Sunday, 18 November 2012

M. R. James' Mr Humphrey's and his Inheritance...

One of the few existent ITV adapations of one of James's works, this was made for Yorkshire Television's schools' music programme, Music Scene, in 1976. It's currently available as an 'extra' on the DVD of Casting the Runes*, a disappointing 1979 adaptation of James' story for ITV, directed by Lawrrence Gordon Clark, who was responsible for the BBC's excellent Ghost Stories for Christmas in the 1970s.  Mr Humphreys and his Inheritance has the visual feel of the BBC works, but its prime aim was to demonstrate the use of non-diegetic music on screen, something those BBC stories used in minimalist but much more effective fashion. The atmospheric tension and the central performances also fall short of those BBC programmes and it would seem this version posted on Youtube has been cut as the running time is usually given as 20 minutes; nevertheless, it's an interesting adaptation of one of James' lesser tales.

 The full text of the story is here, if you're too cheap to buy one of the many James' collections readily available:

For those who want to dig deeper, an analysis of the story can be found here:

* The infinitely better film version, Night of the Demon (1957) is discussed here:

1 comment:

  1. The narrator is a pale immitation of Oliver Postgate. Would have been much better with him narrating.