I love a good ghost story and some of the best ones ever written have come from the hearts and minds of Irish authors but very few of them have been adapted for the screen. Horror movies set in Ireland that feature an Irish cast are a rare commodity, which makes RETURN TO GLENNASCAUL (1953) all the more special. This short supernatural film featuring Orson Welles is a real treat for horror fans as well as anyone looking for a something unusual to watch on St. Patrick’s Day.
RETURN TO GLENNASCAUL (aka Orson Welles’ Ghost Story) was made during the filming of Orson Welles’ OTHELLO (1952) and directed by Welles’ longtime friend and collaborator, Hilton Edwards, who was one of the founders of the esteemed Gate Theatre in Dublin where Welles started his acting career. The two men had become extremely close over the years and Welles’ had given him the part of Brabantio in his adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. During the making of OTHELLO, Edwards was forced to return to Dublin to take care of some business at the Gate Theatre but before he left he was able to convince Welles to appear in a short film he wanted to make while he was there. The film was called RETURN TO GLENNASCAUL and it’s an effective little ghost story featuring Orson Welles playing himself. Welles only appears in the opening and closing minutes of the film but he also narrates the tale and it’s easy to assume that he had a hand in directing it as well. Hilton Edwards had never made a film before and RETURN TO GLENNASCAUL would be his last. Once you watch this 23 minute movie it’s easy to spot Welles’ influence on the production. From the shadowy figures framed by imposing doorways to the melancholy mood of decay and rot that permeates the film, RETURN TO GLENNASCAUL seems like a natural and harmonious continuation of Welles’ previous work.
Continue reading “Orson Welles’ Irish Ghost Story” at Turner Classic Movies official blog: The Movie Morlocks