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Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)

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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 3,731 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 24 critic

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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Title: Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 3 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 adolescent 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 ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 November 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

An einem trüben Nachmittag  »

Box Office

Budget:

£143,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In one of the scenes, Richard Attenborough passes a street ad promoting stage musical 'Oh, What a Lovely War!'. Five years later, Attenborough directed a movie adaptation of the musical (see Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)). See more »

Goofs

As Myra looks outwards through the rain spattered window of a child's nursery, the rain falls unnaturally onto the panes - in two bursts - as though it were sprays from a hose or watering can. 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

References West Side Story (1961) 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

 
One of the Academy Awards Most Baffling Choices
10 December 2004 | by (Alexandria, VA) – See all my reviews

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.


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