I'm at a screening of "The Woman in Black" (which is fabulous, by the way) and a friend of mine reminds me of the 1989 ITV Network TV movie version of the novel. I was so excited by the new adaptation that I rushed home to find out any information I could on the ITV one. After much searching, I tracked it down and am happy to report that it can still be found on DVD for anyone interested.
Herbert Wise ("Inspector Morse") directed this version of Susan Hill's novel "The Woman in Black." "Quatermass" creator Nigel Kneale wrote the screenplay for the movie. It starred Adrian Rawlins (the "Harry Potter" movies), Bernard Hepton ("Secret Army"), and Pauline Moran ("Agatha Christie's Poirot"). The movie was nominated for four BAFTA TV Awards in the categories of Best Design, Best Film Sound, Best Make Up, and Best Original Television Music.
Most critics loved the 1989 version of "The Woman in Black." Dan Hunter and Jason Knowles of The Terror Trapp called it "A stunning example of terror firmly founded on solid performances, carefully constructed atmosphere and chilling imagery." Final Girl's Stacie Ponder reported, "This is one scary movie, definitely worth searching out."
Michael Frightie of Upcoming Horror Movies stated, "It's got a dark eerie mood to it ... This flick proves that you don't necessarily need a big budget to give big scares ... While watching the movie I was hoping it wouldn't have a crappy end like most horror flicks, and I was pleased to find that it didn't."
Viewers who bought the movie can't say enough good things about it. Jeffrey L. said, "An obscure, made for television British picture that plays like an old time ghost story replete with scary sound effects, malevolent apparitions, and a chilling back story." Olve A. commented, "It is [a] film which scared me the most. The film is actually very slow paced. But you'll be on the edge of your seat. This is clever filmmaking." Felicitaz F. declared, "I'm a pretty tough and cynical horror movie fan, but at one point in this drama, I literally covered my face when I first saw it, I was so shocked."
A few customers came away disappointed. Jay D. complained, "The movie is very poorly done -- you can tell it was filmed for television … In particular, the direction and screenplay adaptation are very poor." Kristin M. said, "I actually spent the excessive amount of money to purchase this DVD thinking it would be worth it ... This was a low budget campy movie with B-C rated acting at best."
One technical complaint emerged, as noted by consumer Jeffrey L.: "The transfer quality on the DVD is mediocre, with its often jiggling and color soft picture. Despite these small difficulties, 'The Woman in Black' succeeds in presenting the viewer with a classic ghost story that is frequently the equivalent of pouring a bucket of icy water on your head."
The 1989 version of "The Woman in Black" is currently out of print but a few are available. However, you'll need some deep pockets and a real yearning to see it. DVDs of the movie cost anywhere from $120.00 used to $170.00 new. If you're really desperate to see it, you can get a VHS copy used for $49.99 or new for $99.95. It runs 100 minutes and was released through Bfs Entertainment.
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Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.
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