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Just another quaint English village


I have unilaterally declared this our new Hallowe’en tradition. It is a 1966 Hammer Film called the Witches starring Joan Fontaine. It is very silly.

Joan Fontaine. Just look at her. I’ve often wondered if there was something wrong with that eyebrow of hers that made it do that trademark thing.

Says the top commenter on the IMDB listing:

In her autobiography, Miss Joan Fontaine, who had acquired the film rights to the novel years before, complains at length about the “primitive” working conditions at Hammer studios, the small size of her dressing room, the awful food and the unprofessional British actors she had to lower herself in working with. We all know that the real bee in her bonnet was that a movie she had basically designed as a vehicle for HER talents ended up being taken over by Miss Kay Walsh, a superb dancer and talented actress who had had an extensive career in films and theatre (check out her IMDB listing–you’ll be impressed). Luckily Fontaine was (to her credit) too much of a pro herself to let her dissatisfaction show on screen.

Well, I don’t know about that. IMDB also says it was her last film. She died in 2013, so she had a helluva long retirement.

The village scenes were shot in Hambleden in Buckinghamshire, but the action supposedly takes place in Sussex and the inevitable stately home was a place called Parham House. It’s now closed for the season, so I’m making this blog entry to remind myself we should go visit when it reopens in the Spring.

That’s right; I’m using you guys as an appointment diary.


Comment from mojo
Time: November 4, 2015, 10:48 pm

I didn’t know that the aristos burned down or blowed up lots of their stately homes in the fifties, when they were a huge money drain, having been shorn of their bevies of supporting peasants. Fancy that.

Glad they didn’t get them all.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 4, 2015, 11:49 pm

I have never seen a John Lennon voodoo doll before.

Comment from dissent555
Time: November 5, 2015, 12:42 am

“I have never seen a John Lennon voodoo doll before.”

To think we might have been spared from the execrable tripe of “Imagine”. And Yoko. History is made of such stuff.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: November 5, 2015, 12:44 am

There, I put it in my Outlook calendar to remind you to go visit on April 1, 2016 :+)

I just got a load of computer parts in for my new build…hopefully do it this weekend :+)

Comment from Nina
Time: November 5, 2015, 2:04 am

Oh, no, Stoaty, I can’t keep my own appointments straight, let alone yours. Good thing Moto has your back on this one!


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 5, 2015, 11:39 am

It was a shitty, horribe, terrible thing, mojo. The tax man destroyed more beautiful ancient homes than Hitler did.

Or as many. I don’t know the exacts.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: November 5, 2015, 3:42 pm

Watched the movie. Fontaine was so stiff in it. I thought it may be due to age but she was only 50 or less. The priestess headdress was hawt! Antlers with flames!

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: November 5, 2015, 3:53 pm

Nigel Kneale, the author of the screenplay, had a neat ability to work scary stuff into his scripts. I still recall that Quatermass movie, Five Million Years to Earth. (“Gentlemen . . . we are the Martians!”) And according to IMDb, he adapted one of Cornwell’s “Sharpe” Napoleonic War stories as well.

Oh, well, any writer can have an off day. Was the dialogue silly, or was it the plot, or was it the performances?

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