FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE (1973)




FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE video artwork



PETER CUSHING.....Proprietor of Temptations Ltd.
DONALD PLEASENCE.....Jim Underwood
DAVID WARNER.....Edward Charlton
IAN BANNEN.....Christopher Lowe
DIANA DORS.....Mabel Lowe
IAN CARMICHAEL.....Reginald "Reggie" Warren
MARGARET LEIGHTON.....Madame Orloff
ANGELA PLEASENCE.....Emily Underwood

Directed by KEVIN CONNOR
Written by ROBIN CLARKE and RAYMOND CHRISTODOULOU
Produced by MAX J. ROSENBERG and MILTON SUBOTSKY


REVIEW BY RICHARD EDER



In the decrepit antiques shop that links the four episodes of From Beyond the Grave the rule is: count your change carefully. Not because the cadaverous proprietor, a man with all kinds of spooky and disagreeable resources at his command, will cheat. But dreadful things happen to customers who try to cheat him. The movie, which opened yesterday at neighborhood theaters, demonstrates them.

John Collier used to write lovely short stories about this kind of thing, drawing odd and ironic genies out of his old bottles. The episodes in Grave, based on stories by R. Chetwyn-Hayes, are crude and obvious. Each punch is telegraphed, each twist is a stranglehold. They overcompensate with blood for their lack of deftness. And the blood is rotten quality: dark, transparent stuff.

However, the producers have hired some distinguished and underworked British actors for several of the parts. In spite of the blood, none of the episodes goes much below a certain harmless tedium. And in one or two cases, the actors bring in a real if momentary liveliness.

By far the best is The Elemental, and the reason is the late Margaret Leighton. She is a medium brought in to exorcise a nasty spirit that has embedded itself in the stuffy left shoulder of a businessman, played by Ian Carmichael.

In yellow wig and dark glasses, Miss Leighton has---and bestows---a hilarious time wrestling the spirit all over a prim and proper Surrey cottage, filling the air with feathers, smashed crockery and outraged exclamations.

In An Act of Kindness, Ian Bannen has some good moments as a long-suffering husband getting rid of his shrewish wife. As the wife, Diana Dors is also fine. I particularly liked her---after her husband has stormed from the dinner table---uprighting the upset sauce bottle and continuing to chew.

The other two episodes, The Gate Crasher and The Door are pure stodge. If people still traveled much by railroad, Grave might be something to see between trains.



From the March 4, 1976 edition of THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Review © 1976 THE NEW YORK TIMES. All Rights Reserved.

Video artwork © 1986 WARNER BROS. HOME VIDEO. All Rights Reserved.

Title and logo designed by Karen Rappaport




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