Tuesday, 6 October 2015
DVD Review:The Green Man BBC TV Series Albert Finney ( Simply Media)
Based on the 1969 novel by Kingsley Amis, this television mini series was aired by BBC2 on 28th October 1990. Just im time for Halloween.
Maurice Allington (Albert Finney) is the 53 year old proprietor of The Green Man; a guest house set in the picturesque county of Cambridgeshire. Allington turns out to be a serial seducer with a taste for wooing female guests, paying little attention to his second wife Joyce, played by the smouldering Linda Marlowe.
Allington - who does not believe in an after life - is clearly making it up as he goes along, and puts his sighting of a mysterious red haired lady on the stairs down to a mixture of hallucinations and his almost permanently drunken state.
When his father (Michael Hordern) dies of a stroke at the dinner table, it's clear cause of death was instigated by a vision of something very frightening that is linked to the tale of a 17th century cleric named Underhill.
Dr. Underhill (Michael Culver) dabbled in the occult, with the murder of his wife and an appalling sexual preference for very young girls following him to the grave and beyond.
Now Underhill has returned, promising Allington that "I will show you the shape of you."
"The Green Man" is really a triumvirate: part morality tale, sexual farce and very scary story with some achingly funny moments, bedroom and outdoors high jinx, and spine chilling scenes that sometimes recall the fiction of M.R. James and the nightmarish tree attack from "The Evil Dead."
Allington - beautifully played by Finney when he was 54 and close to his character's age - is a loveable rogue at times, gaining the support of a trio who number his daughter-in-law Lucy (Josie Lawrence); Diana (Sarah Berger), his latest sexual conquest and the local vicar Sonnenschein (Nickolas Grace) who is required to get into exorcist character as Underhill tightens his grip.
It's certainly a busy, lively little number, including a proposed threesome between Maurice, Joyce and Diana; a trip to a fictitious Cambridge college for some Jamesian research on the depraved Doctor; an enormously unsettling grave robbing scene and a personal appearance from God.
The special effects are excellent, combining gore with subtle, memorably spooky imagery, driven by Tim Souster's score and the performances are straight down the line delightful.
There's also a healthy split of opinion on the subject of life after death. Allington's first wife was kncoked down by a car, and it's fascinating to watch his initial scepticism eventually disappear as he relaises his own physical and mental problems are but the tip of the iceberg.
"The Green Man" was honoured at the 1991 Bafta awards, with Tim Souster winning for Best Original Television Music, and Finney received a nomination for Best Actor: small wonder that director Elijah Moshinsky didn't receive a nod for his considerable skills behind the camera.
This TV series comprises of three epsiodes, each running around the 49 minute mark, and has extended its popularity to other countries including the United States.
It's good to see this entertaining series resurrected on DVD by Simply Media.
Image quality is first-rate and the dialogue and soundtrack crystal clear.
Each episode has been given 6 chapter stops, and an English subtitle option is also provided.
A superior slice of television, guaranteed to give you goose bumps during those long Winter evenings.
Oh, do watch out for cameos from Clement Freud and Bernard Levin!