Saturday, March 20, 2021

OMNIBUS - "Whistle And I'll Come To You" (1968)

This week's Saturday Night Special was an interpretation of a short story by classic ghost story author M.R. James titled "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad"
"Omnibus" was a British TV show that was on the air from 1967 to 2003, that specialized in presenting documentaries with an emphasis on music and the arts. Over the years they have had everybody on the show from Pink Floyd, Debbie Harry, and Prince, to Orson Welles, Ray Bradbury, and Ken Russell. Tonight's program is an odd one, and is an actual fictional ghost story written by M. R. James, and not a documentary, something they rarely did. I guess they were just trying to spotlight his work!
"Whistle And I'll Come" is  almost a one man show, and stars Michael (Theater Of Blood) Hordern as that one man, an intellectual olde codger named Professor Parkins. The story was redone in 2010 as a TV movie starring John Hurt.
The Professor is taking a few days off and staying at this rustic inn in Norfolk in The Bristish Isles!

Since this was an educational show, we get to watch two British birds make a bed in real time.

That's George (Horror Of Dracula) Woodbridge as the proprietor strolling down the aisle to meet his new guest. George has a muttering, almost undecipherable style, right out of the Stanley Unwin school of acting.

"Whistle And I'll Come" and the main character Professor Parkins are both odd, and a lot of the action either doesn't exist, is understated, or moves at a snail's pace. The run time is only 42 minutes, and there are at least five 'eating' scenes where basically nothing happens. You'll be on the edge of your seat waiting for the next bite, or something to break loose, but this is not that kind of story.

Seemingly, most people come to this area to play golf, but the Professor is not one of them. He just wants to go for long walks on the beach, and to explore the local cemetery.

The Professor finds a grave in the most peculiar place, right on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean!

Looking closer, the Professor finds an object that turns out to be an olde whistle. Naturally he retrieves it, unnaturally, he shouldn't have!

Now it appears someone or some thing is following him, but it never gets any closer than this.

Back in his room, the Professor cleans up the whistle, finds an inscription on it, and gives it a little toot!

Now it's time for another meal, and some very rambling conversation with another one of the guests.

The Professor then goes on another walk, stops and eats a sandwich, drinks a pint, and does a little reading. You can only imagine how exciting it is to watch a person read.

Slowly, and I mean slowly, things start to happen that make the Professor uncomfortable, and he's starting to have problems sleeping.

Then the dreams start up!

And linger on way past waking!

There is a very odd occurrence; a bed with a bunch of rumpled sheets appears in the Professor's room, and neither he nor the staff seem to have any knowledge of how it got there.

Finally, one night an apparition appears, and moves around in the sheets of the strange bed, and scares the living crap out of the Professor.

The Professor is emotionally scarred by the whole situation, and will never be the same man again, and that's it. That's how real ghost stories work!

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