Wednesday, 3 September 2008


It was soon after WHISTLE AND I'LL COME TO YOU was shown as part of the late lamented OMNIBUS BBC series that I was talking to a friend in Parkway in Camden Town, London, when Jonathan Miller walked buy. "Dr.Miller!" I said akmost without thinking. Miller stopped and came back. I complimented him on his film and said I hoped that he would do more. He was very gracious and friendly and said he was glad that my friend and I had enjoyed the film. Of course, Miller went on to do all sorts of things on television and notably in Opera and never returned to the works of M. R.James. A shame because he shares much of James academic background. Seeing the film again (this is my third viewing) I have somewhat mixed feelings about it. There is much to admire, of course, the atmosphere of the seaside hotel, the lone windswept beaches, the wonderful performance by Michael Horden (whose recordings of James stories are to be sought out) but my memory has been playing tricks. The first and second viewings seem to me to have been much scarier and the the two sequences involving the strange pursuing figure and the haunted bed seem to have been much longer and far more disturbing. Memory obviously plays tricks and familiarity lessens the effect. Rating ***


Cerpts said...

Hey! Was that part of the ghost story for Christmas broadcasts that included THE STONE TAPE as well? The way you describe it, even though you seem slightly underwhelmed by it, makes it sound like a must-see. And Michael Hordern did recordings of James?!? Wow, they sound even better!

Weaverman said...

No, the film was part of an arts series called OMNIBUS which, famously, also did the wonderful Ken Russell documentaries. I'm as certain as I can be that THE STONE TAPE was definitley NOT one of the Ghost Stories for Christmas series.
I may have been a little disappointed in WHISTLE but it was more that my reaction had changed. First time around it scared the bejabbers out of me - and I know lots of people who remember it as being terrifying.