A young orphan, Stephen, is sent to go and live with his strange, much older cousin at his remote country house. Once there, Stephen experiences terrible dreams in which he sees a young girl and boy who are missing their hearts.

Writers:

(dramatisation), (story) (as Montague Rhodes James)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Simon Gipps-Kent ...
Stephen
...
Mr. Abney (as Joseph O'Connor)
James Mellor ...
Parkes
Susan Richards ...
Mrs. Bunch
Christopher Davis ...
Boy
Michelle Foster ...
Girl
Roger Milner ...
Vicar
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Storyline

A young orphan, Stephen, is sent to go and live with his strange, much older cousin at his remote country house. Once there, Stephen experiences terrible dreams in which he sees a young girl and boy who are missing their hearts.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gothic horror | based on book | See All (2) »

Genres:

Short | Horror | Mystery

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Details

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Release Date:

25 December 1973 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Ghost Story for Christmas: Lost Hearts  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Mr. Abney: To the some, to the chosen, immortality is given, Stephen.
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Connections

Featured in MR James: Ghost Writer (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Hyperion III
(uncredited)
Music by Bruno Maderna
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User Reviews

 
Strange tale
3 January 2016 | by (The Undertow) – See all my reviews

In the 1850s an innocent orphan goes to live with his guardian, an elderly cousin who dabbles in mysticism, but the fates of two orphans who previously lived there disturb the hospitality.

Could this be made today? The connotations are distasteful, and when you think this was made in the '70s, and the original story was written in Lewis Carrol's time, you wonder if something is being thinly veiled.

This creates a nice Dickensian vibe, as the noble hero is welcomed into a world of slightly grotesque but affable adults whose goal is to mistreat and abuse him. The villain is played very well, but I didn't think the hero was good in close up - always blinking.

Nicely shot, with the spookiness established immediately, and the sets and costumes are perfect. The ghosts are possibly overdone, but eerie nonetheless. (I wonder if the ghouls in the Hush episode of Buffy were inspired by this.) The climax is on the nose, which is a pity, since it could have afforded to be less literal, more mysterious.

Overall - stylish little spook fest.


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