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Seance On A Wet Afternoon  [DVD]
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Kim Stanley plays a crooked medium who has become slightly unhinged since the death of her son. Craving money and publicity, she concocts a scheme with her weak-willed husband (Richard Attenborough). The pair kidnap a wealthy young girl, collect the ransom, then use Kim's powers to help the parents locate the child.
An intensely claustrophobic nail-biter to rival prime Hitchcock, 1964's Séance on a Wet Afternoon is a classic British thriller written and directed by Bryan Forbes. Set largely in an imposing Gothic house in north London, the film stars Richard Attenborough as Bill Savage, a man struggling to maintain his marriage to his increasingly unbalanced wife, Myra, played in an Oscar-nominated performance by the little-known but brilliant Broadway actress Kim Stanley. Myra, who believes she is a medium, plans a scheme that will make her famous, involving kidnapping then "psychically" locating a little girl. Attenborough (who won a BAFTA) and Stanley are both superb in what is part riveting battle of wills, part nerve-wracking kidnap thriller with, just possibly, a touch of the supernatural.
Gerry Turpin's precise b/w cinematography and John Barry's chilling score add significantly to the atmosphere of dread, and if the plot has one or two gaping holes, Forbes's direction covers them deftly. Forbes explored female delusion again in The Whispers (1967) and The Mad Woman of Chaillot (1969); the film also marked a major entry in his long-term collaboration with John Barry and with his wife, the actress Nanette Newman. Séance clearly had an influence on Attenborough's own directorial contribution to the genre, the highly unsettling Anthony Hopkins vehicle, Magic (1978).
On the DVD: Séance on a Wet Afternoon is presented in an excellent 16:9 transfer, anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions, that effectively captures the brooding look of Gerry Tupin's BAFTA-nominated cinematography. Unfortunately the print used, though generally very good, does show some damage, including some instances that appear to run through the best part of a reel. Though noticeable and sometimes distracting, they barely mar this gripping film. The mono soundtrack is fine, though there is the very occasional touch of distortion. The disc comes with optional English subtitles, the excellent original trailer and a new and first-rate 33-minute interview with Bryan Forbes in which he engagingly explains every aspect of the making of the film. --Gary S Dalkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Set in a big, dark house in London, the movie is certainly creepy and suspenseful, but more than anything, it is achingly sad. We feel for the suffering parents of the girl, for Myra, who doesn't know she is insane, and especially for Billy, who has lost control of his life completely. Richard Attenborourgh's performance is a master class in the art of acting. A sobering, insightful study of two unhappy people.
The film stars the American Kim Stanley, who made only a few movies, including The Right Stuff  [DVD] , Frances [DVD], and The Goddess (1958) (Region 2), and this one, for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination. And the Oscar winning British Lord Richard Attenborough, winner of two Oscars, nominated for many more, esteemed for both his acting and his directing skills, (Gandhi [DVD] , ...Read more ›
Every thing will go as planned if you do not take in account that there is something strange going on. And it is snowballing.
The film was shot in black and white which gives it a spooking and depressing feel. There is sixties English background music including "Hear my Prayer" Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Then again there are plenty of places where they do not play any background and the natural sounds or lack of can also be spooky.
Kim Stanley was nominated for two Oscars - one for portraying the medium with a secret.
This is a really good British film from the 60's directed by Brian Forbes, made by Beaver Films, which Brian Forbes and Richard Attenborough co-owned.
If you enjoy old British films from this period, you will enjoy this one.
Filmed in Black & White, the Picture Quality is very good, and the image is sharp.
The transfer is in 1.78:1, which is almost the same as the films original aspect ratio of 1.66:1.
The sound is presented in it's original mono.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this dvd so much. Kim Stanley and Sir Richard Attenborough both play their character parts so well making it so compelling to watch. A real must watch.Published 27 days ago by Kazzy 62
I bought this as a present. All I know is that it is NOT actually about Seances, but something more sensible.Published 3 months ago by Nigel MacNicol
Superb. Extremely atmospheric. Poor acting from Nanette Newman.Published 5 months ago by D P Cooper
This was a film I heard about when trying to google the name of another similar film. It's a great movie, albeit slightly dated, and well worth a watch. Read morePublished 10 months ago by C. J. Larner
A somewhat incredulous plot set in a London of the 1960s. The acting from Kim Stanley and Richard Attenborough more than makes up for any shortfalls in the plot itself. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Asio flammeus
This is so slow, but it won't let you go. You just have to see it through. Very atmospheric.
Great talent in here. Read more
This had to be sent back as after 15 minutes it froze and would not continue. Shame, as the film is excellent.Published 13 months ago by MJ