Seance on a Wet Afternoon

Overview

Kim Stanley plays a crooked medium who has become slightly unhinged since the death of her son. Craving money and publicity, she concocts a scheme with her weak-willed husband Richard Attenborough. The pair will kidnap a wealthy young girl, collect the ransom, then use her "powers" to help the parents locate the child. The scheme falls apart, but not in the way that anyone might expect. Adapted by director Bryan Forbes from a novel by Mark McShane, Seance on a Wet Afternoon is a compelling psychological melodrama...
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Overview

Kim Stanley plays a crooked medium who has become slightly unhinged since the death of her son. Craving money and publicity, she concocts a scheme with her weak-willed husband Richard Attenborough. The pair will kidnap a wealthy young girl, collect the ransom, then use her "powers" to help the parents locate the child. The scheme falls apart, but not in the way that anyone might expect. Adapted by director Bryan Forbes from a novel by Mark McShane, Seance on a Wet Afternoon is a compelling psychological melodrama made doubly powerful by Stanley's mesmerizing performance.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Séance on a Wet Afternoon would be notable if for no other reason than it contains a rare screen performance by the gifted Kim Stanley. Stanley's work is mesmerizing and captivating; there's no sleight-of-hand fakery behind the very real emotions she puts onscreen, creating a disturbing, fascinating, and wrenching portrait of an unbalanced woman whose seemingly indestructible strength and power is built upon a flimsy, shaky foundation. She conveys both the fragility and the brutality of the character with the slightest modulation in voice, and the merest raising of an eyebrow possesses stores of meaning. In her big climactic scene, she pulls out the stops without resorting to the showy and obvious. Stanley is well complemented by Richard Attenborough's finely shaded, delicately subtle characterization; the actor has never given a more finely modulated performance, and his work is crucial to the film's ultimate impact. Director Bryan Forbes has also drawn fine performances from his supporting cast, including a nicely underplayed Judith Donner and a compelling Nanette Newman. He and cinematographer Gerry Turpin use the camera to create a chilling, vaguely menacing atmosphere that hopes to disguise an underlying tone of melancholy, to very fine effect. And Forbes' screenplay is compact and economical, using detail in a telling and cumulative manner. Stanley, Oscar-nominated for her work here, would make only three more big-screen appearances before her death in 2001.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/19/2002
  • UPC: 037429070239
  • Original Release: 1964
  • Rating:

  • Source: Homevision
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kim Stanley Myra Savage
Richard Attenborough Billy Savage
Margaret Lacey Woman at first Seance
Nanette Newman Mrs. Clayton
Maria Kazan Woman at first Seance
Patrick Magee Supt. Walsh
Mark Eden Charles Clayton
Lionel Gamlin Man at Seances
Marian Spencer Mrs. Wintry
Judith Donner Amanda Clayton
Gerald Sim Sgt. Beedle
Arnold Bell Mr. Weaver
Maggie McGrath Woman at 2nd Seance
Frank Singuineau Bus Conductor
Michael Lees Plainclothes Policeman
Hajni Biro Maid at Clayton's
Marie Burke Woman at first Seance
Ronald Hines Policeman at Clayton's
Godfrey James Clayton's Chauffeur
Diana Lambert Clayton's Secretary
John Lees Plain Clothes Policeman
Stanley Morgan Man in Trilby
Technical Credits
Bryan Forbes Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Richard Attenborough Producer
John Barry Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Stuart Freeborn Makeup
David Harcourt Camera Operator
Peter James Set Decoration/Design
Jack Rix Producer
Ray Simm Art Director
Gerry Turpin Cinematographer
Derek York Editor
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