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17 user 8 critic

Return to Glennascaul (1953)

Orson Welles, on break from filming Othello, relates a tale he heard one spooky Irish midnight not so long ago when, driving through the countryside, he picked up a man with car trouble who told of a strange encounter with two hitchhikers.

Director:

Hilton Edwards

Writer:

Hilton Edwards (screen play)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Laurence Michael Laurence ... Sean Merriman
Shelah Richards Shelah Richards ... Mrs. Campbell
Helena Hughes Helena Hughes ... Lucy Campbell
John Dunne John Dunne ... Daly
Isobel Couser Isobel Couser ... The Short Woman
Ann Clery Ann Clery ... The Tall Woman
Orson Welles ... Narrator / Orson Welles
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Storyline

SPOILER: Orson Welles, taking a break from the filming of Othello (1951), is driving in the Irish countryside one night when he offers a ride to a man with car trouble. The man relates a strange event that happened to him at the same location. Two women flagged down his car one evening, asking for a ride back to their manor. They invited him in for a drink, and after leaving, he went back for his cigarette case. He found the manor deserted and decayed. In Dublin, a real estate broker told him the mother and daughter had died years ago. Welles, sufficiently spooked, drops the man off at his home, and speeds on by when two other stranded women wave for a ride. Written by Steven Dhuey

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Horror | Mystery

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Details

Country:

Ireland

Language:

English

Release Date:

1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Orson Welles' Ghost Story See more »

Filming Locations:

Ireland

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dublin Gate Theatre See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Glennascaul" is Irish for "Glen of the Shadows." See more »

Goofs

The narrator says that Sean Merriman returns to the house when he realizes he left his cigarette case on the mantle. However, Lucy Campbell was holding the case when Sean noticed the lateness of the hour and suddenly got up to leave, forgetting to get the case from Lucy in his haste. It is Lucy who places the case on the mantle, which goes unnoticed by Sean while he is bidding farewell to Lucy's mother. See more »

Quotes

Lucy Campbell: [reading the inscription in Merriman's cigarette case] For P.J.M. from Lucy. Dublin, 1895.
Sean Merriman: Probably a present from an old flame. I think it was one of those love affairs that went wrong. Anyhow, he never married. And there's a quotation. I think it's from "The Song of Solomon".
Lucy Campbell: [reads the quotation] Until the day break, and the shadows flee away.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A four-minute introduction with Peter Bogdanovich was added for 1992 release, retitled "Orson Welles' Ghost Story". See more »

Connections

References Othello (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Crime Wave
(uncredited)
Music by Bob Busby
Chappell Recorded Music Library
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"A short story straight from the haunted land of Ireland"
24 April 2009 | by ackstasisSee all my reviews

During a break in the filming of 'The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (1952),' Orson Welles recounts a creepy "tall tale" allegedly told to him by a broken-down motorist to whom he offered a ride. Welles plays himself in the film, acting not only as the narrator, but more involvedly as the resident storyteller. One can imagine that it was this role, in addition to his obvious talents on radio, that inspired 'The Fountain of Youth (1958)' – a wonderful half-hour television pilot for "The Orson Welles Show," which boasted a concept not dissimilar to "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," but with Welles taking a more active presence in each episode's production (inconceivably, the show was immediately rejected). One also suspects the film's influence on the BBC's "Ghost Story for Christmas" series, the most impressive of examples of which are 'A Warning to the Curious (1972)' and 'The Signalman (1976)' {adapted from stories by M.R. James and Charles Dickens, respectively}.

The best kind of ghost stories, I think, that those told through an intermediary – it keeps them grounded in reality, which paradoxically makes them all the more creepy. The viewer's natural inclination is to trust the narrator's word, but in this case the narrator must rely on the word of the motorist, Sean Merriman (Michael Laurence), who could be making the whole story up… or, he could be completely sincere. It's that uncertainty that makes 'Return to Glennascaul (1951)' a perfectly chilling ghost tale, and a fine companion for a cold, lonely winter's night. We must not, of course, underestimate the emotional resonance of Welles' narrating voice, which contributes just as much atmosphere as Georg Fleischmann's hazy photography. The film was nominated for an Oscar in 1954, but lost out to 'Bear Country (1953),' one of Walt Disney's two-reeler nature documentaries. In any case, think about 'Return to Glennascaul' next time you decide to pick up two female hitch-hikers – I, for one, will be following Orson's example!


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