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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Witches (1966)

Starring Joan Fontaine, Kay Walsh, Alec McCowen, Ann Bell, Ingrid Brett
Directed by Cyril Frankel
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

After being terrorized by witch doctors in Africa, a missionary teacher thinks she's found a more relaxing career teaching in a British village, until she learns there are witches in the village.

An attempt by Hammer Films to add to their horror catalog with a "witch" film, I found this to be a fine suspense-filled effort that unfortunately doesn't quite pay off in its final act.  Although the film hints the witches' powers are genuine we never see true evidence of this onscreen, nor are we presented an explanation as to what motivates the witches to be witches, and the climactic sacrificial ritual's choreography comes off seeming a bit silly.  Nevertheless, the build up before that, well-scripted by Nigel Kneale, makes this a worthwhile film, and star Joan Fontaine is well cast in the leading role.

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