6.8/10
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The Man from Nowhere (1975)

| Drama, Mystery
In 1860, a young orphaned girl is sent to live with her uncle, but she is troubled by a shadowy figure that appears and disappears.

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Cast

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Sarah Hollis Andrews ...
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In 1860, a young orphaned girl is sent to live with her uncle, but she is troubled by a shadowy figure that appears and disappears.

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Drama | Mystery

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Edmund Thomas is dubbed by Michael Gough, as are a number of minor characters. See more »

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When Mrs Smee shows Alice to her room she is carrying a lamp, however the room appears to be bathed in sunshine. See more »

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Modern Film Makers Could Learn something...
20 March 2015 | by (The North West, England) – See all my reviews

Nice to see that the BFI have released a decent copy of this on R2 DVD, along with two other spooky stories from the Children's Film Foundation. If I can get the negatives out of the way, CFF films obviously focused on kids and it's rare for a film of this ilk to have loads of top talent available as far as child actors are concerned. Clearly these films had little in the way of budget too. The good news is that these particular kids are, at the very least, a pleasant bunch and so the variable acting skills are easily forgiven - and there's good adult support from the likes of Ronald Adam and John Fforbes-Robertson (Dracula in hammers 'Legend of the 7 golden Vampires'. Regarding the budget, full marks to the crew for finding some great atmospheric locations - a fine looking period house, a station with a working steam train and perfect woodland. It all helps to make it look more expensive than it was. As for the story, well, it's very simple and this is a lesson for the modern film makers. Complicated doesn't mean good, necessarily. And simple doesn't mean bad. It's a fine line between genre iconography and cliché. Sometimes, when we want to watch a spooky story in an old dark house, the expected tropes are exactly what we seek. In this case, an orphaned young girl is sent to stay with her poorly Uncle but is immediately set upon by a frightening figure in black who warns her to leave the house. The figure always seems to vanish into 'nowhere'. Who is trying to scare the girl away and why? I dare say that you'll guess the answer well before the end (which is under an hour) but it really won't matter. Lesson 2 for modern film makers. You don't have to rely on lazy, mechanical editing of sudden moves and loud noises. That isn't scary anyway, just makes you jump. In this quaint old kids film, what happens is presented simply. The noises are not violently jarring, there are no special effects. But it manages to be a 100 times more atmospheric. If you're unable to view an old film within context, then you'll be disappointed. However, with the right frame of mind you may well feel that this short tale is a nostalgic treat, an uncovered treasure...and a clear lesson for the depressingly talentless laziness of the modern ghost story film maker.


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