The Whisperers is a 1967 British drama film directed by Bryan Forbes and starring Edith Evans. It is based on the 1961 novel by Robert Nicolson. Star Edith Evans received many honours for her leading performance, including her third Oscar nomination.
|Directed by||Bryan Forbes|
|Written by||Robert Nicolson|
|Based on||The Whisperers|
by Robert Nicholson
|Produced by||Michael Laughlin|
|Edited by||Anthony Harvey|
|Music by||John Barry|
|Color process||Black and white|
Lopert Pictures Corporation
|Distributed by||United Artists|
Mrs Margaret Ross, an impoverished, elderly, eccentric woman, is living in a ground floor flat, in an unnamed town in northern England. Aged 76, she is dependent on National Assistance from the British government. She is visited by her criminal son, who hides a package containing a large sum of money in her unused spare room. The son confesses to the police of his robbery, then is sent to jail. Meanwhile, Mrs Ross finds the money. Thinking the money is a windfall intended for her, Mrs Ross makes elaborate plans. She casually confides to a stranger, who befriends her in order to ply her with spirits, kidnap her, then rob her of the stolen money. Rendered drunk and abandoned to the elements by her captors, Mrs Ross contracts pneumonia. She is found by neighbours, then after almost dying, recovers in a hospital. It is the first time anyone has cared for her in years. Doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, and social workers all focus on her case. An agent at the National Assistance bureau traces down her husband, Archie (who deserted her decades ago). Motivated by the agent, who threatens him with legal pressure, informing him of his legal responsibility to her, the husband is strongly encouraged to move back in with her, which he does. Soon, he becomes involved with gamblers, then steals their money at a chance opportunity, which forces him to flee, so he deserts her again. Having been on the verge of a return to functional living, Mrs Ross resumes her lonely status as an isolated person, who talks to the walls. This movie depicts these events as occurring during the year 1966, the year that British National Assistance was replaced by Supplementary Benefit.
- Edith Evans – Mrs Ross
- Eric Portman – Archie Ross
- Nanette Newman – Girl Upstairs
- Harry Baird – Man Upstairs
- Jack Austin – Police Sergeant
- Gerald Sim – Mr Conrad
- Lionel Gamlin – Mr Conrad's Colleague
- Glen Farmer – 1st Redeemer
- Oliver MacGreevy – 2nd Redeemer
- Ronald Fraser – Charlie Ross
- Kenneth Griffith – Mr Weaver
- Avis Bunnage – Mrs Noonan
- John Orchard – Grogan
- Peter Thompson – Publican
- Sarah Forbes – Mrs Ross when young
- Kaplan Kaye – Jimmie Noonan
- Penny Spencer – Mavis Noonan
- Robin Bailey – Psychiatrist
- Leonard Rossiter – Assistance Board Officer
- Margaret Tyzack – Hospital Almoner
- Frank Singuineau – Doctor
- Michael Robbins – Mr Noonan
Forbes was approached by two American producers, Ronald Shedlo and Michael Laughlin, to adapt the novel. He felt it could be a vehicle for Edith Evans. Forbes wrote the script in two weeks. He said it was the one film in his career where he had complete creative control.
Filming location edit
Although the fictional setting of the film is not named, it was mainly shot on location in the Lancashire town of Oldham, a once-thriving textile centre near Manchester which by 1967 had fallen into decline.
Edith Evans was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, and won the BAFTA Award, the Silver Bear for Best Actress award at the 17th Berlin International Film Festival, the National Board of Review award, the New York Film Critics Circle award, and the Golden Globe Award all for Best Actress.
Home media edit
Announced by Kino Lorber Studio Classics on Facebook on 14 March 2019 that a new 2K scan would be coming soon.
- A.H. WEILER (31 July 1966). "Revolts Brewing in Britain". The New York Times. p. 83.
- Forbes, Bryan (1977). Dame Edith Evans, Ned's girl. p. 256-258. ISBN 9780316288750.
- Forbes, Bryan (1993). A Divided Life. p. 69. ISBN 9780749308841.
- "Berlinale 1967: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
- "Kino Lorber Studio Classics". Archived from the original on 26 February 2022 – via Facebook.