Harry Price: Ghost Hunter (3 1/2 Stars)


It wasn’t enough for ITV to launch just one supernatural thriller with the Midwinter of the Spirit, it also has to have a period drama in the form of Harry Price: Ghost Hunter.

The title for this one is sadly not as a catchy as Midwinter of the Spirit and I think they could have come up with something better. The set was absolutely beautiful and I did love the costume set. Rafe Spall, who took the lead as Harry Price also gave a wonderful performance. His performance however was marred by the lack of material and script to work with, which wasn’t all that brilliant. The twist in the storyline though I was not expecting and did find that rather refreshing. The addition of Cara Theobold as Sara Grey, the housekeeper was welcoming. This has been left open for the potential to have this as a pilot leading to an extended drama. I’m not adverse to seeing it being made into a drama but without Tom Ward who played Edward Goodwin; I do think considerable work will need to be done on the script to make it viable for at least another couple of episodes. I didn’t have a strong impact of Downton Abbey did in the beginning, but then again Harry Price does not have a big cast of great actors behind it. With a little nurturing and encouragement though I think there is potential to make it a watchable series.

Midwinter of the Spirit (2 Stars)

Merrily Watkins (Anna Maxwell Martin) is a vicar who is also training to be an exorcist. Following the death of her husband she moves with her daughter Jane (Sally Messham) to a new Parish. The death of a particularly nasty individual in Merrily’s presence leads her open to attack from a supernatural force. Still reeling from the discovery that her husband was having an affair and the difficulty in coming to terms with that leaves Merrily vulnerable to a psychic attack.

This drama series sounded promising, it has the potential to be a really good series. However it just didn’t work. The first episode is slow and dull…which can be forgiven as it is setting the scene for the story and introducing the characters and getting you to understand their relationships. The trouble is, the episode just seems superficial and that the relationships are not fully explored, in fact the whole relationship between everyone in the drama just seems superficial. The next episode is equally dull and uninteresting and the tension and drama is not revealed until the last 2-3 minutes of the episode. This sets episode 3 to be good, however because there is only one hour left to cover everything it just seems skipped over in terms of detail and rushed. I am left feeling that in the attempt to build up to a dramatic third episode, the relationships and character development was lost in order to preserve a surprise. However this came at the expense of fully getting to understand the characters. I left like there is something I am missing throughout. I know this is the second book in the series and the started with that one. Maybe it would have been better for ITV to have started with book one and made it a two part drama.

The Man Who Crossed Hitler (4 Stars)

The Man Who Crossed Hitler is a 2011 BBC film that has never been released to DVD…which is a cracking shame. There was no way of accessing it until recently when the Daily Motion uploaded it.

Set in 1930s Berlin, Hans Litten (Ed Stoppard) is a lawyer who can see a monster in Germany brewing, that Monster is Adolf Hitler. Hitler’s SA have been attacking the communists in the streets of Berlin. Litten is given the task of prosecuting a group of SA members who had done a particularly nasty crime – which had seen three people dead and 20 injured. Litten is given the idea of subpoenaing Hitler in the Tranzpalast Eden Trial, in an attempt to highlight that Hitler had full knowledge that the SA was committing these crimes and were sanctioned by himself. The effect would make the Nazi Party an illegal political organisation and therefore prevent them from remaining as a political party.

The film is based on a true story and Litten tried bravely to stand against the Nazi party a year before Hitler was made Chancellor. Had Litten been successful, it is likely that Hitler would never have been able to conduct the Holocaust and the Second World War, unfortunately Litten was not successful and he paid with his life. He committed suicide in Dachau Concentration Camp five years after being imprisoned within the brutal concentration camp system.

Being a Historian, I may at times be critical of certain aspects of films, especially ones that may attempt to show a perceived image of history which may not reflect the historical truth. However I think, when the media creates and helps spread a story, such of that as Hans Litten, it can be a very useful and powerful tool. This is a very good film depicting a heroic man who tried to stand…and if prove that not everyone willingly lay down and let National Socialism walk into power.