Screenwriter Jake Armitage (Peter Finch) and his wife Jo Armitage (Anne Bancroft) live in London with six of Jo's eight children, with the two eldest boys at boarding school. The children ... See full summary »
Elderly Mrs. Ross lives alone in her meager flat, scraping by on government assistance even as she claims to have great wealth. After finding stolen money she is victimized, making it necessary to find her support in her declining years.
Myra and Billy Savage are a married couple living in London. Myra works as a medium, who holds weekly meetings, séances, for a regular group of customers, while Billy supports her in these ventures, as he does not otherwise work, due to his asthma. "Arthur" is her spirit guide, who was their stillborn son. Myra is the dominant in the couple, Billy, the weak-minded follower. Myra, with Billy's support, devises a scheme to raise her public prominence as a medium: kidnap Amanda Clayton, the young daughter of a wealthy couple, and using her psychic powers provide information to the Claytons and the police of Amanda and the requested ransom money's whereabouts. Myra and Billy view this scheme as a victimless crime, if a crime at all, as they don't plan on harming Amanda, and they are returning the requested ransom. To carry out the scheme successfully, they will have to: kidnap Amanda; convince Amanda that her temporary captivity is not out of the ordinary, while having her not be able to ...Written by
Director Bryan Forbes looked for the house with the turret as a film location. When he went to the owner for permission, she asked who was in the movie. When told that an American actress named Kim Stanley, the woman blanched, stepped back, and said that Stanley was one of her oldest friends whom she had not seen in seventeen years. See more »
From 17:32 to 18:00, positions of Myra's hands alternate 5 times with changes in the point of view. See more »
Assisted by her reluctant husband, a delusional but clever "psychic", with a fondness for opera, carries out a child kidnapping scheme, to help boost her mysticism business. The film's premise is interesting, but the plot is slow and tedious. Many scenes, especially those shot outdoors, could have been shortened, or even deleted. Blatant plot holes and a sputtering finale further weaken the screen story.
If the plot is weak, the acting assuredly is not. Richard Attenborough (as the meek husband) is excellent. Even better is Kim Stanley (as the psychotic psychic). Indeed, Stanley's performance, which earned her an Oscar nomination, is the main reason to watch the film. Her method acting is perfect for the role. At times almost whispering her lines, she gives an instinctive and highly mannered performance that reminds me of another method actress, the brilliant Geraldine Page.
Mercifully, the film is shot in B&W. The best scenes are interior scenes wherein the stark contrast in lighting combines with minimal dialogue, and at times only the ticking of a clock in lieu of dialogue, to bring about the kind of brooding and dreary atmosphere one would expect, for a psychological thriller.
The best approach to this film is to ignore the details of the flawed plot, and focus instead on the psychology and motivation of Kim Stanley's character.
31 of 46 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this