Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday's Film Adaption: Benighted by JB Priestley

'Priestley is one of the finest and most popular storytellers of the last hundred years.' - Dame Margaret Drabble

'Abundant life flows through J.B. Priestley's books. He was the last of his kind.' - Stan Barstow

'J.B. Priestley is one of our literary icons of the 20th century. And it is time that we all became re-acquainted with his genius.' - Dame Judi Dench

Philip and Margaret Waverton and their friend Roger Penderel are driving through the mountains of Wales when a torrential downpour washes away the road and forces them to seek shelter for the night. They take refuge in an ancient, crumbling mansion inhabited by the strange and sinister Femm family and their brutish servant Morgan. Determined to make the best of the circumstances, the benighted travellers drink, talk, and play games to pass the time while the storm rages outside. But as the night progresses and tensions rise, dangerous and unexpected secrets emerge. On the house's top floor are two locked doors; behind one of them lies the mysterious, unseen Sir Roderick Femm, and behind the other lurks an unspeakable terror. Which is more deadly: the apocalyptic storm outside the house or the unknown horrors that await within? And will any of them survive the night?

Benighted (1927), a classic 'old dark house' novel of psychological terror, was the second novel by J. B. Priestley (1894-1984), better known for his classics The Good Companions (1929), Angel Pavement (1930) and Bright Day (1946). The basis for James Whale's 1932 film The Old Dark House, Benighted returns to print for the first time in fifty years. This edition includes the unabridged text of the first British edition, a new introduction by Orrin Grey, and a reproduction of the rare jacket art of the 1927 Heinemann edition.

A storm strands travelers in a house full of dangerous eccentrics.

Release Date: October 30, 1932
Release Time: 71 minutes

Boris Karloff as Morgan(billed as Karloff)
Melvyn Douglas as Roger Penderel
Raymond Massey as Philip Waverton
Gloria Stuart as Margaret Waverton
Charles Laughton as Sir William Porterhouse
Lilian Bond as Gladys DuCane Perkins
Ernest Thesiger as Horace Femm
Eva Moore as Rebecca Femm
Brember Wills as Saul Femm

An eccentric millionaire invites a car salesman to visit his decaying family home.

Release Date: October 30, 1963
Release Time: 86 minutes

Tom Poston as Tom Penderel
Robert Morley as Roderick Femm
Janette Scott as Cecily Femm
Joyce Grenfell as Agatha Femm
Mervyn Johns as Potiphar Femm
Fenella Fielding as Morgana Femm
Peter Bull as Caspar/Jasper Femm
Danny Green as Morgan Femm
John Harvey as Club Receptionist
Amy Dalby as Gambler (uncredited)



Author Bio:
John Boynton Priestley, the son of a schoolmaster, was born in Bradford in September 1894, and after schooling he worked for a time in the local wool trade. Following the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, Priestley joined the British Army, and was sent to France --in 1915 taking part in the Battle of Loos. After being wounded in 1917 Priestley returned to England for six months; then, after going back to the Western Front he suffered the consequences of a German gas attack, and, treated at Rouen, he was declared unfit for active service and was transferred to the Entertainers Section of the British Army.

When Priestley left the army he studied at Cambridge University, where he completed a degree in Modern History and Political Science. Subsequently he found work as theatre reviewer with the Daily News, and also contributed to the Spectator, the Challenge and Nineteenth Century. His earliest books included The English Comic Characters (1925), The English Novel (1927), and English Humour (1928). His breakthrough came with the immensely popular novel The Good Companions, published in 1929, and Angel Pavement followed in 1930. He emerged, too, as a successful dramatist with such plays as Dangerous Corner (1932), Time and the Conways (1937), When We Are Married (1938) and An Inspector Calls (1947).

The publication of English Journey in 1934 emphasised Priestley's concern for social problems and the welfare of ordinary people.

During the Second World War Priestley became a popular and influential broadcaster with his famous Postscripts that followed the nine o'clock news BBC Radio on Sunday evenings. Starting on 5th June 1940, Priestley built up such a following that after a few months it was estimated that around 40 per cent of the adult population in Britain was listening to the programme.

Some members of the Conservative Party, including Winston Churchill, expressed concern that Priestley might be expressing left-wing views on the programme, and, to his dismay, Priestley was dropped after his talk on 20th October 1940.

After the war Priestley continued his writing, and his work invariably provoked thought, and his views were always expressed in his blunt Yorkshire style.

His prolific output continued right up to his final years, and to the end he remained the great literary all-rounder. His favourite amiong his books was for many years the novel Bright Day, though he later said he had come to prefer The Image Men.

It should not be overlooked that Priestley was an outstanding essayist, and many of his short pieces best capture his passions and his great talent and his mastery of the English language. He set a fine example for any would-be author.







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