WHISTLE AND I'LL COME TO YOU (2010 UK) D: ANDY DE EMMONY W: NEIL CROSS P: CLAIRE ARMSPACH
This is the BBC's second attempt at adapting M.R. James' short story as a Ghost Story For Christmas (the 1968 version was a classic). Cross felt the need to expand upon the original text, and made several additions and changes. John Hurt stars as a retired astronomer who dotes upon his senile wife (Gemma Jones), whom he's forced to put in the care of a home. Trying to relax at a small seaside hotel (where they went in their youth) for a few days, he discovers an old ring (not a whistle) with an inscription at the beach, and seems to be visited by an apparition. I suppose it is admirable that they attempted something different rather than trying to top the '68 version (that would have been a futile task), and Hurt is very good (and there is the occasional effective scene). But this felt much less like an M.R. James spooker, taking the pride-of-intellect angle more in the direction of Samuel Beckett's existentialist angst. It satisfies neither camp. With Lesley Sharp and Sophie Thompson.

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