Tuesday, October 06, 2009
cinema obscura: Lewis Gilbert's "Haunted" (1995)
Lewis Gilbert's "Haunted" from 1995 is one of those films with a high-profile pedigree which would have guaranteed it a high-profile release. Seemingly. With a tony cast including Aidan Quinn, Kate Beckinsale, Anthony Andrews, Anna Massey, Linda Bassett, Liz Smith, Alex Lowe and the late John Gielgud in one of his last film roles and a ghost-story plotline, "Haunted" would have had some kind of visibility had a major studio handled it. While Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope was involved in its production, the movie was released by October Films - or supposed to be. It played theatrically in England but went straight to video here.
Set in the English countryside of Edbrook in the early 1900s, "Haunted" casts Quinn as a professor of psychology and defiant skeptic who arrives from America to teach at the University of Camberley. An author of books debunking most psychic phenomena, Quinn is solicited by Massey who, as an elderly nanny, is convinced that she is seeing ghosts in the house where she raised Andrews, Lowe and Beckinsale, who becomes romantically involved with Quinn. Gilbert, who directed several Bond films as well as "Alfie," "The Adventurers" and Educating Rita," imbues "Haunted" with atmospheric touches that lend it both credibility and companionablity.