maybe if you saw these back in 1972 there's a nostalgia factor but they don't do anything for new viewers in 2014. This is not a timeless classic like the Twilight Zone. Give it a miss.
Published 6 months ago by asdfasdfasdf


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling, must-see classic, 29 Oct 2013
By 
downkiddie "downkiddie" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead of Night (DVD) (DVD)
This is a hugely enjoyable and perfectly chilling DVD of classic television. A relatively late casualty of the BBC's junking policy it now sadly consists of just 3 episodes. Everyone knows about "Dr Who" missing episodes, but these are so expertly crafted it's criminal the full series doesn't exist. The three we have left however are very good though.

Whilst all the episodes are ghost stories to some degree, there's more to them also. They all have some other intertwined theme; "The Exorcism" a middle left commentary on greed and capitalism, whilst the others explore various psychological issues. Whether this appeals or not, they are also very good and genuinely chilling ghost stories. All have a modern day (70s) setting, in modern homes full of the latest technology (every shot has a hifi or food mixer in it), all enhancing the unsettling commonplace ghost story feel.

The stand out episode for me is "The Exorcism", starring Edward Petherbrige and Clive Swift, this is a perfect claustrophobic ghostly thriller. A festive Christmas gathering begins to turn sour as odd things happen and the four friends become trapped in the house. Although we know it's only a set at the BBC (BBC Glasgow according to the PDF paperwork on the disc, not Television Centre), and today's equivalents would have more atmospheric lighting and tighter direction, the tension and terror is so well realised it still manages to chill us so expertly. The terror and claustrophobia is very reminscent of Associated Television's later "During Barty's Party" by Nigel Kneale (part of the "Beasts" series), however this one with its Christmas country cottage setting is better entertainment for a winter's night. The pacing varies, with innocuous chit chat, real terror and a very memorable performance from Anna Cropper, but it all works. The exorcism itself is pretty devastating, but at least Kenneth Kendall turns up to return us to normality. Wonderful Kenneth.

The equally wonderful Peter Barkworth stars in "Return Flight". Another well produced ghostly tale this one is quite different in approach and atmosphere. The setting of Luton airport and a Boeing 707 cockpit is not an obvious ghost story setting. Nevertheless, it's very enjoyable, and the producers deserve credit however for putting a ghost story in a more modern setting. A mixture of psychological thriller and slowly paced disaster movie, this is probably the weakest story on here but still affecting television.

"A Woman Sobbing" starring Anna Massey raises the game once again. Another country house ghost story, and again with much more to it than a simple haunting. Once again the pyschological health of Jane (Massey's character) is explored rather than a simple ghost story. Recalling Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw", but this time around only Jane is aware of the haunting.

The package is completed with a well written booklet which also provides info on what we're missing with the lost episodes. 1972 was a good year for the ghost story, as following the transmission of this series in the run up to Christmas, the BBC followed up with the classic adaptation of the M.R. James story "A Warning to the Curious" and the seminal "The Stone Tape" by Nigel Kneale, which itself was originally intended to be an episode in the "Dead of Night" series. It ended up as a standalone film but was produced by the same team. Fortunately Christmas 1972's other treats still exist in the archive. Picture and sound quality is OK throughout; it appears this is a straight transfer from a decent quality master so there has been little obvious restoration.

This legendary series is well regarded but little seen, this BFI DVD release puts that right. The latest in increasingly long line of classic supernatural TV releases, this is essential viewing. We can only hope that like "Dr Who", the missing episodes turn up somewhere.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish there were more, 23 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Dead of Night (DVD) (DVD)
We both enjoyed this dvd and it's a pity there are only three stories but as has been explained, only these three have been recovered. They are all suited to winter viewing, especially round Christmas. It is fascinating to watch a normal Christmas dinner with all sorts of food on the table in a lovely country cottage, turn into absolute horror! Perfection in hauntings. All three stories have an underlying sense of desolation and sadness because of humans' attitude towards each other whether it is a failure to understand each other, whether it's greed, whatever the cause, we are promised ghosts and we get them, the acting is tops by all protagonists and so is atmosphere. Favourite is the Exorcism. If you have not got this dvd and love ghost stories, don't hesitate get it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great British Chiller Series, 13 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Dead of Night (DVD) (DVD)
Having seen 'the Exorcism' as a boy in the UK In 1970's, I was eager to revisit a programme which I had found wonderfully scary at the time; I was not disappointed. Don Taylor's script whilst plainly making a political point about the evils of poverty and capitalism, continues to thrill with its famous and disturbing images. The dialogue, fashions, and special effects all show their age but equally the play is a reminder of how television used to be able to produce such cerebral and stylish thrillers with conviction and regularity.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead of Night, 20 Nov 2013
By 
R. MacDonald "Rod" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead of Night (DVD) (DVD)
Dead of Night DVD
British Film Institute

Way back in 1972 the BBC made a supernatural TV series called Dead of Night. This title is not to be confused with a more recent American DVD of the same name or an older Michael Redgrave movie from the 1940s. The BBC series ran from 5 November until 17 December 1972 with seven episodes each of 50 minutes duration. It appears that only three episodes seem to be surviving but as a part of their Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film programme, the British Film Institute people have put them on a DVD for general release in October this year.

I do recall seeing one of these episodes back in 1972 when I was a young student plodding away at chemistry but with an avid interest in all matters relating to Science Fiction and associated literature, that episode being Return Flight, and I do recall thinking it was pretty good. Since then, however, I don't think this series has appeared on TV again so it's really one up for the BFI and their media archaeology for bringing it back to the viewing public once more.

The surviving episodes on the DVD are:

The Exorcism by Don Taylor. A middle-class couple have invited another couple round for Christmas dinner at their country cottage. Everything has been modernised to the latest standard but what they forget is that the cottage has a long history with previous occupants, some going back to the early 19th century when there was a famine and public unrest. Things start to go wrong in the house such as a power cut and doors that are unable to open. There is also something upstairs. Tension builds as evening progresses and they find what is behind the mystery of the house. Four excellent actors in Clive Swift (later appearing in Keeping up Appearances) Shakespearean actor Edward Pletherbridge (The Guardians) with Anna Cropper and Sylvia Kay.

Return Flight by Rodney Bennett. An airline pilot played by Peter Barkworth is on a routine flight from Hamburg when he sees another plane enter his fight path only to disappear quickly. This prompts an investigation but what he saw more resembled a Lancaster bomber from the war. The pilot is a lonely man, a recent widower, and his wife was once married to a bomber pilot lost in the war. Despite being encouraged by a friend, our pilot seems to sink into a depression which was precipitating a journey he was compelled to take.

A Sobbing Woman by Paul Ciappessoni. Anna Massey plays a relatively affluent housewife with a husband and a couple of children but she isn't really happy. Life seems to have passed by. In their new house things do not get any better when she hears a woman sobbing in one of the upstairs rooms. She is the only one to hear this. The husband employs a Dutch girl as an au pair which further isolates her. The sobbing does not stop and she is sent for psychiatric evaluation but would she improve? A really good supernatural drama, you begin to wonder if this is all in her mind or is there a psychic presence in the house?

Everything is presented in the original. 1.33:1 aspect ratio and the colour rendition is not bad at all especially considering that this was made only a few years after colour television started in the UK. In all of the 150 minutes of drama, you will not find irritating background music to jangle your nerves. This is a straight acting performance without any frills. Many people will like this, others not, so it's up to the individual. Personally I found it rather pleasing.

Extras are included on the disc, which include pictures from the missing episodes and downloadable items, PDF files of missing scripts and an interesting booklet of biographies and essays. While the recommended price is a bit steep at almost 20 you will undoubtedly find this cheaper elsewhere on the Internet, such as Amazon, for under 14.

There is a strange dichotomy here in that, despite being old, this is something new. It will certainly be new to a lot of younger people out there who may find the style and presentation a little strange when compared to modern media but they may also find it refreshingly novel. When all is said and done, the DVD is worth a wholehearted recommendation. For further information, it would be best to consult the BFI website.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, 6 Nov 2013
By 
A. CHIASSON "AlexC" (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead of Night (DVD) (DVD)
The British culture has produced some of the greatest shows ever! I watched these episodes without knowing what to expect and was blown away! Why did they discard the rest? Not sure but like the works of the great Greek tragedies I am just thankful that we can have a taste of a great moment in the annals of the television history... Thank you BFI! Keep up the great work!
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5.0 out of 5 stars DEAD OF NIGHT - BBC DVD, 22 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Dead of Night (DVD) (DVD)
I bought this DVD just for the play The Exorcism which I saw on BBC many years ago. I remembered it very vividly and was not disappointed. The impact was still as chilling. There is a memorable moment where one of the characters during the dinner party setting, looks out of the window and cannot see anything - no shadows, just total blackness. A black void. ......just look out of your window tonight, I bet you can see something. This DVD is highly recommended. Haven`t seen the other two plays yet, but have watched The Exorcism 3 times up to now!!!! It is a very Seventies production and there is a socio-political thread in there. Wonderful stuff.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE EXORCISM IS A CRACKER, 25 Oct 2013
This review is from: Dead of Night (DVD) (DVD)
Remember seeing the Exorcism and it's an old fashioned chiller
Cannot remember a lot about the others but buy with confidence
This is gonna be one spooky xmas with all these great BFI releases
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Film., 2 Feb 2014
By 
Mrs. Angela READ "Maturegrad" (Devizes, Wiltshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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My daughter-in-law enjoys vintage films and this was one she wished for, and looked forward to being very very scared!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dead of night, 14 Dec 2013
By 
Sandra Osborne "ISandra osborne" (Harrow Middlesex England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead of Night (DVD) (DVD)
A great helping of nostalgia, real creepy stories, taking me back to
When I watched this series with a pillow in front of me,
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0 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter Garbage from Out of the Past, 20 Jan 2014
By 
asdfasdfasdf (Martinez, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead of Night (DVD) (DVD)
It's too bad they didn't lose these last three episodes too. What an ordeal to watch. Maybe if you saw these back in 1972 there's a nostalgia factor but they don't do anything for new viewers in 2014. This is not a timeless classic like the Twilight Zone. Give it a miss.
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Dead of Night (DVD)
Dead of Night (DVD) by Paul Ciappessoni (DVD - 2013)
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