The title refers to the creatures a very poor addled old lady (Dame Edith Evans) imagines in her paranoid fantasies. They lurk behind every drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet. They listen ... See full summary »
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Al Freeman Jr.,
The title refers to the creatures a very poor addled old lady (Dame Edith Evans) imagines in her paranoid fantasies. They lurk behind every drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet. They listen all coiled up in a silent radio. The old lady is on to all their tricks, and she tells them so repeatedly. She reports them regularly to the police who scoff at her behind her back. The whisperers, however, are only part of her fantasy life. She imagines also that she is a daughter of aristocracy, an heiress waiting for her money to arrive so that she can pay back the nice gentleman at the Welfare Board. Her routine is shattered irrevocably by the return of her thieving son and vagrant husband, a brief fling with stolen money ending dismally in the gutter where the poor prey on the poor. Written by
The old kitchen curtain is shown in scene after Archie leaves, while Margaret is moping around the apartment. The new curtains are shown again after she returns from seeing Mr. Conrad at the National Assistance Board. See more »
This may be the bleakest of all the 'kitchen sink' movies, (it is unremittingly gloomy) and Bryan Forbes' picture of the British Welfare State in the 1960's has an almost Dickensian feel to it. But then Forbes always seemed to work better with subjects which didn't lend themselves to levity.
It's the story of Mrs Ross, a pensioner living on her own and beset by the voices one hears when one is so lonely and in the part Edith Evans is quite magnificent. If you think Evans too patrician for the part of an old woman living in a working class district of an industrial, mostly derelict and rain-sodden city, she does point out that 'she married beneath her' and since she is hardly ever off the screen this is a real tour-de-force, (and she was nominated for the Oscar for it as well as winning a whole slew of other awards). There are also first-rate supporting performances from the wonderful Avis Bunnage and the always consistently reliable Gerald Sim and Eric Portman, terrific as her errand husband). Unfortunately the film's sub-plots involving stolen money and some gangsters seems superfluous and gives the film a somewhat melodramatic air and its down-beat mood meant it was never a popular success and it is hardly ever revived. But seek it out, all the same; it is certainly worth seeing.
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