7.7/10
5,385
70 user 26 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, 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:

Al filo del abismo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP143,000 (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

During filming, Sir Richard Attenborough developed kidney stones and was unable to work for a day. Since filming was on such a tight schedule, Director Bryan Forbes got into costume and played his role for some shots. See more »

Goofs

During the final seance, there is a close up of a man's hand with a pinkie ring and gray sleeve, who is not at the table. It is a repeated shot from the previous seance, when the gray-jacketed man took part. 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

References 55 Days at Peking (1963) 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

 
Should Kim Stanley have won the Oscar?
16 January 2007 | by axsmashcrushallthreeSee all my reviews

One of the best British films of the 1960's, "Seance on a Wet Afternoon" is now available on DVD through general distribution. This should help the film to gain the wider appeal that it deserves.

This succeeds on all levels - extraordinary direction with riveting tracking shots, evocative cinematography, great set pieces, a winding plot, and amazing acting from the two leads. The showy yet introspective role of Myra Savage might be one to elicit histrionics and stern looks in the wrong hands, but the character is immensely deepened and supplemented by Kim Stanley's superbly rich "Method" performance. Stanley is matched by Richard Attenborough's Bill Savage, attenuated and subordinated by his wife's unstable, grasping personality.

Much has been said about Stanley's performance as a deserving Academy Award winner. This is difficult to judge. Most of the awards presented in 1965 were for lighter films, and it is difficult to find fault with Julie Andrew's now legendary performance as "Mary Poppins". Deeper inspection of past Awards shows a predilection toward films of an escapist nature during certain times, such as "Going My Way" during the dark, uncertain days of World War II 1943/1944. Could the same be said of the tumultuous aftermath of Kennedy's assassination and other upheavals? Under any circumstance, this film is a masterpiece with no small debt to the acting of Stanley and Attenborough. Seek this out and you will be richly rewarded - 10 out of 10.


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