The Witches (The Devil's Own) Reviews
Has many similarities to The Wicker Man, which would be released six years later, but has none of the mystery or power of that film.
This is a pretty decent, for the first hour or so, but yet little known Hammer film. Joan Fontaine is drawn into the sinister goings on of a rural town or is it just a relapse of her illness and what happened to her in Africa? As i say the first hour is really good, builds tension well, good characters and I thought this may be a forgotten Hammer classic but its let down by a really lame last twenty minutes or so. I just wasn't convinced by the motives and the eventual denouncement, the very end is almost, although not quite as bad as the end of To The Devil A Daughter. A shame as it was building to something more interesting.
Passed the time well enough but not one I plan to revisit.
Well, I never knew a flock of sheep could be so alarming! Nervy teacher saves English village from witchcraft menace (yeah, same old story, y'know). Was this film an (unacknowledged) inspiration for The Wicker Man? There are a few similarities, certainly (although this is in no way the same class (if you'll forgive the continuing 'education' motif of the term ...Christ, there I go again!)).
Joan Fontaine sports rather mad hair in this (approaching 'Gene Wilder' status) ...and yet I still found her a bit foxy, in a schoolmarmish kind of way (maybe I should get out more). She and Leonard Rossiter (quite suave as the village doctor - no, really) are undoubtedly the best thing about the film ...although there is some pretty impressive cat-acting on display, too! (Obviously, the sheep go without saying.)
The ritual scene at the end of the film looks a little too drama-class 'performance workshop' to be either convincing OR chilling (oooh! scary dancing!). Spoils the film, really. Shame. Everything preceding it is rather great, however.
Screenplay by Nigel 'Quatermass' Kneale. Featuring an adolescent Martin Stephens (yes, the lead kid in Village Of The Damned).