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The Stone Tape [DVD] [1972]

4.0 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Bryant|Jane Asher|Iain Cuthbertson
  • Directors: Peter Sasdy
  • Format: PAL, Colour
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Aug. 2001
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005N9FJ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,811 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Atmospheric seventies ghost story from the BBC. When scientists working for Ryan Electrics move into their new headquarters, a gothic mansion, they find one room unfinished. Strange noises are heard, and the builders are too frightened to complete their work. When the other scientists dismiss such fears as irrational whimsy, only psychically-minded Jill (Jane Asher) senses the dark secret that lurks beneath the building.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I remember when this was first broadcast in 1972.
At the age of 14 this classic ghost story had just the right mix of the supernatural and science fiction to make a lasting impression. The horror does not come in the form of blood and gore but from the basic plot element which identifies that the stone of a building records events when they occur under the correct set of emotinal circumstances, which to me seemed to offer a perfect solution to the question 'are there such things as ghosts ?'
The intensity of the plot has lost nothing in 30 years and although a little dated in some areas such as it's lack of exterior scenes, this seems to add to it's status as a classic, in the same way as Quatermass.
I watched it recently with my 68 year old father and my 13 year old nephew in the knowledge that they would both enjoy and suffer only a limited number of sleepless nights !!
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Format: DVD
If this is representative of what the BFI can dust off and put out on DVD, let's hope they carry on raiding the archive. Billed as the BBC' s Christmas ghost story in 1972, it's an admittedly dated but brilliantly suspenseful thriller from the pen of Nigel "Quatermass" Kneale that works because of what it implies as much as what it actually shows. The story concerns a team of scientists, led by Michael Bryant, who relocate to a spacious Gothic mansion to research a breakthrough recording medium. The team's only woman, played by Jane Asher, triggers an apparition in the only room that has not been renovated, and the remainder of the thriller is occupied with their frenzied attempts to monitor and explain the phenomenon.
Full of enthusiastic acting that derives from the school of "Shout, shout and shout again" (stage star Bryant, great though he is, is perhaps most guilty of projecting to the gods), The Stone Tape has lost none of its power to chill, 30 years on.
Kneale expertly feeds the imagination, lights the blue touch-paper and retires. There's no wrap-up resolution and the grand climax (this was the era of Jon Pertwee's Doctor Who, remember) boasts a succession of effects that don't come with "special" on the box. But the atmosphere is the thing. The extremely noisy sound track, aided by some creepy radiophonic murmurings, makes you so hypersensitive that you'll have to keep fiddling with the volume.
Kneale's intriguing reminiscences on the commentary - he doesn't believe in the supernatural, you know - and a printable script complete a great package.
But just bear in mind - it'll stay with you.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Why "Once seen, never forgotten"? Because that's the effect this superb BBC film had on me. Even today, I still remember seeing it in '72 on TV. It has stuck with me ever since and has even influenced my own writing for children. I agree 100% with other reviewers who lament the passing of the BBC's ability and willingness to mark each new year with a superbly produced story of ghosts or the supernatural - and in 'The Stone Tape' you get both, plus a hefty dose of sci-fi. The fact that the production is now dated, somehow adds to its atmosphere, so pray that no double-barrelled geek with 23 degrees in media studies thinks "Ah - just imagine what we could do today with digital effects. Let's re-make it." Who needs it when you've already got a Grade One story; a Grade One script; Grade One direction and acting; and a storyline that never lets you see old houses in the same way ever again. So - if you want a truly classic tale to unsettle you on a dark winter's evening as the winds swirl and the doors creak - then this is it. Five stars seems mean.
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Format: DVD
The premise of this story is that the fabric of a building - the bricks or in this case the stones - can absorb or record events of the past and re-play them when triggered by another event - in this case some re-building work taking place in a gothic mansion. As you would expect, the events involve evil and malevolent spirits. I will say no more, as I don't want to spoil the rest of the plot.

I can remember seeing this the first time around, (probably the 1973 broadcast) and the story made an impact on me as it seemed almost a plausible phenomenon at a time when little green men and UFOs were much in the news. If this is a re-release of the original, starring Jane Asher, I would say that the story is still a good one, but sad to say the production now looks a little dated - the acting of some is wooden, the special effects could be better and the colour is a bit dodgy, etc. But if you are a fan of ghost stories, it is worth a watch. Ghost Stories from the BBC: The Stone Tape [DVD]
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Format: DVD
So, I may not have even been born when the show aired, and only knew about it for the past six months or so, making me a bit behind many of the afficianados, but there is one thing I can say after seeing it for the first time. It lives up to its reputation.
The main reason to state this is who wrote it (Nigel Kneale), who knows how to write a TV play that grabs and shakes you - 1984 and the Quatermass series show his pedigree. The way it unfolds shows this, playing more like an actual book in how it unfolds before reaching the dark core of what is happening, which is something you don't see too often. This also drags you in, wanting to see how it unfolds. Rather than regular shock tactics, the atmosphere of dread increases slowly, before unleashing at key moments as the ghost appears. In many ways, it is on the same level as the original version of The Haunting, which is a compliment if ever there was one.
The other aspect that works in The Stone Tape's favour is the acting, which is a cut above what you would expect, and also helps distract you from what you DO expect from an early 70's BBC show (plastic sets and the occasional ropey SFX). Jane Asher has to do a lot of acting for her character to work, and carries it off superbly. Michael Bryant and Ian Cuthbertson also carry themselves with aplomb, and even thge lesser characters are given a degree of gravitas with the performances (the late Michael Bates as Eddie the most notable).
Yet the reason The Stone Tape has remained in the consciousness of those who have seen it is the climax, which still packs a punch 30+ years after the show was broadcast. I'm not in the mood for spoilers, but suffice to say you'll remember it long after as well.
However, there is a shame after watching this.
Read more ›
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