Tales That Witness Madness

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Tales That Witness Madness
Geschichten, die zum Wahnsinn führen Poster.jpg
Directed by Freddie Francis
Produced by Norman Priggen
Written by Jennifer Jayne (as Jay Fairbank)
Starring Donald Pleasence
Joan Collins
Kim Novak
Jack Hawkins
Music by Bernard Ebbinghouse
Cinematography Norman Warwick
Edited by Bernard Gribble
Production
  company
World Film Services
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) 31 October 1973
Running time 90 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Tales That Witness Madness is a 1973 British horror film produced by Norman Priggen, directed by veteran horror director Freddie Francis, and written by actress Jennifer Jayne.

It was one of several in a series of anthology films made during the 1960s and 1970s which included Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965), Torture Garden (1967), The House That Dripped Blood (1970), Asylum (1972), Tales from the Crypt (1972), The Vault of Horror (film) (1973), From Beyond the Grave (1973) and The Monster Club (1980). These portmanteau horror films were all produced by Amicus Productions. Tales That Witness Madness is sometimes mistaken for an Amicus production, however it was actually produced by World Film Services.[1]

Plot[edit]

In the Framing Story, a psychiatrist in a high tech modern mental asylum, Dr. Tremayne (Donald Pleasence), discusses a bold new psychiatric theory with colleague Dr. Nicholas (Jack Hawkins). Tremayne uses four patients who went insane - Paul, Timothy, Brian, and Auriol - to illustrate the theory, presenting each in turn to Nicholas:

In Mr. Tiger, Paul (Russell Lewis) is the sensitive and introverted young son of constantly bickering parents Sam (Donald Houston) and Fay Patterson (Georgia Brown). Amid the unhappy domestic situation, he befriends an "imaginary" tiger. Features David Wood as Paul's tutor Phillipe.

In Penny Farthing, Timothy (Peter McEnery) an antique store owner, stocks a strange portrait of "Uncle Albert" (Frank Forsyth) and a penny farthing bicycle. In a series of episodes, Uncle Albert compels Timothy to mount the bicycle, and he is transported to an earlier era where he observes the apparently mourning Beatrice (Suzy Kendall), who was young Albert's love interest. These travels place Timothy's girlfriend Ann (also Suzy Kendall) in peril. Features Neil Kennedy and Richard Connaught as the removal men.

In Mel, Brian Thompson (Michael Jayston) brings home an old dead tree, which he lovingly calls Mel, mounting it in his modern home as a bizarre piece of found object art. He increasingly shows unusual attention to Mel, angering his jealous wife Bella (Joan Collins).

In Luau literary agent Auriol Pageant (Kim Novak) lasciviously courts a new client Kimo (Michael Petrovich). However, he shows more interest in her beautiful young daughter Ginny (Mary Tamm). Auriol organises a sumptuous luau for him, as per the detailed instructions of Kimo's associate Keoki (Leon Lissek). However, it is actually a ceremony to assure Kimo's dying mother Malia (Zohra Sehgal) passage to "heaven" by appeasing a Hawaiian god, and a requirement is that he consume the flesh of a virgin: Ginny. Features Leslie Nunnerley as Vera.

In the Epilogue, Nicholas has Tremayne himself declared insane, apparently for believing the patients' bizarre accounts, but manifestations of the patients' histories materialize, and "Mr. Tiger" kills Nicholas.

Production[edit]

Filmed at Shepperton Studios on 35 mm with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. This was the last film of Frank Forsyth who appears as Uncle Albert. Jack Hawkins died shortly after his scenes were filmed. Hawkins had had his larynx removed in an operation in 1966 and here his voice was dubbed by Charles Gray in post-production. (Cavett Binion, All Movie Guide)[2] This was Hawkins' final film appearance.[3]

Kim Novak broke a four year hiatus from films with her appearance in this film. She replaced Rita Hayworth shortly after production started.[3]

Evaluation[edit]

The Encyclopedia of Horror says the film "avoids farce and develops a nicely deadpan style of humour which is ably sustained by the excellent cast in which only Novak appears unable to hit the right note."[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ed. Allan Bryce, Amicus: The Studio That Dripped Blood, Stray Cat Publishing, 2000 p 93
  2. ^ Allmovie
  3. ^ a b c Milne, Tom. Willemin, Paul. Hardy, Phil. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Horror, Octopus Books, 1986. ISBN 0-7064-2771-8 p 284

External links[edit]