Neither the Sea Nor the Sand
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I don't know how Redemption are treating the release in the way of extras, but at least they have managed to avoid putting a naked glamour model of the front cover for once. Its obscure status is probably because it's not particularly attention grabbing and moves at a very slow crawl for most of it's running time. Which is a pity because if you allow yourself to go with the very leisurely pace, it's actually an effective little story. It also has a great, mournful theme song that could only have been concocted in the 1970's!
Filmed outdoors in lots of cold and grey coastal locations, the film is really a bleak love story and probably bored a lot of people to death at the time, although it does sustain an effective mood. The chilly outdoor photography perfectly suits the remoteness and distance of the bizarre happenings from normal life, but be aware that the story is very slight and the material is handled in such an understated way that it feels more like a TV drama production than a feature film. However, I like it very much. Competently made and with good performances, it's a lot better than some of the other trash that passes for "cult" fan viewing.
Anna (Susan Hampshire) is on vacation in Jersey when she runs into Hugh (Michael Petrovitch), a dark-eyed native and the last of the Dabernon line along with his antisocial brother George (Frank Finlay). Anna and Hugh fall in love after a series of walks through rainy streets and windswept ruins, and Anna is all set to marry Hugh in Scotland and make a new life with him. It's too bad that right after that Hugh drowns in a tidal flat, and Anna is so distraught that she simply refuses to accept his death. It must have worked because Hugh appears, seemingly alive but much quieter, emotionally empty and physically cold. When Anna wants to talk with him, Hugh just stares, and after a few days it becomes apparent that Hugh is decomposing despite walking around. When George becomes so suspicious and afraid that he suggests that Anna takes spiritual steps to free Hugh's spirit from his rotting body things go South fast, and Anna is pushed towards a decision that will define her life.
There's a lot that could have been worked with here - the transience of "true" love, the strange relationship between the brothers, the landscape and history of Jersey, the fact that Hugh is the last of his line and could be kept on Earth by an ancestral pull to keep his family name alive, the hairy details of living decay - and maybe the novel this film is based on went into one or more of those things. Unfortunately the novel's author, Gordon Honeycombe, wrote the screenplay himself, so it's kind of hard to point the finger too many other places.Read more ›
The settings are striking and the music score effective but it's a slow affair and one is baffled as to what market the film-makers were aiming for.
It still remains worth watching however if only for its being such a rare commodity in combining monster movie and love story.
I picked this up on a whim having no idea what I was getting into. The cover of the movie doesn't indicate its goings-on and the title is vague, yet I considered the brief synopsis and charged ahead with my usual apprehensions. I didn't expect much, but was pleasantly rewarded with what I believe to be a genuinely unique experience in undead cinema.
To start with, I wasn't particularly impressed with the cinematography, but felt that an adequate job was done considering the need to keep the protagonist's activities intimate and sheltered despite the interactions of the scripted outsiders. This is a softly filmed work indicative of the romance genre, but with obvious exceptions. There's a dead guy walking around.
Susan Hampshire carries a class and style in this piece that entranced me; she was both decidedly appealing and tragic. I wasn't as impressed with Michael Petrovitch, (Hugh), however, as he took on the wooden characteristics of the undead before actually becoming so. I think the only difference between his two states was his abilities to sprint and quote poetry ante mortem.
I do recommend grabbing this film if you're considering doing so.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This strange film is based on a book by a former British television newsreader and is a combination of love story and ghost story. Read morePublished on December 9, 2013 by Bartok Kinski
...is the perfect phrase to describe this very obscure but absolutely fascinating British movie that predates the original WICKER MAN and Bob Clark's celebrated cult offering... Read morePublished on March 19, 2011 by Chip Kaufmann
Story about a love that transcends death.
Beautfully filmed. (The picture quality was fine on my copy).
Saw it on tv once and never forgot it. Read more
I saw this movie 35 years ago when I was a teenager, and the story stuck with me all my life - it was so haunting. I was thrilled to find that it finally has been released on DVD. Read morePublished on June 5, 2009 by bterrier