The Shout, 1978 – ★★★★

Another re-watch after quite some time, and this is an odd rural tale about a creepy man called Crossley (the magnetic Alan Bates, who rarely disappointed even in lesser fare, and is in one of his best roles here, all in black like a malevolent bat or predatory rook) who arrives in town, befriends mousy composer John Hurt and his winsome wife Susannah York, and uses the magical powers he has formed in foreign parts to unsettle and dominate his surroundings.

With a music score which is weirdly modern and strange, and the most mundane of pastimes (a cricket match on the village green, a bike ride round the quiet streets), this builds tension throughout its 80-odd minutes, and boasts some fine supporting bits from a youthful post-Rocky Horror Tim Curry, a fruity Robert Stephens, and others.

A film which defies categorization, ‘The Shout’ is an intriguing piece of British cinema, adapted from a short story by Robert Graves, and directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. The premise, that a man may be able to kill simply by the power of his voice, is nonsense when taken at face value, but this is played for deadly seriousness, and is all the better for it.

Vía Letterboxd – loureviews

About Louise Penn

Writer, reviewer, fan. View all posts by Louise Penn

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