IMDb > "Great Performances" The Lost Language of Cranes (1991)

"Great Performances" The Lost Language of Cranes (1991)

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David Leavitt (novel)
Sean Mathias (writer)
View company contact information for The Lost Language of Cranes on IMDbPro.
Original Air Date:
14 November 1991 (Season 20, Episode 17)
When a young gay man comes out of the closet. His friends support him, but when he comes out to his parents, he stirs up a wealth of hidden feelings and secrets in their relationship. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Honesty has a Language of its own See more (16 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Brian Cox ... Owen Benjamin

Eileen Atkins ... Rose Benjamin

Angus Macfadyen ... Philip Benjamin

Corey Parker ... Elliot Abrahams

Rene Auberjonois ... Geoffrey Lane

John Schlesinger ... Derek Moulthorpe
Cathy Tyson ... Jerene Parks
Richard Warwick ... Frank
Nicholas Le Prevost ... Nick

Ben Daniels ... Robin Bradley
Frank Middlemass ... Alex

Nigel Whitmey ... Winston Penn
Edmund Kente ... Bob
Paul Cottingham ... Porno Boy 1
Tom Harden ... Porno Boy 2
Sjaak Van der Bent ... Singer

Adam Matalon ... Doorman
Ben McVeigh ... Crane Child

Episode Crew
Directed by
Nigel Finch 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
David Leavitt  novel
Sean Mathias  writer

Produced by
Ruth Caleb .... producer
Kimberly Myers .... executive producer
Mark Shivas .... executive producer
Original Music by
Julian Wastall 
Cinematography by
Remi Adefarasin 
Film Editing by
Sue Wyatt 
Production Design by
Bruce Macadie 
Costume Design by
James Keast 
Makeup Department
Fran Needham .... makeup designer
Sound Department
John Pritchard .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Paddy Blake .... assistant camera
Sean Savage .... assistant camera

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Directed by
John Doyle 
John Glenmeister (episode "Man Who Married a French Wife, the")
Nick Havinga (episode "Girls in Their Summer Dresses") (episode "Monument, The")
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Marion J. Caffey  creator
Daniel Ezralow  creator
Josh Groban  creator

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

UK:87 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:


Wasn't this originally shown on BBC in the early '90s?
See more »
16 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
Honesty has a Language of its own, 8 February 2003
Author: (tim.halkin) from Munich, Germany

The film offers two metaphors for the suppression of expression - young twins, who have never been taught an established language, and hence create one of their own; and a neglected child, who's only company is the view it has of a building site with several large cranes from the window: the child begins to imitate the cranes' movements and noises in an attempt to communicate with them. No fear - the symbolism is kept to a minimum.

At the film's core, are three people, all of whom have been suppressing their real feelings (their real selves) from the others for fear of change - for fear of disrupting the balance of their existence. This lack of expressing themselves in language, causes them to create their own "language of cranes".

They're terrified that the truth will rip apart the world as they know it, which it does. The viewer is left with their loose ends, wondering if honesty really was the best. Everything they feared about honesty comes to pass. The family is torn apart without a way back. The mother is left feeling like the punch line of a bad joke and the father will be left with 30 years of remorse and guilt. But they're free. They're alive and free - and they still have time to take advantage of their second chance at life.

There are no action scenes here, but this film is more suspenseful than a thriller. If you have ever kept a secret from someone you loved - beware - this film might make you feel very uncomfortable.

Bottom line: a wonderful script, excellent acting and well directed on a small budget. A must see!

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