THE MOVIE IS A GHOST

When The Haunting of M. made its brief theatrical run in 1979, I had the intention of seeing it, but somehow never got around to it.  A few years later while living in Germany, another opportunity to witness the film arose, and this time, I drove through an appropriately atmospheric, drizzly evening to a little two-screen art house that could probably fit inside an average-sized garage, but the ticket clerk solemnly informed me that they were having technical difficulties with their projector and that night’s screening was cancelled.

All I knew about the movie was it’s basic premise.  Set during the turn of the century, a family is haunted by a ghost who roams the corridors of their decrepit old estate.  The specter is apparently a young man, and he is particularly attached to one of the daughters, whose first name begins with the letter M.  The ghost is first discovered hovering in a family portrait, where he gazes longingly at the object of his affection. One of the other sisters then decides to do a bit of amateur ghost hunting in the hope of revealing the haunting.

Being a huge fan of atmospheric ghost stories, I have always heard that The Haunting of M. is one of the most atmospheric ghost stories ever filmed, that it was elegantly spooky and beautifully photographed in a naturalistic Vermeer sort of light.

Unfortunately for me, and for all fans of atmospheric ghost stories, the movie is unavailable, in video or any other medium, a fact that I confirmed during a very pleasant e-mail exchange, some months back, with the director of the film, Anna Thomas.  Even she no longer has a copy.  She wrote that, sadly, it will probably never be seen again.

Just like the haunting in an old photograph, the movie is a ghost.

 

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