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The Tractate Middoth (2013)

On his deathbed vicar Rant makes a secret confession to his niece Mary Simpson. Some twenty years later young librarian William Garrett is asked by elderly John Eldred to locate a book ... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Mary Simpson
John Eldred
Mrs. Goundry
Dr. Rant
William Garrett
George Earle
Rant's Ghost
Miss Chambers
Charlie Clemmow ...
Anne Simpson


On his deathbed vicar Rant makes a secret confession to his niece Mary Simpson. Some twenty years later young librarian William Garrett is asked by elderly John Eldred to locate a book called 'The Tractate Middoth' but a mysterious cloaked figure takes the book from the shelves and Eldred panics and leaves. On a second attempt to find the book Garrett is confronted by the mysterious borrower, a rotting ghost, the encounter causing him to faint. He goes to the seaside to recover and, by coincidence, stays with Mrs Simpson and her daughter. He learns that she is the cousin of Eldred, who cheated her out of an inheritance when Rant died though a will in her favour was actually made and hidden in the pages of the Tractate Middoth . Eldred finally obtains the book but Rant, witnessed by Garrett, exacts vengeance from beyond the grave. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Mystery | Thriller



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25 December 2013 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

Eerie Thriller with a Surprise Ending
26 December 2013 | by See all my reviews

During the Seventies the BBC made a habit of broadcasting A GHOST STORY FOR Christmas, mostly written by M. R. James and directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark. This continued a tradition established by James himself, who initiated precisely the same ritual during his lifetime as he read out a newly-created story each Christmas to his intimate circle of friends. Directed and adapted by Mark Gatiss, THE TRACTATE MIDDOTH revives that tradition; it concerns Garrett, a young librarian (Sacha Dhawan) who works at an Oxbridge college and is asked by elderly user John Eldred (John Castle) to locate a book, "The Tractate Middoth." This book appears to have been taken by a mysterious borrower who turns out to be a rotting ghost. Garrett encounters this specter and is thereby unwittingly drawn into a dark family story of resentment and revenge. Gatiss' adaptation updates the material to the Fifties, which enables him to create a thriller in the style of the MAN IN BLACK series (which Gatiss revived on radio) or the Edgar Lustgarten mysteries for Merton Park Studios. The adaptation establishes a sense of security through the presence of familiar elements - notably the Oxbridge locations, and the presence among the cast of stalwart character actors such as Roy Barraclough, David Ryall and Una Stubbs. As the action progresses, this sense of familiarity is gradually dismantled, culminating in a violent denouement. We are left in no doubt what will happen, but Gatiss stages it in an unexpected manner in the middle of a rural clearing on what looks like a fine late summer's day. The adaptation contains some notable cameos - for example Barraclough as a librarian insisting on absolute silence in his premises (even though there doesn't seem to be anyone there apart from Garrett and his friend George Earle (Nicholas Burns); and Castle's John Eldred, whose increasing anxiety is suggested by his breathless delivery.

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