Casting the Runes

Casting the Runes

1979 - United Kingdom

John Harrington runs across the fields, almost blind with terror. His dog, left behind, whimpering and cowering with fear, can only watch as the creature closes in on his master. Harrington runs for his life but instinct tells him that the creature is gaining on him and he trips, stumbles and falls. When they find him, grown men recoil in horror when they discover that something had broken almost every bone in his body...

A masterful, contemporary reworking of M.R. James' classic ghost story, Casting the Runes is adapted by BAFTA-nominated playwright Clive Exton and directed by long-time adapter of James' most chilling stories - Lawrence Gordon Clark. This play features an unsettling performance from Iain Cuthbertson as the malevolent Karswell and strong central performances from both Edward Petherbridge (as the unlucky Henry Harrington, for whom time is ticking away) and Jan Francis as television producer Prudence Dunning. 

Released commercially in 2007 by Network DVD containing Mr. Humphreys and His Inheritance: Possibly one of the rarest of the still-existing M.R. James adapations, this was made for the ITV Schools slot as a casebook example on how to use music in drama to evoke emotional response and A Pleasant Terror: The Life and Ghosts of M.R. James: A semi-dramatised documentary on the life and works of M.R. James, featuring contributions from Christopher Lee, Ruth Rendell, Jonathan Miller and James' biographer Michael Cox. 

Although ITV produced four black-and-white adaptations of James's ghost stories between 1966 and 1968, no surviving copies are known to exist and this 1979 version survives as an episode of the ITV Playhouse series.








Published on December 3rd, 2018. Network Online.

Read Next...

Minder

Dodgy dealings of a wheeler and dealer and his bodyguard for hire.

Also released in 1979

Benson TV series

This spin-off of the Susan Harris-created farce Soap sent the Tate family's insolent African-American butler Benson to the mansion of Jessica Tate's bumbling cousin, Governor James Gatling. In other words, Benson went from one dysfunctional family to another.

Also released in 1979

In Loving Memory

A widowed woman and her hapless nephew takes charge of her husband's funeral business.

Also released in 1979

The Omega Factor

Psychic investigators seek out the paranormal to get a better understanding of the human mind.

Also released in 1979

Danger UXB

Tense drama about a bomb disposal division of the Army in war torn London during the 1940s.

Also released in 1979

Dick Turpin

Turpin, cheated out of his wealth while on duty in Flanders, decides to regain his money using his own, not so lawful methods.

Also released in 1979