Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)

Bryan Forbes' Best Film

Forbes also wrote this one (as he often did). It's hard to find any fault with this movie. You can't get much better than a film, not only written and directed by Forbes, but starring an unforgettable pairing in Kim Stanley and Richard Attenborough. Ms. Stanley didn't make too many movies, but this one is enough to show why she's often thought of as the best stage actress of the 20th century.

Just to tell a small bit of the story, it's about a woman and her husband who earn some money giving séances for people. It's unclear whether the husband, played by Attenborough, actually believes anything supernatural is going on, because as the story progresses, what does become clear is that his wife, played by Stanley, is having, or has already had, a serious break with reality.

A word of warning to those thinking this is a movie about the supernatural given the film's title—it is not, although some may see something of the supernatural in the wife's delusional mode of existence. The film is actually about something entirely different—the kidnapping of a young girl. Very suspensefully done from beginning to end.


  1. They're always repeating it on TCM. Richard Attenborough scares me a bit for some reason, possibly going back to childhood? Or maybe it's because he played Christie, the London strangler in 10 Rillington Place, a true story. Yikes! I've scared myself again.

  2. But let's not forget he directed Shadowlands!

  3. Oh yeh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I totally forgot that!! How could I ever forget that? It's like I see him as two different people?!

  4. I think if you saw some of his better, and more fun, movies roles you would lose your fear of him.

    The Sand Pebbles
    The Magic Christian
    David Copperfield
    Doctor Dolittle
    The League of Gentlemen
    Jurassic Park
    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    The Magic Box
    The Flight of the Phoenix
    The Great Escape

    Those last two are my favorites.