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Schalcken the Painter (1979)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | Fantasy | Horror  -  23 December 1979 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 139 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 12 critic

Can Schalcken save his love, Rose, from the clutches of a ghastly suitor before it is too late?



(script associate), (based on a story by), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview:
Jeremy Clyde ...
Godfried Schalken
Maurice Denham ...
Gerrit Dou
Cheryl Kennedy ...
John Justin ...
Anne Tirard ...
Brothel Madam (as Ann Tirard)
Anthony Sharp ...
Val Penny ...
Roy Evans ...
Eric Francis ...
Victor Dear ...
Rosemary Jenner ...
Amanda Carlson ...
Helena Clayton ...
Charles Stewart ...


Can Schalcken save his love, Rose, from the clutches of a ghastly suitor before it is too late?

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy | Horror





Release Date:

23 December 1979 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

The BBC must re-show this and release on DVD
18 July 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"Schalken the Painter", to my memory, was first shown in December 1979 during the BBC2 drama schedule. I believe it may have been shown a second time in 1980 and again in the late 80s (although I missed both the repeats). Aged just 13 at the time, I remember the play had long lasting effects and it wasn't until a few years later when I rediscovered many works in the UK by Schalcken, that I realised the brilliant work by the Le Fanu in reworking a dark and mysterious painting. This play recorded for TV is a masterful work and the transfer to DVD must surely come.

Does anyone know the exact painting that influenced the play/film and where it is displayed? (I haven't tracked it down in the 26 years that has elapsed!).

I remember the first broadcast coming at the end of BBC2's evening schedule of programmes and the announcer alerting the viewer of some scenes may cause some viewers a little distress (such was the politeness of the BBC announcer at the time!).

Whilst we know of the supernatural and mainly inaccurate account as dramatised by Le Fanu, it is nonetheless made all the more pointing bearing in mind how little we actually know of the Dutch 17th Century Genre Painters of which our hero Schalcken was a leading Leiden fine-painter.

Given the incredible attention to Vermeer in recent years and indeed the rise in popularity of 17th Century Dutch painters, it is appropriate for the BBC to go in search of this wonderful eerie drama first broadcast in 1979, show again (perhaps on BBC4 as this is their preferred artistic channel), and finally (PLEASE PLEASE) release on DVD.

The acting is superlative, the dramatisation is spot-on, and Schalken (correct spelling is Schalcken, though not used in the play or film) is portrayed as our hero destined for total emotional collapse. The narrator in the end, gives the viewer a choice. He says that Schalken does not recover and is left mourning the loss of Rose - or does he? If you haven't discovered any of Schalcken's other works, the UK have a great many of them.

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