The Whisperers (1967)

BRYAN FORBES

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5

United Kingdom, 1967.  .  Screenplay by Bryan Forbes, based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1967Golden Globe Awards 1967National Board of Review Awards 1967. New York Film Critics Awards 1967.  

Edith Evans is excellent as a woman who is slowly losing touch with reality thanks to the decay of age and her perpetual loneliness.  Among her many delusions are her belief that she has a high class background that has been humbled by bad luck, waiting daily for the arrival of an inheritance which will allow her the opportunity to reimburse the welfare board for the support she has been receiving.  When her son pays a rare visit and leaves behind a stash of money that he has stolen, he puts it in a hiding place that he thinks is secure but his mother finds it without much difficulty.  She believes it is the payoff she has been awaiting for so long and which will help her escape this place where voices from behind the creaky walls and dripping faucets are constantly whispering their taunting accusations at her.  Director Bryan Forbes follows his much more complex Seance on a Wet Afternoon with another portrait of kitchen-sink working class British misery (and gives his wife a role once again), but this one doesn’t have the electricity of the previous film.  Evans is clearly a classy lady playing poor, and the situations she finds herself in (including a robbery attempt by a mean old cow of a lady at the welfare office) feature plenty of judgment and misery but not as much dramatic compulsion as they should; perhaps if some of the characters weren’t such caricature cut-outs (like the Kids Today portrait of youth in her delinquent son) it would be more touching.

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