7.7/10
5,432
70 user 28 critic

Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)

A medium and her husband stage a kidnapping in order for her to pretend to solve the crime and achieve fame.

Director:

Bryan Forbes

Writers:

Mark McShane (novel), Bryan Forbes (written for the screen by)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kim Stanley ... Myra Savage
Margaret Lacey Margaret Lacey ... Woman at First Seance
Marie Burke ... Woman at First Seance
Maria Kazan Maria Kazan ... Woman at First Seance
Lionel Gamlin Lionel Gamlin ... Man at Seances
Marian Spencer Marian Spencer ... Mrs. Wintry
Richard Attenborough ... William Henry 'Bill' Savage
Godfrey James Godfrey James ... Mrs. Clayton's Chauffeur
Judith Donner Judith Donner ... Amanda Clayton - The Child
Ronald Hines ... Policeman Outside Clayton's
Hajni Biro Hajni Biro ... Carla - Maid at Clayton's
Mark Eden ... Mr. Charles Clayton
Nanette Newman ... Mrs. Clayton
Diana Lambert Diana Lambert ... Sheila - Mr. Clayton's Secretary
Frank Singuineau Frank Singuineau ... Bus Conductor
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Two of the greatest performers you will ever see... See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 November 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Seance on a Wet Afternoon See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP143,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

From 17:32 to 18:00, positions of Myra's hands alternate 5 times with changes in the point of view. See more »

Quotes

Myra Savage: So bright after a séance. Brightness just seems to fall from the air.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ghost (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Hear my Prayer
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played by George Thalben-Ball (as Sir George Thalben-Ball) (organ)
Sung by Ernest Lough
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Some Really Good Acting Here
25 April 2004 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

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.


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