1 9 7 9 (UK)
1 x 68 minute episode
In 17th century Holland, budding young artist Godfried Schalcken (Jeremy Clyde) falls in love with Rose Velderkaust (Cheryl Kennedy), the niece of his mentor, esteemed master painter Gerrit Dou (Maurice Denham). But Dou marries her off to a ghoulish zombie-like stranger called Vanderhausen (John Justin) in exchange for gold.
Too cowardly or too concerned with his own career prospects as Dou’s apprentice – or both – Schalken weasels out of Rose’s suggestion that they could run away together, claiming that his poverty prevents him from doing so and making weak promises to buy her marriage bond out when he is rich and famous.
Rose eventually escapes from Vanderhausen, only to be pursued and reclaimed by him.
Schalcken is reunited with Rose one final time, several years later, during a strange and macabre encounter in a church.
Dialogue is very limited and the pace is extraordinarily slow, but the atmosphere is morbid and hypnotic, and the narration is beautifully sonorous.
This dramatised tale of the supernatural, based on a story by Sheridan Le Fanu, was made for television by the BBC (as part of the Omnibus series) but it looked so special, shot on film by what appears to be candlelight by cinematographer John Hooper, that it belatedly received a cinematic release by the BFI.
Narrator – Lefanu (voice)