Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)

Bill Savage is struggling to maintain his marriage to his increasingly unbalanced wife, Myra, who believes she is a medium. She plans a scheme that will make her famous, involving kidnapping then "psychically" locating a little girl.


I don't think you wonder for very long whether the supernatural is real in the world of Seance on a Wet Afternoon, that's not where the intrigue lies. Rather, this is a thriller of Hitchcockian proportions about an mentally ill medium who believes (HAS to believe) her dead child speaks to her, and sets her and her long-suffering husband on an unhinged kidnapping plot so she can become one of those crime-solving mediums you read about. Kim Stanley is electric in the main role, somewhere at the crossroads of Dianne Wiest and Louise Fletcher, and Richard Attenborough is no less good as a devoted husband devoured by guilt and paranoia. This is practically a two-hander and could have been play, though it started life as a novel (I'm rather intrigued by the fact someone turned this into an opera in 2011), tight and intimate and claustrophobic. Bryan Forbes' direction is suspenseful and creepy, but above all sensitive and sympathetic, and uses the water metaphor of the title to good effect, as something that distorts and ultimately obscures vision. Lovely and sad.

7 months ago


Strange how ordinary people can be influenced by extraordinary people.

7 years ago


Great movie. Got that nice Hitchcock-feeling.

9 years ago

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