Séance on a Wet Afternoon
Kim Stanley, Richard Attenborough, Judith Donner, Patrick Magee,
Even with a new generation of directors, there would always be the English psychological thriller lorded (or ladied) over by dotty women with strange powers. In Séance on a Wet Afternoon, the marvelous, too-little-known Kim Stanley is Myra, a medium with a message: to bring attention to her “gift,” she and her beleaguered mate Billy (Richard Attenborough, who also produced the film) kidnap a child. The real ransom is recognition, no harm done—that is, until Myra gets the notion that the child might play a more permanent role in the family. The exciting scenes of abduction and ransom payment, using hidden cameras in the subways, and the total mystery of this couple in their shabby suburban home where the aura of domination subsumes Billy’s inherent compassion, refer an improbable plot to our suspension of disbelief. Is it any wonder that the French word for film screening is “séance”?