December 28th, 2010

breaking bad

Oh whistle and I'll come to you

A reversioning of an old ghost story on the BBC. Jonathan Miller created a famous TV adaptation of MR James' short story 'Oh whistle and I'll come to you my lad' in the late 1960s, starring Michael Hordern. This year a new version was shown, starring John Hurt.

In the original story, and the 1960s adaptation, a desiccated professor, long estranged from his own subconscious, ill-advisedly blows on a lonely whistle that he finds on the beach, and invokes a malign spirit which pursues him.

In the new adaptation Collapse )
The production was good, and John Hurt - so great to see him on telly again - was fantastic. Wonderful in himself. But my feeling is that if they wanted to impose a completely new story, they should have called it a new name.

There is a longer review, well worth reading, on Paperknife here by brisingamen.

ETA - also see this excellent compilation on Paperknife which includes links to the original text, the 1960s TV adaptation, and Robert Powell reading the story.

ETA - Today's Guardian editorial on MR James