Customer Review

107 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic 70's M R James ghost story dvd, 12 Sep 2007
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This review is from: Casting the Runes [1979] [DVD] (DVD)
M R James classic ghost story Casting The Runes was made in the late 1970's by Yorkshire television. The story has a 70's feel about it and some of the changes from location to studio look rather obvious but that just adds to the charm. This is a pritty scary programme for its time (helped by the earie music score) and has an excellent cast including Jan Francis, David Calder (Star Cops) and Edward Petherbridge (Strong Poison). I won't ruin the polt for you by giving a detailed synopsis but if your a fan of M R James you know what a treat you have in store. Casting The Runes is very similar to the BBC Ghost Story For Christmas adaptions which were also made in the 70's and also adapted several M R James stories (when are we going to get more of them released on dvd).

Also included in the dvd are two further M R James programmes. First up is Mr Humphreys And His Inheritance which was shown in 1976 as part of the ITV schools programme on music in drama. This is a real bonus as it is a very rare piece of tv history and again has some jumpy bits in it. Finally we are treated to A Pleasant Terror which is a facinating biopic on the life of M R James presented by Bill Wallis. A Pleasent Terror has been edited as some of the clips are copyrighted material (I seem to remember that alot of the clips were from the various Ghost Story For Christmas adaptions).

So once again Network have pulled out all the stops and released another piece of tv heaven at a very reasonable price too. The prints may be a little grainy in places but for their age look pritty good. If, like me, you love the old 70's ghost stories what were made for tv then this dvd is for you
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Nov 2007 12:20:47 GMT
Mark53 says:
Totally agree about the lack of dvd releases for 'the christmas ghost story' i brought freeview last year in the hope they'd shown them in full, but just one was repeated. We've had 'the signalman' and 'a warning to the curious' issued (expensively i might add) but no 'ash tree' or 'treasure of abbot thomas' and i think the four others, each year i hope the Beeb will repeat them, but seems the powers that be think reality t.v is much more important!

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2008 17:56:15 GMT
I so agree! It would have made my Christmas if we had just one of these on TV! Is it too much to ask for? I have tried to buy the DVDs everywhere, and have only been lucy with a few - never 'treasure of abbott thomas'. Is it my memory or was there one called 'lost hearts'?

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Oct 2008 02:10:46 BDT
Twittykins says:
I know this is a bit late in the day but in December 2007, BBC Four had a season of Christmas ghost stories. They have been doing this for a couple of years now. If you copy and paste this link you will see what you missed!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/cinema/features/ghost-stories.shtml

Posted on 3 Jan 2011 13:43:40 GMT
S. Nickerson says:
Might I just point out that it wasn't Jan Francis that was in "Howards Way" but Jan Harvey. The two are often confused! Jan Francis's most popular appearance was in "Just Good Friends" (1983-86), so by the time of the airing of "Casting The Runes" in April 1979, Jan was at that time then best known for her portrayal as Yvette in "Secret Army".

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Oct 2011 08:52:25 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Oct 2011 08:53:17 BDT
Yes, my friend, Mrs K. Marshall, there was one called "Lost Hearts". Very eerie - at the end, the last shot was of the two dead children standing on the cold winter skyline and waving in identical movements at the departing coach. Gives me the willies thinking about it now.
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