The Shout (1979)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

An asylum director begins telling a visitor to a cricket game the story of one of his "better" patients, Crossley (Alan Bates) who is able to compete. Some time previously, Crossley accosted Anthony (John Hurt), a composer, just after church and was for some reason invited to dinner. Once at the composer's home, he tells the story of his unusual upbringing among Australian Aborigines, and of the awful and strange gifts this has left him with. Among them is the ability to bring about another's … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Horror
Directed By:
Written By: Robert Graves, Michael Austin, Jerzy Skolimowski
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 1, 1978



as Crossley

as Rachel Fielding

as Anthony Fielding

as Robert

as Inspector

as Medical Man
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Shout

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for The Shout

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

A gripping but elusive psychodrama based on a short story by Robert Graves.

Full Review… | January 20, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

July 5, 2005

Audience Reviews for The Shout


very odd but i couldn't stop watching it so that must count for something. stellar cast. alan bates terrorizes john hurt with aboriginal magic...or does he?

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Capturing a flavor of the decade prior (the 60's) this film is almost real to the point of surrealism, with a quirky story line brilliantly told through the eyes of a certifiable lunatic.

Shout takes the unusual stance at starting from the ending, though we certainly don't know it at the time. From there we wander the grounds of a mental institution and witness a game of cricket between the "guests" and the staff.

Scoring the game is newcomer Tim Curry (looking so very young!) and Alan Bates (who gives a truly haunting and commanding performace). Bates begins to tell a tale of a man (a young John Hurt) who is a guest at the asylum who has "lost his wife". From here the story unfolds, involving a married couple (Hurt and Susannah York) who take in a charismatic vagabond (Bates) who claims that he spent 18 years in the Australian outback with the aboriginies; learning, amongst other things, a shout that is deadly to all who hear it.

He also apparantly learned some other magic from the Shaman, such as the ability to bind someone's heart by casting a spell over an item belonging to that person. What then ensues is like a drug infused dream where all appears normal, but then slightly out of step - just as the cricket game appears normal, but is fraying at the edges since it involves lunatics.

The performances here are very good throughout, but the direction could have used a bit of tightening. There are some transcendant moments but others that seem trivial and unbelievable (odd considering that the entire premiss is pretty darned unbelievable).

In the end you get an interesting period type piece (and by that I mean looking at the film in the time it was produced, not a Jayne Austin drawing room piece), that shows a director taking big chances and swinging for the fences, but too often missing the mark.

I will say that Bates was riveting and the commanding presence that his charactor was supposed to portray. I can see a remake with Ian McShane.

paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

Either this film about a mystery man who moves in and, Rasputin-style, takes over the lives of a couple is too deep for me or just incredibly inane and pointless. Either way, I want my 90 minutes back. Alan Bates as the man is telling his story in flashback to Tim Curry (who had absolutely no reason to be here except as a sounding board for Bates) during a cricket match in a mental hospital. Looking back now, this makes me wonder whether any of this actually happened, or if it's in the mind of Bates, seeing as he's a patient in the hosptial. Anyway, the title refers to the "Terror Shout" -- a scream that Bates learned during 18 years living in the Australian Outback. This "Shout" can -- and does -- kill any creature that hears it. Why an entire film was based on something that only appears once in the film is beyond me. The only good thing about the film was a VERY young, very thin Jim Broadbent. He plays one of the mental patients who gets caught in the rain during the match and proceeds to strip off all his clothes down to his undies and yell and rub mud all over himself. He must have anticipated the response of the audience to this film. Not "fun" bad. Just bad.

Cindy I

Super Reviewer

The Shout Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Shout on our Movie forum!