“We have borrowed a child, Billy — borrowed; borrowed.”
A mentally disturbed medium (Kim Stanley) conspires with her husband (Richard Attenborough) to kidnap a wealthy child (Judith Donner) in order to bring fame to her psychic abilities by sharing where the girl is hidden.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Bryan Forbes Films
- Henpecked Husbands
- Kim Stanley Films
- Mental Illness
- Psychic Powers
- Richard Attenborough Films
Other than playing a Marilyn Monroe-esque actress in The Goddess (1958), Kim Stanley’s best-known cinematic role was in this film by director Bryan Forbes, playing a deeply disturbed “psychic” whose delusional mental illness causes not only distress but serious harm to those around her. The atmospheric film gets off to a somewhat slow and talky start, but then shifts into gear as the kidnapping proceeds, and we’re kept on tenterhooks wondering what in the world will happen next. Our primary focus is on Attenborough, playing the epitome of a co-dependent spouse whose sympathy for his wife’s grief upends all logic; he’s highly effective in the role and compulsively watchable. Stanley’s performance is equally convincing, but evokes horror more than sympathy; this is a woman willing to take the world down with her as she enacts what she believes to be the warped “truth”.
Note: The girl (Judith Donner) chosen to play the hostage only has this one film to her name in IMDb, but she’s suitably realistic.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Kim Stanley as Myra
- Richard Attenborough as Billy
- Atmospheric cinematography and direction
- Effective use of real-life locales
Yes, as an unusual and powerful film, and for the performances.
- Good Show
- Noteworthy Performance(s)