Archive for Wendy Toye

A softly falling silent shroud of snow

Posted in FILM, literature, MUSIC, Television with tags , , , , , , , on October 31, 2015 by dcairns

This is really wonderful. I didn’t know the classic story it’s based on, by Conrad Aiken, but it’s beautiful and very very strange. This semi-professional filming (the IMDb doesn’t know of its existence) manages a kind of expressive naivety in its effects which works well. The same filmmaker, Gene Kearney, later filmed the story again for Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, with Orson Welles as narrator. I must see that, though I sort of doubt it will be as good in colour, with an NBC TV look to it. The narrator on this version does great. But I must admit I’m psyched to hear Welles do it. Where did I put my set of Night Gallery season 2?



Found it! Wonderful to hear Welles at work on this text, and the episode justifies the whole existence of Night Gallery (which, let’s face it, was frequently crummy) — it’s the kind of material one simply can’t imagine seeing on television. Having said that, feeding it through the NBC de-flavouring machine does result in a loss of visual atmosphere. In the b&w version you COULD close your eyes and still enjoy it, but you really WANT to watch.



I’m reminded of the fact that the great Wendy Toye remade her own masterpiece, THE STRANGER LEFT NO CARD, as an episode of Tales of the Unexpected. I’m very curious to see it, but despite a TOTU box set and constant TV replaying, that one never seems to turn up…


Note: the ending of Youtube’s SSSS seems abrupt, and comes before the last couple of lines of the short story. Truncation was suspected — but Night Gallery trims the show at exactly the same line, so I guess that’s Keirney’s decision, and all that can be missing is some kind of end title.

Wendy Toye

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on February 28, 2010 by dcairns

Wendy Toye, one of Britain’s most important female filmmakers, has died aged 92. I’ve written here, here and here about her short film mini-masterpieces. Though Toye’s feature films generally didn’t live up to the brilliance of her shorts — due to studio politics and commercial repression more than anything else — her professionalism opened the way for other women to break into the male-dominated industry.

12 Days Wonder

Posted in FILM with tags , , on December 25, 2009 by dcairns

Here it is, your Shadowplay Christmas present — Wendy Toye’s ON THE TWELFTH DAY (1955).

Toye, a former ballet dancer, is a notable figure in British cinema — alas, British cinema didn’t know what to do with her after her impressive shorts, THE STRANGER LEFT NO CARD and this one, which shows a slight Powell-Pressburger influence, I think. She’s still among us, so raise a glass of egg-nog to her continued health.

Maybe because of her dance-school background, one of Toye’s distinguishing traits as director is her predilection for somewhat campy leading men!


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