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directed by Elijah Moshinsky
UK 1990


Maurice Allington (Albert Finney, WOLFEN), proprietor of the English country inn The Green Man (transformed from the coaching inn of Kingsley Amis' source novel into a country house), seduces pretty guests (unattached or otherwise), treats guests to the finest gourmet cooking, and regales them with tales of the house's resident spook: eighteenth-century Cambridge cleric Dr. Thomas Underhill who practiced the black arts and was suspected in the similar brutal deaths of a farmer and his own wife. Although the last reported sighting of Dr. Underhill's apparition was at the end of the nineteenth century, Maurice has recently been seeing one that he suspects was Underhill's wife (Anna Skye). Although Maurice himself has agreed with doctor friend/fellow philanderer Jack (Nicky Henson, WITCHFINDER GENERAL) that the hallucinations are alcohol-induced, he starts to have his doubts when his father (Michael Hordern, GHANDI) dies of a sudden fright at Maurice's fifty-third birthday dinner. When Underhill's apparition (Michael Culver, A PASSAGE TO INDIA) starts appearing to Maurice, his grown son Nick (Michael Grandage, THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE) diagnoses a combination of drinking, guilt over his first wife's death, and his father's death a reminder of his own mortality during his birthday, and encourages him to repair the rift he has with teenage daughter Amy (Natalie Morse, DROWNING BY NUMBERS). Nick's spacey wife Lucy (Josie Lawrence, ENCHANTED APRIL), on the other hand, suggests that Maurice try to make contact with the ghost who research reveals had the power of "creating seductive visions" which he used while ravishing pre-pubescent girls before abandoning "Earthly pleasures" in order to secure for himself "such powers as were never seen such pagan times." The only other person privy to Maurice's efforts is the new, Hawaiian shirt and sneaker-wearing progressive rector Sonnenschein (Nickolas Grace, AN IDEAL HUSBAND) – or "Tommy" as he prefers to be called – who already thinks "the Jesus of the Gospels can be a bit of a wet liberal at times" and that the concept of immortality belongs on the trash-heap. When Maurice finally does make contact with Underhill, the magus promises to show him the "true shape" of his desires. While Maurice is intrigued by Underhill's offer, he hedges his bets in the realm of Earthly pleasures buy endeavoring to arrange a ménage-a-trois with his long-suffering second wife Joyce (Linda Marlowe, TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY) and Jack's bored wife Diana (Sarah Berger). Maurice's efforts in both realms are at first seemingly rewarded, but he comes to realize that there is a price to be paid.

An atypical British ghost story based on the 1969 novel by humorist Kinglsey Amis, THE GREEN MAN in the form of its 1991 TV adaptation also transforms Albert Finney's once youthful Tom Jones/"angry young man"-prototype into a middle-aged lecher sweating and shaking from alcoholism who finds himself confronting middle age about a decade late along with his mortality perhaps a decade or two too early thanks to an excess of "good living." The mood is generally light comedy but the supernatural elements of the film are as effective and unnerving as anything from the M.R. James' GHOST STORIES FOR CHRISTMAS series – apart from some gory bits involving a tree that is more EVIL DEAD than "The Ash Tree" – but the protagonist is less interested in antiquarian thrills than lusty couplings. Besides the quirky usage of classic jazz and blues music (and Kylie Minogue's "I Should Be So Lucky"), the soundtrack includes the BAFTA award-winning score of Tim Souster (SLUGS: THE MOVIE) composed of whispers, chants, and sometimes bombastic dissonant music stings along with a very soulful and very eighties piece that underscores Maurice's preparation for his fateful meeting with Underhill that seems to have accidentally been cut in from a Michael Mann film. Not your average spine-tingler, but a not a bad way to begin the Halloween season.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 28 October 1990 - 11 November 1990 (UK TV)

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DVD Review: Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Simply Media

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 2:31:35 (4% PAL speedup)

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.55 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English HoH, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Simply Media

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
� Episodes (with
� - Episode 1 (4:3; 51:54)
� - Episode 2 (4:3; 49:56)
� - Episode 3 (4:3; 49:44)

DVD Release Date: October 5th, 2015

Chapters 19





Previously issued on disc by 2Entertain, Simply Media's dual-layer disc does what it can with the nineties SD master of this film-lensed but video-finished three part miniseries. The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio is well-rendered in terms of dialogue and music, but the optional English HoH subtitles do contain some errors: "Time for a Scotch?" becomes "Climb for a scotch?", "sauce" becomes "source" in reference to the protagonist's drinking, and "Take a pew!" becomes "Take a few!" There are no extras.

  - Eric Cotenas


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Region 2 - PAL

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