Ladies in Waiting: “Return to Glennascaul” (1953)

glennascaul3WARNING: The following review contains plot revealing spoilers, and so it is advised that you first watch the film (available to view at: before proceeding further. It is a mere twenty three minutes in length and well worth the journey.

    The Irish love their ghosts and that affection for the mysteriously spectral is in evidence in Hilton Edwards’ slight but satisfying short film “Return to Glennascaul”, sometimes known as “Orson Welles’ Ghost Story” referring to the actor/director who was filming “Othello” on the Emerald Isle and agreed to appear in and act as the titular host and narrator of the film’s flashback framing device. Its an old-fashioned tale of the supernatural in the very best sense of the term- not a horror film by any stretch of the imagination -unfolding with a gentility of a storied recollection in front of a wintery fireplace armed with a warm mug of cocoa. The Welles connection is a comfortable fit, as the story is more than slightly reminiscent of Lucille Fletcher’s “The Hitch Hiker” which made its radio premiere on the Orson Welles Show in 1941, a play in which he would perform in three additional broadcasts.

    The story is structured as a haunted remembrance, the film itself begins rather ostentatiously with an extended introduction of Orson Welles which not only is a blatant commercial for his film production of “Othello”, but suspiciously bears the visual signatures of Welles the director whose influence (if not outright commandeering of the camera) is readily apparent: seldom, if ever, has there been so disproportionate an introduction to a film’s most minor participant, fully befitting an exercise in ego unneeded in such a modestly told tale, especially when the remainder of the film’s greatest asset is its elegant but innocent simplicity: a rather lovely throwback to a time when it was possible to be moved by supernatural elements without the shameless manipulation of THX enhanced volume levels and rapid shock cuts which has become de rigueur to elicit a cattle prod reaction from the audience: before the fantastique became an endurance test rather than a natural outlet for cathartic emotional response.

  To read the complete review, click the following link to:

About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in 1950's movies, Film, Film Reviews, ghosts, Ireland, movie reviews, Movies, Mystery, Orson Welles, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

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