Tag Archives: John Hurt

Trailer-blazers! #2: The Shout (1978)

Alan Bates in The Shout

Alan Bates in The Shout

Trailer-blazers! look at some of the more unique trailers created for films in the Park Circus catalogue. In this edition, Jonathan Melville gives his thoughts on 1978’s The Shout.

“Greater than the frightening power of exorcism, more mystifying than any omen of reincarnation.” The opening to the trailer for Jerzy Skolimowski’s 1978 film, The Shout, doesn’t mess around when it comes to giving viewers a taste of what’s to come.

Told in flashback from the sidelines of a typically English cricket match in the grounds of a not-so-typical mental institution, the film focuses on Charles Crossley (Alan Bates), a mysterious stranger who arrives in a small coastal village and introduces himself to Anthony (John Hurt) and his wife, Rachel (Susannah York).

Having invited himself to stay in the couple’s home, Crossley begins to exert his influence over Rachel while convincing Anthony that he can kill a man with the use of a Shout, a skill learnt during his many years in the Australian outback.

The trailer shows a glimpse of Crossley’s Shout – sheep falling down dead, Anthony tumbling down a sand dune – and his power over Rachel as he steals one of her possessions before she becomes one of his.

We also catch a glimpse of the great Robert Stephens and a young Tim Curry, who both play small but important roles in the film, but most of the 2 minutes 48 is filled with Bates as the imposing-yet-charming Crossley (though he’s not quite so imposing when we see him in his underpants for some the picture).

Polish director Skolimowski, who has recently undergone reappraisal thanks to the re-release of previously thought lost Deep End (1970), took as the basis of his script a 20 page short story by Robert Graves (I, Claudius). Along with co-writer, Michal Austin, Skolimowski retained the framing of Graves’ story, in which the story is being told by Crossley himself, though whether we can find a man in an asylum a trustworthy narrator is debatable.

The trailer successfully captures the tone of the finished film, and, while it’s not quite the “soul shattering experience” that it promises, Bates/Hurt combination is a potent one. The label of horror film may have been attached to The Shout, but viewers of a sensitive disposition shouldn’t expect blood and guts galore.

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Now Showing: Friday 29 July – Thursday 4 August 2011

Park Circus supplies films for public screening around the world, with titles for the next four weeks listed on our Now Showing page. Each week we highlight a selection coming up in the next seven days.

First up this week, Chapter Cinema in Cardiff will be playing Labyrinth on Saturday 30 July and Wednesday 3 August. Directed by ‘The Muppets’ creator Jim Henson, produced by George Lucas and designed by Brian Froud, this spectacular fantasy film stars David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. The plot reads: ‘A teenager babysitting her little brother accidentally sends him to the land of the Goblin King, and she must get him back by midnight – or he will be turned into a goblin.’ Following its original release in 1986, the title quickly received a cult status and many devoted fans. According to Wikipedia, “an annual two-day masquerade ball called the ‘Labyrinth of Jareth’ is being held in Hollywood, CA, where revelers come dressed in costumes inspired by the film”.

In the Japanese animation Paprika from 2006, directed by the late Satoshi Kon, a group of scientists have developed a form of psychotherapy with the invention of a machine which enables a person to enter another’s dreams. When the device is stolen by a ‘dream terrorist’, it is up Atsuko Chiba – a scientist under the code name ‘Paprika’ – to track down the apparatus and save the world from madness. This action-laden anime feature is screening at Odeon Sistema Toscana Cinema in Firenze, Italy on Sunday 31 July.

This summer, BFI Southbank in London is presenting a season of classic Dirk Bogarde titles under the banner ‘He Who Dared‘. Victim, Basil Dearden’s ground breaking 1961 thriller, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011 and will be showing as part of the season on Wednesday 3 August. Following the screening, cast members Sylvia Syms and Peter McEnery will join John Coldstream for a Q&A hosted by Brian Robinson. With its location shooting, noir-ish lighting, and doomed characters, Victim was instrumental in paving the way for the legalisation of homosexuality in Britain. In the film, Bogarde portrays Melville Farr, a closeted gay lawyer. When his former lover Jack (McEnery) is blackmailed, Farr (who is married) agrees to investigate. The case is complicated by his fear of being exposed and a sudden mysterious death.

Based on the popular novel, Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Murder in Mesopotamia will be available for audiences to watch on the big screen at Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin on Thursday 4 August. Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, one of the prolific and legendary mystery writer Agatha Christie’s most famous characters, finds himself embroiled in a murder mystery while on vacation in the Middle East. When the beautiful, but neurotic, wife of a renowned archaeologist is murdered during the excavation of an ancient site, Poirot (brilliantly played by David Suchet) is on the scene and investigates the motley characters involved in the dig, with the help of Captain Hastings.

Our final highlight this week stars John Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Bridget Fonda and Ian McKellen in Scandal – the true story of a sensational sex scandal that rocked British government and society in the late 1950’s. Directed by Michael Caton-Jones, this controversial film about a call-girl who enjoys a relationship with a government minister while also sharing her sexual favours with the Soviet Naval attache, was originally released in 1989. Chicago Sunday Times’ Roger Ebert gave it 4 stars and noted: “The movie’s strength is that it is surprisingly wise about the complexities of the human heart“. Scandal is showing at Filmpodium der Stadt Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday 4 August – Wednesday 10 August.

Use our Find a Screening search to see what’s showing near you.

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