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[FILM REVIEW] 🎃👻 "Whistle and I`ll Come to You" (1968) The Perfect Halloween Flick 🎃👻 by steemswede

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[FILM REVIEW] 🎃👻 "Whistle and I`ll Come to You" (1968) The Perfect Halloween Flick 🎃👻
<p>During the 60s, the BBC began to air an arts-based documentary series called Omnibus. Somewhat surprisingly a film adaptation of one of the ghost stories of M. R. James appeared in 1968. Jonathan Miller directed the short story <em>"Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad"</em>, which was now called <em>"Whistle and I`ll Come to You"</em>. The film version was only 42 minutes long, but got an incredible response from the British audience. It was so well received that the BBC a few years later created a whole series called "A Ghost Story for Christmas", consisting only of the stories of James.</p>
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<p>M. R. James (1862 - 1936) was a British medievalist, author and administrator at King's College and Cambridge. Today he's mainly remembered for his gothic ghost stories which influenced writers like H. P. Lovecraft, Ramsey Campbell and Stephen King.</p>
<p>There's nothing much to say about the plot. It's a very straight forward and simple story that Miller conveys. The great character actor Michael Hordern plays an elderly and sullen Cambridge professor who travels alone on a holiday on the British east coast. It's no doubt off-season. He takes a room at an inn and is not very interested in socializing with the other guests. The professor seems somewhat peculiar and when a man begins to converse with him at breakfast, we get a taste of his home-made philosophies and self-righteous ways.</p>
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<p>Every morning after breakfast the professor takes long walks along the beach. One day he finds an old overgrown cemetery that points toward a ravine sloping down to the sea. At the far end there's a lonely grave. The professor discovers that half of the grave has plummeted down the ravine, and that at the collapsed side some bones are sticking out. But there's also something else...</p>
<p>A flute. Happy with his discovery the professor puts it into his pocket and returns to the inn. On his walk back along the beach, he turns around twice to see a dark silhouette standing still at a distance in the setting sun. Once in his room, he regards the rotten old wooden flute. Something seems to be engraved on it. After some effort, he can make out a text that reads: "who is this who is coming." Without any consideration or caution the professor blows the flute. The same night he's haunted by terrible nightmares.</p>
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<p>Whistle and I`ll Come to You is a short, simple and effective little film. Despite its short running time the story is very slow, at least the first 20 minutes, and in general the dialogue is sparse. Despite this, I couldn't quite take my eyes off the screen. There's something quite magnetic about it. A major reason for this is Horderns brilliant acting. Considering the sparse material that the actor is given, it's rare to see such an interesting character. With his odd body language and his constant mumbling, Hordern breathes life into the old professor.</p>
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<p>At the end of the film Miller fills the short story with curious, phantasmagorical images, and the thrill becomes virtually unbearable until the inevitable end. One of the biggest assets of the film is the quite original ghost. I've never seen anything like it. It's simple, evocative and yet as effective as, and far more terrifying than any more expensive Hollywood trick. It's absolutely remarkable and sad that Miller never made another film, neither before nor after this little beauty.</p>
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<p>Perfect Halloween watching that undoubtedly will provide those awaited shivers down your spine, as well as satisfy your cinematic appetite for days.</p>
<p>— &nbsp;SteemSwede</p>
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