Monday 12 December 2022

Neither the Sea nor the Sand - 1972 film review

When I was growing up, Gordon Honeycombe was a very familiar presence on the TV screens. I remember him reading the news for a number of years before he began to branch out into presenting. He also wrote a popular novel, Neither the Sea nor the Sand, which enjoyed a lot of success and was filmed with, it seems, rather less success. I've not read the book but I've now come across the film, which was for many years something of a rarity.

The opening scenes made a great impression on me, since I recognised that Anna (Susan Hampshire, a very bankable actress in those days) was walking out towards Corbiere lighthouse on the south west tip of Jersey. Back in the 70s, I had a great post-Finals holiday in Jersey with my mate Stephen and we stayed at a hotel which looked out towards that same lighthouse. A memorable view.

Anna meets a handsome chap called Hugh (played, rather woodenly I'm afraid, by Michael Petrovitch) and falls in love with him. She's escaping from a bad marriage and they enjoy an idyllic time together on Jersey (where she meets his brother, played by the estimable Frank Finlay) and on holiday in Scotland, before tragedy strikes. Out of the blue, and for no obvious reason, Hugh drops down dead on the beach. At this point, things turn supernatural, because shortly afterwards Hugh returns to Anna from the dead.

This is a very slow-paced film, a slow-motion picture, you might say. The screenplay was written by Honeycombe himself, but it's uninspiring and doesn't make the most of a promising premise. The music is also pretty awful. But there are compensations in the performances of Hampshire and Finlay. Interesting, but ultimately insipid. I bet the book is more engaging. 


Unknown said...

Martin, you're right, the book is quite haunting. I enjoyed his Dragon Under the Hill which was supernatural, too. I also read his non-fiction Red Watch - about firefighters, which was useful for research purposes.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Unknown! I've never heard of Dragon Under the Hill but I'll look out for it.