Leap in the Dark: The Living Grave by David Rudkin

“Based on documentary transcripts: the hypnotist Joe Keeton ‘regresses’ Pauline, a Merseyside nurse, back beyond her birth to an earlier life – she starts to speak as Kitty, a maidservant on 18th century Dartmoor, who is made pregnant and hangs herself. To this day, on Kitty’s unconsecrated grave at a lonely forkroads, flowers are still left by an unknown hand. I intercut the hypnosis scenes with glimpses of the life and death of Kitty herself as ‘her’ voice was describing them – but with the camera as Kitty’s point of view, and so never seeing her, and using the locations as they are now. This was to avoid the inertia of mere illustration, creating instead a simultaneity of the two time-frames, and a sense of Kitty’s experience still present in the landscape today. I cannot explain what it is that Joe Keeton does, nor what it is that happens when under his hypnosis Pauline speaks as Kitty. This I know: in Kitty’s voice, the Merseyside nurse mentions features in the landscape that no longer exist, and uses dialect words and name-forms current in Kitty’s time and not used since” – David Rudkin

Leap in the Dark, September 9th 1980: The Living Grave by David Rudkin. Produced and Directed by Colin Rose, for BBC Bristol. Cast: Lesley Dunlop: Pauline, Ian Hogg: Joe, Tony Doyle: Media man, Michael Bangerter: Media man, David Delve: Haunted man.

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