6.5/10
1,245
18 user 8 critic

Brimstone & Treacle (1982)

A strange young man has a sinister effect on the family of a middle-aged writer.

Director:

Richard Loncraine

Writers:

Dennis Potter (play), Dennis Potter (screenplay)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sting ... Martin Taylor
Denholm Elliott ... Tom Bates
Joan Plowright ... Norma Bates
Suzanna Hamilton Suzanna Hamilton ... Patricia Bates
Benjamin Whitrow ... Businessman
Dudley Sutton ... Stroller
Mary MacLeod Mary MacLeod ... Valerie Holdsworth
Tim Preece Tim Preece ... Clergyman
Elizabeth Bradley Elizabeth Bradley ... Woman Passer By
Hugh Walters Hugh Walters ... Man
Christopher Fairbanks Christopher Fairbanks ... Drunk
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Storyline

Brimstone and Treacle is a modern gothic tale about the evil that men do and the price that must be paid to make things right. The film, a remake of a 1976 teleplay that included Denholm Elliot in its original cast as Mr. Bates, the film also included an incredibly cool soundtrack of songs by artists like The Go-Go's, The Police, Squeeze and an irreverently stylish 1930's little diddy called "Spread A Little Happiness", performed by Sting by himself. Written by Gerry Kissell <repdetect@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

daughter | guilt | remake | invalid | sex | See All (27) »

Taglines:

An intriguing fantasy of angelic innocence and devilish passion.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 November 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brimstone See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The film's story first existed first as a tele-movie Brimstone and Treacle (1987), then when this was banned, was rewritten by Dennis Potter as a stage play, which opened on 11th October 1977 at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. It was then re-written as a screenplay and made as this cinema movie about five years after the play was written and first performed and about six years after the tele-film was written and recorded. See more »

Quotes

Tom Bates: You could be the Devil himself.
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Crazy Credits

End credits are listed on turning pages of a book. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Passion: Films, Faith & Fury (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Narration
Performed by Sting
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User Reviews

 
Very intriguing allegorical thriller
13 May 2003 | by capkronosSee all my reviews

Polite, mannered drifter Martin Taylor (Sting) charms his way into the home of Thomas Bates (Denholm Elliott), an outwardly upright publisher of religious text, his simple-minded, devout wife Norma (Joan Plowright) and their catatonic daughter Patricia (Suzanna Hamilton), whom he claims to know. Martin is allowed to stay in the home for a couple of days, cooks, cleans, "cares" for the daughter and tries to help the couple through their marital problems, but he's also the catalyst that forces some dark secrets out of the family closet.

Sting's character will either annoy or fascinate you as he exists solely as an enigma, representing angel or demon, or possibly both. Originally a play, this film never quite escapes the stage, but that only feeds into the claustrophobia of the stuffy household and guilt-ridden, lonely characters who inhabit it, and, all in all, it's an intriguing allegory on the nature of good and evil that has a lot to offer, including potent religious imagery, a knockout nightmare/fantasy sequence and a good score (plus songs by The Police) all driven home by excellent performances by the three leads and assured direction by Richard Loncraine.

Dennis Potter's script was previously filmed in 1976 for BBC (that version also starred the great Denholm Elliott).


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