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THE WOMAN IN BLACK

The Woman in Black (1989 film)

Cover to the 1989 made for TV film

THE WOMAN IN BLACK-United Kingdom-Canada-Sweden-2012

Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps

 

Ciaran Hinds as Daily

 

Janet McTeer (w/Daniel Radcliff) as Mrs. Daily

 
 
Directed by James Watkins
 
Screenplay by Jane Goldman
 
Based on the novel by Susan Hill
 

    Alright, now that I have my rant against the chronically rude off my chest, I want to give you my actual review of The Woman in Black. As I said before, I had my doubts about the film. These doubts were aimed mainly at Daniel Radcliffe and his ability (or not) to step away from Harry Potter once and for all. In order to play the role of Arthur Kipps successfully, there could be no trace whatsoever of a certain young wizard from Hogwarts Academy. It’s not just the success of Radcliffe, but the success of the film that lies on his shoulders and how well he portrays Kipps.

    The Woman in Black was a novel written by Susan Hill and published in 1983. It was converted into a play in 1987 and in June 29th, 2011 it celebrated its 9000th performance at London’s West End. The book then became a made-for-television film in 1983 and starred Adrian Rawlins in the role of Arthur Kidd; otherwise known as Kipps in the novel and the 2012 film. It’s all on Wikipedia if you want to take the time to look it up.

    The film is about a young lawyer, played by Radcliffe, who lives with his young son and his nanny. He is still grieving over the death of his wife at childbirth and his grief is beginning to affect his life and his work performance. This doesn’t set with his employers and he is given one last chance at redemption before being shown the door. He is sent to handle the affairs of a recently deceased client, Alice Drablow, and of her estate, Eel Marsh. It is there that Kipps finds himself face to face with the woman in black, a vengeful and scorned spirit that preys on the children of the village; manipulating them into taking their own lives in sudden and violent ways. Kipps soon finds himself in a race against time against this dark specter as he attempts to solve the mystery of her scorn.

    So, how does Radcliffe fare? To be honest, he does a fine job in the role of Kipps. I detected no trace of Potter anywhere in the film. Radcliffe has matured into a fine young actor; as long as he keeps his head on straight he has a bright future ahead of him.

The Woman in Black is a frightening ghost story that foregoes gore and cheap effects for genuine chills, an engaging story and able acting and directing. The film is released by the recently resurrected Hammer Films and comes closest to the haunting production values featured during the company’s hey-day in the mid 1950′s to the late 1970′s. All told, I believe both Count Dracula and Albus Dumbledore would have both been proud.

TRIVIA
 
Mark Gatiss was asked to write the screenplay.
 
Adrian Rawlins –who played Daniel Radcliffe’s father in the Harry Potter series– played the same character in the 1989 version as Radcliffe plays in this film.
 
The boy who plays Daniel Radcliffe’s son is his real godson, a casting idea made by Radcliffe himself served to help him establish an authentic relationship between father and son.
 
½
 
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THE WOMAN IN BLACK

THE WOMAN IN BLACK-United Kingdom-Canada-Sweden-2012

Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps

Ciaran Hind

Janet McTeer (w/Daniel Radcliff) as Mrs. Daily

Directed by James Watkins
Screenplay by Jane Goldman
Based on the novel by Susan Hill

I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. I had my doubts about this film. Actually, more to the point, I had doubts about Daniel Radcliffe and how he was going to fare in the world away from Hogwarts. I can now honestly say that my doubts were completely unfounded. Radcliffe does a fine job in this effectively frightening film about a vengeful spirit who manipulates the children of a local village into taking their own lives in sudden and violent ways. Radcliffe is the lawyer sent to the estate of Eel Marsh to handle the affairs of its recently deceased owner, Alice Drablow.  The film foregoes gore for genuine frights that had many people jumping in their seats at various times during the movie.

But that’s really all I can tell you about the film. There are two reasons for this. The first being that I don’t want to give away important plot points of the movie.  The second being that my concentration was interrupted several times by a quartet of teenage girls who rudely ran up and down the stairs of the theater during various times during the course of the film. First down and then out, returning a few minutes later to their seats where they would talk and giggle amongst themselves.

Would someone please tell me what is the point of going to a theater when you have no intention of watching the movie? I bet that if I had stopped these girls after the movie was over and asked them to tell me what the film was about their mouths would have been opening and closing like a dying fish gasping for that final breath. They had no idea what the film was about. Thanks to them I barely know what it’s about. Oh and while I’m on this rant don’t let me forget about the moron who was on his cellphone sending texts throughout the movie. My wife could feel me bristling and would squeeze my hand to calm me down.

So, I pose a few questions to you, my faithful readers:

1. Where were the parents of the girls? Oh wait; I’ll answer that for you. They were at home enjoying a peaceful day with the little brats out of their hair. Send them to the movies to aggravate someone else, oh hell yeah!

2. What is so all fire important that you have to turn on your brightly lit cell phone in a dark theater and disturb the people around you that actually came to enjoy the film?

3. Where were the theater attendants during all this? Is it not their job to assure that our movie-going experience is a peaceful one? I pay good money for the right to watch a movie in a theater in peace.

One more thing, if there are those of you who disagree with me and that you think that because these chronically rude people have the right to act this way in a movie theater, all I can say is that you are no friend of mine.

Alright, I’m done ranting. I’m thinking of moving to Texas. They have the Alamo Drafthouse there. No talking, no texts or your ass is out the door. God Bless’em is all I can say.

TRIVIA

The boy who plays Daniel Radcliffe’s son is his real godson, a casting idea made by Radcliffe himself served to help him establish an authentic relationship between father and son.
Mark Gatiss was asked to write the screenplay.
Adrian Rawlins –who played Daniel Radcliffe’s father in the Harry Potter series– played the same character in the 1989 version as Radcliffe plays in this film.
½
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