In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy, named Dickie Greenleaf. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.
When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents' jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother's wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Myra, a self-styled psychic in London, concocts a scheme to gain celebrity. She convinces Billy, her weak-willed husband, to kidnap the young daughter of wealthy parents. She and Billy will demand money, and then she will go to the parents with extra-sensory messages that will help the police find the child and the ransom. The plan unfolds beautifully, except that after her first visit to the parents, the police want to check her out. He's scared. As her delusions worsen, Bill realizes Myra may not want the child found alive. Behind it all is also the death at birth, years before, of their only child, whom they've named Arthur and who is Myra's contact with the beyond. Written by
Bryan Forbes looked for that house with the turret as a film location; when he went to the owner for permission, she asked who was in the film. When told that an American actress named Kim Stanley, the woman blanched, stepped back, and said that Stanley was one of her oldest friends whom she had not seen in 17 years. See more »
During the final seance, there is a close up of a man's hand with a pinkie ring and gray sleeve, who is not at the table. It is a repeated shot from the previous seance, when the gray-jacketed man took part. See more »
You know what I sometimes wish? I sometimes wish I *were*... ordinary. Like you. Dead ordinary. Ordinary and *dead* like all the others.
See more »
Over the years, the Oscars have often gone to performers and films that seemed to make little sense at the time and subsequently failed to stand the test of time. While Julie Andrews was certainly marked for stardom, her singing nanny did not hold a candle to Kim Stanley's tour-de-force as Myra in "Seance on a Wet Afternoon," either in 1964 or in 2004. One wonders in retrospect if any of the voters actually saw this brilliant, minor masterwork. If they had, how did Richard Attenborough's performance get overlooked? His subtle underplaying as the passive husband is in perfect sync to Stanley's showy turn as the medium and deserved Academy recognition as much as and perhaps more than his direction of "Gandhi." The taut screenplay and direction by Bryan Forbes, the fine black and white cinematography by Gerry Turpin, and John Barry's music also deserved recognition. Unfortunately, Hollywood was into big musicals in 1964, and the Academy's nominations were showered on "My Fair Lady" and "Mary Poppins," while more serious fare such as this film was overlooked. While "Lady" clunks along today as a leaden stage-bound adaptation and "Poppins" does not seem quite as charming as it did, "Seance on a Wet Afternoon" and the two brilliant performances at its center remain as riveting as they were 40 years ago. Fortunately, the Academy has shown some maturity in recent years, and films such as this are more often recognized, which raises their profiles and brings them to the attention of viewers who might otherwise miss them. Without any recognition other than recommendations from those few who have seen this character-driven suspense gem, "Seance" has been little seen and remains a cinematic jewel that awaits discovery and its deserved place among British film classics.
63 of 77 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?