Sunday 21 May 2006

The Stone Tape (1972) - ickleReview (DVD)

Rather dated and cheaply-made BBC TV movie about a team of scientists attempting to find a new recording medium. Their research labs are in an old Victorian mansion, which Jill (Jane Asher), the only woman, thinks is haunted. She has the most analytical brain and designs computer programmes to test the data they collect from the mysterious room where she sees the ghost of a servant girl who died in the house in the 1890s. The team leader, Peter (Michael Bryant), is convinced that he has found a stone tape: a way of recording data in stone that will get one over their Japanese rivals and please his Irish boss at Ryan Electronics.

Shot on video, this has a distinct B-movie feel, which is creepy in itself. The main interest is in how the technology in the film has aged. I suppose in 1972 all their talk of computers and data was hi-tech. Now it just looks like they're fiddling about with typewriters and ticker tape. There is an amusing contradiction between their scientific methodology and their emotive reactions to their discoveries.

Nugget: reasonably well written, but acted and shot a little too dramatically. It has the feel of Dr Who. It's not scary and could be quite funny if you watched it in the right company.

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