7.9/10
5,032
62 user 25 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)
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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 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, she 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, he 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 ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Was it magic... or murder they planned 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:

Al filo del abismo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£143,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Simone Signoret and Deborah Kerr were initially considered for role played by Kim Stanley. 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: What we are doing is a means to an end. Now you agree with the end, don't you? Well then you must agree with the means! You can't have one without the other.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Trauma (1993) 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

 
Bryan Forbes' Best Film
22 March 2011 | by billseperSee all my reviews

Forbes also wrote this one (as he often did). It's hard to find any fault with this movie. You can't get much better than a film, not only written and directed by Forbes, but starring an unforgettable pairing in Kim Stanley and Richard Attenborough. Ms. Stanley didn't make too many movies, but this one is enough to show why she's often thought of as the best stage actress of the 20th century.

Just to tell a small bit of the story, it's about a woman and her husband who earn some money giving séances for people. It's unclear whether the husband, played by Attenborough, actually believes anything supernatural is going on, because as the story progresses, what does become clear is that his wife, played by Stanley, is having, or has already had, a serious break with reality.

A word of warning to those thinking this is a movie about the supernatural given the film's title—it is not, although some may see something of the supernatural in the wife's delusional mode of existence. The film is actually about something entirely different—the kidnapping of a young girl. Very suspensefully done from beginning to end.


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