Avant: Journal of Philosophical-Interdisciplinary Vanguard (2017-10-01)

The Gaze of the Spectral Setting in the 1968 BBC Adaptation of M. R. James’s “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad”

  • Anne Keithline,
  • Jacek Mydla

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 8, no. 2
pp. 121 – 132


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This article is a study devoted to the BBC adaptation of a ghost story by Montague Rhodes James, “Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad.” The ideas of the spectral gaze and sympathetic spectreship are used to submit that in the film the setting itself is the spectre, with which/whom the viewer is invited to identify. This rearrangement—in comparison with the situation in the original story—casts the spectral setting both in the role of the haunting presence and the victim of an otherworldly (human) intrusion. A detailed analysis of the use of the camera supports the argument.