Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
United Kingdom, 1964. Beaver Films, Allied Film Makers. Screenplay by Bryan Forbes, based on the novel by Mark McShane. Cinematography by Gerry Turpin. Produced by Richard Attenborough. Music by John Barry. Production Design by Ray Simm. Costume Design by Laurel Staffell. Film Editing by Derek York. Academy Awards 1964.
Kim Stanley is riveting as a British medium who devises a crafty plan to promote her services and make her and her husband rich. They decide that he (Richard Attenborough) will kidnap the young daughter of a wealthy family, and then convince the parents to use her telepathic skills to find the girl, thus getting her name into every newspaper in England. At first we the audience are willing to buy into Stanley’s gift for seeing into the spirit world, but once she starts going on about her lengthy conversations with her own dead infant, we start to wonder if maybe she isn’t playing up her abilities in order to make up for her personal loss. The film is brilliantly directed, featuring tight suspense sequences that will leave you breathless, and an absolutely captivating screenplay that never lets you go for a second. This is one the high points of British new wave cinema from the sixties.