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The Tractate Middoth (2013)

On his deathbed vicar Rant makes a secret confession to his niece Mary Simpson. Some twenty years later young librarian William Garrett is asked by elderly John Eldred to locate a book ... See full summary »

Director:

Mark Gatiss

Writers:

M.R. James (from the story by), Mark Gatiss
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Cast

Credited cast:
Louise Jameson ... Mary Simpson
John Castle ... John Eldred
Eleanor Bron ... Mrs. Goundry
David Ryall ... Dr. Rant
Roy Barraclough ... Hodgson
Sacha Dhawan ... William Garrett
Nicholas Burns Nicholas Burns ... George Earle
Paul Warren ... Rant's Ghost
Una Stubbs ... Miss Chambers
Charlie Clemmow Charlie Clemmow ... Anne Simpson
Mathew Foster ... Labourer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Messalina Morley ... Female Student
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Storyline

On his deathbed vicar Rant makes a secret confession to his niece Mary Simpson. Some twenty years later young librarian William Garrett is asked by elderly John Eldred to locate a book called 'The Tractate Middoth' but a mysterious cloaked figure takes the book from the shelves and Eldred panics and leaves. On a second attempt to find the book Garrett is confronted by the mysterious borrower, a rotting ghost, the encounter causing him to faint. He goes to the seaside to recover and, by coincidence, stays with Mrs Simpson and her daughter. He learns that she is the cousin of Eldred, who cheated her out of an inheritance when Rant died though a will in her favour was actually made and hidden in the pages of the Tractate Middoth . Eldred finally obtains the book but Rant, witnessed by Garrett, exacts vengeance from beyond the grave. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 2013 (UK) See more »

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Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Connections

Version of Mystery and Imagination: The Tractate Middoth (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Refreshing return of an old tradition
16 January 2014 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

THE TRACTATE MIDDOTH deserves commendation purely because it's a traditional ghost story and an adaptation of an M. R. James story to boot. Unlike the previous version of WHISTLE AND I'LL COME TO YOU, which starred John Hurt and unwisely tried to update the story to the modern day (very unsuccessfully, I might add), THE TRACTATE MIDDOTH is extremely traditional and true to the original story.

It's a labour of love for writer/director Mark Gatiss, who turns out to be a better writer than he is director. It's not that his direction is poor, it's just rather straightforward and perhaps slightly too subtle, even when adapting an author known for his subtlety. The story adaptation also has a few flaws, including some rather large coincidences, but then it does have to all tie up neatly in a rather short running time.

The period look and feel is spot on, and the plotting is quite a bit of fun. Most importantly, it feels true to the classic adaptations of the '70s, even if it is a lesser being. The horror does feel very gentle and the two 'scare' sequences aren't entirely successful, but I'm just happy that the BBC are going in the right direction for once. Let's hope Gatiss gets to do another one next year!


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