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The Supernatural and the Spiritual


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I noticed that in the late scene in Love Finds Andy Hardy

where Mickey and Judy are at the fancy dance and Mick

is wearing evening wear that he looks like the dummy in

Dead of Night. Not supernatural, but a little spooky.

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I don't think there's anything Supernatural about Vertigo.

 

It's really all very simplistic - - these people drive James Stewart crazy because he thinks he's responsible for the suicide of a woman he loved.

 

When he finds out the truth he is crazy with revenge and anger.

 

What may seem Supernatural is actually just his Madness.

 

For some reason the European censors demanded a coda on the movie.

One that actually explains what happened and shows the guilty party being identified.

 

There may have been some legal or moral reason for that, but the way Hitchcock ended the movie was just brilliant - - and was just typical Hitchcock.

 

That ending is what you'd get from a great director. You never knew what to expect and then when you see you couldn't believe it.

It's really the only one scene that I mention here. The thing about Vertigo is, that Hitch added the character played by Barbara Bel Geddes.  She is not in the book.  There had to be a third party available to see Scotty at the end.

 

I love this movie.  But with my health problems I always see Scotty in the institution and think to myself - this could be me if I don't get out and do things.    So I rarely watch it anymore.

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A topic close to my heart...."fantasy" stories are just about my favorite category. 

 

I especially enjoy the sideshow soothsayer type ones. I love Claude Rains as THE CLAIRVOYANT and the seance scenes of BLITHE SPIRIT for example.

I love the "angel/devil" ones like  ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, CABIN IN THE SKY.

 

I also go for the "dead people" theme like MR JORDAN, MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH, TOPPER, BETWEEN TWO WORLDS.

 

Even the early documentary HAXAN is a fave.

Ghosts are great, as in the forementioned MRS MUIR and THE UNINVITED. Zombies are ok, but once you start going into horror, my interest wanes somewhat. I think it may be because so many horror titles are Universals and they tend to be the same old story to me.

 

Love the comedies too, like CAT & CANARY, GHOST CHASERS and THE INVISIBLE WOMAN.

 

As for BLACK NARCISSUS, MissW, I wholly understand your point of view on it. It's a long movie with LOTS of charactors and situations to get through. It's one of those movies best viewed in a theater or in a snowstorm. It's best if you're totally engrossed in the story. I think it was my second or third viewing that "hooked" me. It's a fave now, but wasn't at first.

I'll never forget the impact those jewels color had in that last viewing-I had "seen" it before, but you need to "feel" it.

That said, I've viewed THE RED SHOES several times and "get" it, just don't care for it. At least I understand what's great about it, I just find it kind of sappy. (oh but I don't find It's A Wonderful Life sappy-go figure!)

 

how silly whasisname looked in those shorts - not sexy at all ! 

 

No kidding...you'd HAVE to be a sequestered nun to be attracted to that dweeb. And with incredibly hunky Sabu around? No contest.

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For me, one of the most frightening of all portrayals of the supernatural, Noble Johnson as the zombie in Bob Hope's THE GHOST BREAKERS. And, yes, I know, it's in a comedy.

 

ghostbreakersnoblejohnsonzombie.JPG

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Pretty scary looking for a comedy, Tom!

 

One of my favorites is the always-standout Sidney Poitier in Lilies of the Field.

 

Homer Smith (Poitier) is driving along a hot desert highway when he realizes that he needs water for his car radiator.  He pulls up to a remote convent of German-speaking Catholic nuns.  Poor, unsuspecting Homer thinks he’ll just get the water and be on his way.  But it soon becomes apparent that he’s going to be roped into doing work for the Lord.

 

Despite the movie’s religious theme, this is not an hour-plus long sermon.  This is a charming, humorous, wonderful movie.  As usual, Poitier embodies his character with naturalness and ease.  Though Homer tries his best to stay independent, arguing and threatening to leave the Catholic group on any number of occasions, he’s also charmed by the innocent, and at times childlike, sisters.  I loved watching Homer scrap with the hard-nosed Mother Superior in particular, whom he sarcastically calls “Mama”.  They are both stubborn people, for different reasons.  She orders him to go to Mass (“I’m a BAPTIST!”, he responds, but he goes!), and her declaration that he will be building their chapel sends him into a hilarious temper tantrum.  But the viewer already knows he’s in for it…  Still, we don't anticipate the wonderful events that unfold around the building of it, and the insights we get into Homer Smith's character.

 

I love the scene where the nuns ask Homer to play the guitar.  He picks it up and strums, “Frankie and Johnny were looo-verrs…”  The nuns sit looking at him silently, blankly.  Homer quickly stops himself, looking as if he were wishing there were a hole he could crawl into.

 

w7oms6.jpg

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GPF beat me to it with BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

 

I also suppose both TOPPER flicks work for me....

 

Both DICK POWELL'S  "IT HAPPENED TOMORROW"  and "YOU NEVER CAN TELL" have some supernatural stuff going on.

 

There are too many "spooky" movies involving the supernatural and paranormal to choose from, especially if one LIKES most of 'em.

 

Spiritual?  well....I can't think of any movie that either moved me or inspired me spiritually.  But as mentioned before, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL has long been said to contain many spiritual references.

 

Come to think of it....THE BISHOP'S WIFE might well cover TWO of these things...spiritual AND supernatural!  B)

 

 

Sepiatone

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Pretty scary looking for a comedy, Tom!

 

One of my favorites is the always-standout Sidney Poitier in Lilies of the Field.

 

Homer Smith (Poitier) is driving along a hot desert highway when he realizes that he needs water for his car radiator.  He pulls up to a remote convent of German-speaking Catholic nuns.  Poor, unsuspecting Homer thinks he’ll just get the water and be on his way.  But it soon becomes apparent that he’s going to be roped into doing work for the Lord.

 

Despite the movie’s religious theme, this is not an hour-plus long sermon.  This is a charming, humorous, wonderful movie.  As usual, Poitier embodies his character with naturalness and ease.  Though Homer tries his best to stay independent, arguing and threatening to leave the Catholic group on any number of occasions, he’s also charmed by the innocent, and at times childlike, sisters.  I loved watching Homer scrap with the hard-nosed Mother Superior in particular, whom he sarcastically calls “Mama”.  They are both stubborn people, for different reasons.  She orders him to go to Mass (“I’m a BAPTIST!”, he responds, but he goes!), and her declaration that he will be building their chapel sends him into a hilarious temper tantrum.  But the viewer already knows he’s in for it…  Still, we don't anticipate the wonderful events that unfold around the building of it, and the insights we get into Homer Smith's character.

 

I love the scene where the nuns ask Homer to play the guitar.  He picks it up and strums, “Frankie and Johnny were looo-verrs…”  The nuns sit looking at him silently, blankly.  Homer quickly stops himself, looking as if he were wishing there were a hole he could crawl into.

 

w7oms6.jpg

I adore this movie.  Before I saw it I thought it would  be a sermon and boy - was I wrong.

 

It is a delight.

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I don't know about the "spiritual", but two of the scariest "supernatural" movies I've ever seen are ghost stories: The Innocents and The Haunting. I'm surprised they've not yet been mentioned on this thread.

 

I agree with TikiSoo. I love ghost stories, movies that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up; but I dislike "horror" movies, which to me are not at all the same thing as ghost story films. The two I mentioned above have to be among the most chilling, frightening, eerie movies I've ever seen.

 

Everyone knows The Haunting is incredibly scary ( of course I'm talking about the original 1963 version). But for some reason The Innocents, (based on a novella by Henry James, )gets short shrift.

 

Spoiler ahead:

 

I get kind of annoyed when people want to explain away the ghosts in this movie; "Oh, the Deborah Kerr character is psychologically unstable, it's all in her mind, blah blah..."

Why? Why is it so hard to accept that the governess, the children, and in fact the entire estate where they are living is haunted by the ghosts - the malevolent ghosts - of Peter Quint and his lover, the former governess?

This is a very well-done, uncanny, ghost story, and I do not understand why it is not more well-known.

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I don't know about the "spiritual", but two of the scariest "supernatural" movies I've ever seen are ghost stories: The Innocents and The Haunting. I'm surprised they've not yet been mentioned on this thread.

 

I agree with TikiSoo. I love ghost stories, movies that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up; but I dislike "horror" movies, which to me are not at all the same thing as ghost story films. The two I mentioned above have to be among the most chilling, frightening, eerie movies I've ever seen.

 

Everyone knows The Haunting is incredibly scary ( of course I'm talking about the original 1963 version). But for some reason The Innocents, (based on a novella by Henry James, )gets short shrift.

 

Spoiler ahead:

 

I get kind of annoyed when people want to explain away the ghosts in this movie; "Oh, the Deborah Kerr character is psychologically unstable, it's all in her mind, blah blah..."

Why? Why is it so hard to accept that the governess, the children, and in fact the entire estate where they are living is haunted by the ghosts - the malevolent ghosts - of Peter Quint and his lover, the former governess?

This is a very well-done, uncanny, ghost story, and I do not understand why it is not more well-known.

 

1) The Haunting - This movie in particular is scary because Julie Harris is so convincing in it and she had a hard time separating herself from the story when the movie was not filming.

 

2) The Innocents - I love this movie.  I have not seen it is a long time.  I don't watch it before I go to bed.  Not all ghosts are Casper. 

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I'm not sure how many people have seen Eye of the Devil.  I hate this freaky movie.

 

Kerr and David Niven star in this horror movie that also includes yes, you guessed it - David Hemmings.

 

Sharon Tate also appears in this movie.

 

 

Pagans make human sacrifices in this movie. 

 

There is a weird necklace in this movie that I believe is the title of the film.

 

I saw this movie the first time really excited because I love Kerr and Niven's other films together.

 

 

Oh, well.

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I don't know about the "spiritual", but two of the scariest "supernatural" movies I've ever seen are ghost stories: The Innocents and The Haunting. I'm surprised they've not yet been mentioned on this thread.

 

I agree with TikiSoo. I love ghost stories, movies that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up; but I dislike "horror" movies, which to me are not at all the same thing as ghost story films. The two I mentioned above have to be among the most chilling, frightening, eerie movies I've ever seen.

Thank you, misswonderly, I'm absolutely going to look for these via classicflix.com. When a poster feels so strongly about a movie, it makes me want to check it out. Arturo also mentioned a film here yesterday that I wanted to see.

 

I don't like horror movies either, with the exception of The Omen, because of the supernatural/existential quality of it. It's a brilliant film and is worth mentioning here.

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I don't know if anyone has mentioned this one yet in this thread, but it gets mentioned often in others: The Wicker Man (1973). It's a terrific, disconcerting mystery that involves pagan spirituality and ritualism. One of the best of that decade. 

 

Night of the Demon/Curse of the Demon (1957) is also a very good supernatural tale that, depending on the version you see, leaves things ambiguous. 

 

In foreign language films, there are several good Japanese ghost films, like Ugetsu (1953), Onibaba (1964), and the anthology film Kwaidan (1964). One unique film that I enjoyed was the Soviet film Viy (1967) with a monk being besieged by all sorts of ghosts and demons while spending the night in a church. Italy had several good Gothic ghost tales in the 60's, starting with Black Sunday (1960). I also recommend Kill, Baby, Kill (1966), also from director Mario Bava.

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MissWonderly said: Everyone knows The Haunting is incredibly scary ( of course I'm talking about the original 1963 version). But for some reason The Innocents, (based on a novella by Henry James, )gets short shrift.

 

Well, I didn't want to list them ALL ;-)

 

But yes, "haunted house" movies are just about my favorite genre of supernatural / spiritual movies. THE HAUNTING is a fave. I recorded THE INNOCENTS, but like you & NARCISSUS, I just couldn't get sucked into it. I'm waiting for a snowstorm so I can wrap myself up in a blanket & concentrate on it.

 

I like the idea of THE INNOCENTS because it reminds me of THE OTHERS (2001), a haunted house movie I liked A LOT.

 

Also really like the DEMON movies too, Lawrence. You like Mario Bava? My best friends do too & I just don't "get" them. I find them cheesy (although love Barbara Steele) and improbable, a killer for a spirit film. You have to believe what's going on for it to work. 

 

Foreign horror can sometimes work in it's bizarre-ness, like LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, but again, I see vampires/zombies/creatures more as a "monster" movie. (although the DEMON is more psychological than a monster movie, eh splitting hairs)

 

I haven't seen ANY of the ones you mentioned, but turned off THE ORPHANAGE (Spanish) half way through-boring & obvious.

 

Generally, the only ones I like are Mexican & Indian and they generally fall into the horror/creature category for me. 

My favorite? Mondo Macabra has a BOLLYWOOD HORROR COLLECTION and Vol 1 is BANDH DARWAZA with PURANA MANDIR. They are vampire stories that involve EVERY element of horror imaginable: scantily clad beauty, graveyard, blood & gore, religious icons, angry mobs with torches.....oh yeah plus song & dance numbers!

 

If you want moralistic spirituality movies, nothing beats Bollywood. It's as if they are restricted by a "world order" code so that everything resolves for those pure of heart in the last 15 minutes.

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I just went back over all of these and was flabbergasted, due to the number of "experts" there are claimed to be in these forums that I found NO MENTION of ----

 

A GUY NAMED JOE  !!

 

only a "blinders" guided sidetrack into simply "horror" flicks, and personal likes or dislikes.  Or pretentious bloviating on opinions of particular film's quality.

 

Oh,  aren't we SO "classic" dedicated--- :rolleyes:

 

Sepiatone

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I just went back over all of these and was flabbergasted, due to the number of "experts" there are claimed to be in these forums that I found NO MENTION of ----

 

A GUY NAMED JOE !!

 

only a "blinders" guided sidetrack into simply "horror" flicks, and personal likes or dislikes. Or pretentious bloviating on opinions of particular film's quality.

 

Oh, aren't we SO "classic" dedicated--- :rolleyes:

 

Sepiatone

I did think of it, Sepia, but I didn't remember enough about the plot to comment on it in depth. I was waiting for you, lol. Has two of my favorites in it, Tracy and Dunne.

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I did think of it, Sepia, but I didn't remember enough about the plot to comment on it in depth. I was waiting for you, lol. Has two of my favorites in it, Tracy and Dunne.

Well, there was no NEED to comment "in depth".  Just mention it as a movie with a "supernatural" element( Tracy as the spirit of a dead pilot) the lover of Dunne's character who gets interested in and is found interesting by a newcomer pilot played by Van Johnson.  The frustrating thing about this movie is....

 

None of the principal characters are NAMED Joe!

 

A GUY NAMED JOE is a pretty good movie, but that fact, although it doesn't ruin anything for me, is one of it's poignant peculiarities.  ;)

 

Sepiatone

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Also really like the DEMON movies too, Lawrence. You like Mario Bava? My best friends do too & I just don't "get" them. I find them cheesy (although love Barbara Steele) and improbable, a killer for a spirit film. You have to believe what's going on for it to work. 

 

Foreign horror can sometimes work in it's bizarre-ness, like LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, but again, I see vampires/zombies/creatures more as a "monster" movie. (although the DEMON is more psychological than a monster movie, eh splitting hairs)

 

I haven't seen ANY of the ones you mentioned, but turned off THE ORPHANAGE (Spanish) half way through-boring & obvious.

 

Generally, the only ones I like are Mexican & Indian and they generally fall into the horror/creature category for me. 

My favorite? Mondo Macabra has a BOLLYWOOD HORROR COLLECTION and Vol 1 is BANDH DARWAZA with PURANA MANDIR. They are vampire stories that involve EVERY element of horror imaginable: scantily clad beauty, graveyard, blood & gore, religious icons, angry mobs with torches.....oh yeah plus song & dance numbers!

 

If you want moralistic spirituality movies, nothing beats Bollywood. It's as if they are restricted by a "world order" code so that everything resolves for those pure of heart in the last 15 minutes.

 

I enjoy many of Bava's films, but they can be an acquired taste. They tend to be over-the-top. Kill, Baby, Kill is a both a Gothic murder mystery and a ghost story, with some excellent color cinematography.

 

The Japanese films I mentioned can be enjoyed, I think, even by those who don't like straight horror movies. Ugetsu is a period piece ghost romance. The anthology Kwaidan is composed of adaptations of traditional tales, and most play like otherworldly fairy tales. This film, too, has beautiful cinematography. Onibaba is another period piece, set during a time of rampant warfare, and centers on two women who live in a hovel in the midst of a field of tall grass. They rob the dead to sell their armor and weapons, and also lure living men to their dwelling to murder them. Eventually one of their intended victims turns out not to be what they expected. 

 

One of the things I miss from my Netflix membership was getting those Mondo Macabro DVDs. There are some wonderfully bizarre movies in their catalog.

 

I liked some of the aspects of The Orphanage, but I also felt that the story was old hat. The Devil's Backbone was an earlier, similar Spanish-language ghost film, set in an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War. The Appeared was another decent Spanish-language ghost film, set in Argentina, and using that country's turbulent history as a basis for it's story.

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Quite a great selection of titles mentioned already, almost all of them ones I love also!

 

But I did not see anyone mention, one of my top favorites, "Carnival of Souls".

 

This movie spooks me out, every time I see it. As I recall it was made in about a month, cost almost nothing to produce [like under fifty thousand bucks] yet has great staying power and is a cult classic.

 

Directed and written by Herk Hervey, who originally worked in making industrial films I think, and starring unknowns like Candace Hilligoss, it still rivets one during its many rather supernatural sequences. The man who appears at the side window as the character Mary is driving, the car radio transmissions on a station that Mary cannot turn off, the seemingly haunted carnival pavilion out in the sticks, the scene when Mary, as church organist starts playing rather frighteningly diabolic music in her bare feet, Mary shopping in town when all of a sudden all sounds around her are silenced, all of these moments are burned into my brain. Occasionally when I just need a good scare I get out my Criterion copy of this film and play it, or invite someone over who's not seen and try to gauge their reaction. Most usually don't want to go home if it is already dark out!

 

Whew! It creeps me out just thinking about those scenes. Its denouement is great too, and the film has been said to be influential on David Lynch and others like George Romero. But really, this film is a one of a kind and not to be duplicated, no matter how much money could be involved. Just a little bit of perfection in black and white, which is like a bad dream. Any other fans here?

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Well, there was no NEED to comment "in depth".  Just mention it as a movie with a "supernatural" element( Tracy as the spirit of a dead pilot) the lover of Dunne's character who gets interested in and is found interesting by a newcomer pilot played by Van Johnson.  The frustrating thing about this movie is....

 

None of the principal characters are NAMED Joe!

 

A GUY NAMED JOE is a pretty good movie, but that fact, although it doesn't ruin anything for me, is one of it's poignant peculiarities.  ;)

 

Sepiatone

Joe and Charlie were stock names that foreigners would give to American military personnel when they did not know their name.  At one point before he dies, Tracy's character is addressed as Joe who turns around.

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Thank you, misswonderly, I'm absolutely going to look for these via classicflix.com. When a poster feels so strongly about a movie, it makes me want to check it out. Arturo also mentioned a film here yesterday that I wanted to see.

 

I don't like horror movies either, with the exception of The Omen, because of the supernatural/existential quality of it. It's a brilliant film and is worth mentioning here.

Thanks again for going into detail about the extras for The Omen and about Gregory Peck working on the film in that time of his life.

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With the broad nature of this topic I reckon this thread could go on for years!  Here are 3 movies (two TVM's and a theatrical film) that deal mostly with the supernatural/spiritual and have a romance angle to them:

 

     TWO WORLDS OF JENNIE LOGAN, The (1978-Tvm) C-1oom.  Directed by the recently-deceased Frank DeFelitta.  Starring Lindsay Wagner, Marc Singer, Alan Feinstein, Linda Gray. 

 

     SOMEWHERE IN TIME (1980) C-103m. [PG].  Directed by Jeannot Szwarc.  Starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plummer.

 

     HAUNTING PASSION, The (1983-Tvm) C-100m.  Directed by John Korty.  Starring Jane Seymour, Gerald McRaney, Millie Perkins, Ruth Nelson. 

 

 

     Another couple of flix:  

 

HAUNTING OF SARAH HARDY, The  (1989-Cable Tvm).  Starring Sela Ward, Michael Woods, Roscoe Born, Polly Bergen, Morgan Fairchild. 

 

 HAUNTING OF SEACLIFF INN, The  (1994-Cable Tvm) [PG-13].  Starring Ally Sheedy, William R. Moses. 

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Quite a great selection of titles mentioned already, almost all of them ones I love also!

 

But I did not see anyone mention, one of my top favorites, "Carnival of Souls".

 

This movie spooks me out, every time I see it. As I recall it was made in about a month, cost almost nothing to produce [like under fifty thousand bucks] yet has great staying power and is a cult classic.

 

Directed and written by Herk Hervey, who originally worked in making industrial films I think, and starring unknowns like Candace Hilligoss, it still rivets one during its many rather supernatural sequences. The man who appears at the side window as the character Mary is driving, the car radio transmissions on a station that Mary cannot turn off, the seemingly haunted carnival pavilion out in the sticks, the scene when Mary, as church organist starts playing rather frighteningly diabolic music in her bare feet, Mary shopping in town when all of a sudden all sounds around her are silenced, all of these moments are burned into my brain. Occasionally when I just need a good scare I get out my Criterion copy of this film and play it, or invite someone over who's not seen and try to gauge their reaction. Most usually don't want to go home if it is already dark out!

 

Whew! It creeps me out just thinking about those scenes. Its denouement is great too, and the film has been said to be influential on David Lynch and others like George Romero. But really, this film is a one of a kind and not to be duplicated, no matter how much money could be involved. Just a little bit of perfection in black and white, which is like a bad dream. Any other fans here?

I'm a fan. I had to make myself sit through the ending of this one because it frightened me so much. But I've seen it a few times since then and, well... It still scares the you know what out of me!

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THE HAUNTING is one of those films that I refer to as a "Magic Eye Picture."

 

Everyone looks at this thing and sees a dolphin dancing on a sunset (ie somethign glorious);  but hard as I squint and cross my eyes, I just can't.

 

It bores me, nothing happens, and I don't like it.

 

(Also: I read the book and all three of the above apply to it as well.)

 

phhhhffffffffffffthbbbbt.....

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THE HAUNTING is one of those films that I refer to as a "Magic Eye Picture."

 

Everyone looks at this thing and sees a dolphin dancing on a sunset (ie somethign glorious);  but hard as I squint and cross my eyes, I just can't.

 

It bores me, nothing happens, and I don't like it.

 

(Also: I read the book and all three of the above apply to it as well.)

 

phhhhffffffffffffthbbbbt.....

 

Oh, Lorna, Lorna, Lorna. .....Nothing happens? Really? What about that child sighing and crying in the middle of the night, their sobs seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere? What about that horrible terrifying pounding, again and again, shaking the walls and Julie Harris' sanity? If nothing else, what about the Claire Bloom character, who clearly is attracted to Julie Harris' ? That was pretty unusual for a studio made film from 1963, wasn't it? huh?

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