- Actors: Anna Massey, Peter Barkworth, Edward Petherbridge, Clive Swift
- Directors: Don Taylor, Rodney Bennett, Paul Ciappessoni
- Format: Closed-captioned, Dolby, PAL
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 15
- Studio: Bfi
- DVD Release Date: 28 Oct. 2013
- Run Time: 150 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00E65SHQY
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,961 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Dead of Night (DVD)
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DEAD OF NIGHT (DVD)
Films by Don Taylor, Rodney Bennett and Paul Ciappessoni
After years of unavailability, the three surviving episodes from the legendary BBC horror anthology series, Dead of Night, finally comes to DVD. Originally screened on BBC2 in 1972, and rarely seen since, Dead of Night has been highly sought by fans of the BBC and British Horror for decades.
A film by Don Taylor
In what is perhaps the most terrifying of the episodes, four wealthy, middle-class friends (Clive Swift, Edward Petherbridge, Anna Cropper and Sylvia Kay) gather for a Christmas dinner in a country cottage only to find that the past will not rest while they feast.
A film by Rodney Bennett
The professionalism of an experienced and respected airline pilot (Peter Barkworth) is placed under scrutiny when he encounters the ghostly apparition of a Second World War Lancaster bomber.
A WOMAN SOBBING
A film by Paul Ciappessoni
A middle-class housewife (Anna Massey - Peeping Tom, Frenzy) becomes increasingly paranoid when her nights are interrupted by the terrifying and unexplained sound of a woman crying in one of the rooms in her new house.
- Gallery of stills from the missing episodes
- Downloadable scripts for the missing episodes (PDF)
- Fully illustrated booklet features essays and biographies by Lisa Kerrigan, Oliver Wake, Derek Johnston and Alex Davidson
UK | 1972 |colour | English language, with optional English hard-of-hearing subtitles | 150 minutes | DVD9 | Region 2 PAL DVD | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1 | Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps)
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Top customer reviews
However, although the actors did their absolute best I feel that their talents were somewhat wasted as (in my opinion) I have watched much better written plays.
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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Most recent customer reviews
The acting ranges from outright scenery chewing to painfully wooden.Read more