8.0/10
4,480
58 user 26 critic

Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)

A psychic convinces her weak-willed husband to kidnap the child of a wealthy couple, so she can use her abilities to locate the child and thus achieve fame.

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Writers:

(novel), (written for the screen by)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Myra
Margaret Lacey ...
Woman at first Seance
Marie Burke ...
Woman at first Seance
Maria Kazan ...
Woman at first Seance
Lionel Gamlin ...
Man at Seances
Marian Spencer ...
Mrs. Wintry
...
Billy
Godfrey James ...
Mrs. Clayton's Chauffeur
Judith Donner ...
Amanda
Ronald Hines ...
Policeman Outside Clayton's
Hajni Biro ...
Maid at Clayton's
Mark Eden ...
Mr. Clayton
Nanette Newman ...
Mrs. Clayton
Diana Lambert ...
Sheila - Mr. Clayton's Secretary
Frank Singuineau ...
Bus Conductor
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Storyline

Myra and Billy Savage are a married couple living in London. Myra works as a medium, she who holds weekly meetings - séances - for a regular group of customers, while Billy supports her in these ventures as he does not otherwise work due to his asthma. "Arthur" is her spirit guide, he who was their stillborn son. Myra is the dominant in the couple, Billy the weak minded follower. Myra, with Billy's support, devises a scheme to raise her public prominence as a medium: kidnap Amanda Clayton, the young daughter of a wealthy couple, and using her psychic powers provide information to the Claytons and the police of Amanda and the requested ransom money's whereabouts. Myra and Billy view this scheme as a victimless crime, if a crime at all, as they don't plan on harming Amanda and they are returning the requested ransom. To carry out the scheme successfully, they will have to: kidnap Amanda; convince Amanda that her temporary captivity is not out of the ordinary, while having her not be ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 November 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Al filo del abismo  »

Box Office

Budget:

£143,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Attenborough wears a prosthetic nose for his role in this movie. See more »

Goofs

From 17:32 to 18:00, positions of Myra's hands alternate 5 times with changes in the point of view. See more »

Quotes

Myra Savage: What we are doing is a means to an end. Now you agree with the end, don't you? Well then you must agree with the means! You can't have one without the other.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in High Hopes: Séance on a Wet Afternoon (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Hear my Prayer
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played by George Thalben-Ball (as Sir George Thalben-Ball) (organ)
Sung by Ernest Lough
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Some Really Good Acting Here
25 April 2004 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Assisted by her reluctant husband, a delusional but clever "psychic", with a fondness for opera, carries out a child kidnapping scheme, to help boost her mysticism business. The film's premise is interesting, but the plot is slow and tedious. Many scenes, especially those shot outdoors, could have been shortened, or even deleted. Blatant plot holes and a sputtering finale further weaken the screen story.

If the plot is weak, the acting assuredly is not. Richard Attenborough (as the meek husband) is excellent. Even better is Kim Stanley (as the psychotic psychic). Indeed, Stanley's performance, which earned her an Oscar nomination, is the main reason to watch the film. Her method acting is perfect for the role. At times almost whispering her lines, she gives an instinctive and highly mannered performance that reminds me of another method actress, the brilliant Geraldine Page.

Mercifully, the film is shot in B&W. The best scenes are interior scenes wherein the stark contrast in lighting combines with minimal dialogue, and at times only the ticking of a clock in lieu of dialogue, to bring about the kind of brooding and dreary atmosphere one would expect, for a psychological thriller.

The best approach to this film is to ignore the details of the flawed plot, and focus instead on the psychology and motivation of Kim Stanley's character.


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