Whisperers, The

Date: 1967
Director: Bryan Forbes
Production Company: Seven Pines

Stars: Edith Evans, Eric Portman, Avis Bunnage, Nanette Newman, Ronald Fraser
Location(s): Greater Manchester

Region(s):

Storyline:

An elderly eccentric lady living in poverty in an unnamed northern town comforts herself with fantasies.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson and John Tunstill

 

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A street in Oldham, Greater Manchester, showing Dame Edith Evans; or it could have been my Aunt Olga. Yes the capital "A" is necessary, she was that type of aunt. It could even be Brother Brian!! Image uploaded by John Tunstill.

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The windows, drainpipes and roof line confirm the building on the left, now the Highpoint Hotel in Napier Street East, Oldham. Well sleuthed and picture provided by David Hughes with location advised by Chris Whatmough.

As screen capture 01.

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An alley or back, a few houses down the road, similar to the one where Edith Evans was walking, which is now used as gardens. Picture from David Hughes.

As screen capture 01.

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Similar houses, in the street. The original properties in the still have all been demolished. Thanks David, again.

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The film starts and bleak streets are seen as the titles appear.

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More shots of the grimy northern town.

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Long lost stairs, running from Napier Street to Green Street . . . . .

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. . . . found by Ben Griffiths to the east side of the High Point Hotel. "They are still there but closed off as they are unsafe. A few have been removed and they are now strewn with rubbish."

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A smoke laden skyline sets the scene.

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After imagining voices through the radio and from dripping taps, Mrs Margaret Ross (Edith Evans) leaves her impoverished flat and walks through back streets and alleyways. This is what would probably qualify as Back Napier Street in Oldham.

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The steps lead down to Allen Street and Manchester Street can be seen in the distance.

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Ben Griffiths shows that the wall remains but the stairs have gone.

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The descent is from the back of Napier Street East to Allen Street in Oldham.

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Mr Conrad (Gerald Sim) enters the offices of the National Assistance Board. Unknown location.

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Mrs. Ross crosses a main road. Manchester Street with Allen Street to the extreme left.

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Michael Dunne advises that the library used was Stretford Library on Stretford Road near the junction with Northumberland Road in Manchester.

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Maggie arrives as the library doors are opened. The former Stretford Library on Stretford Road in Old Trafford, Manchester M16. The building is now a Buddhist Healing Centre. Identification and information from Michael Dunne.

On another day, Maggie heads to a local religious meeting. Allen Street facing Manchester Street, Oldham.

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The end building in this image appears to be the building behind the telegraph pole in the screen capture. Image copyright Google Streetview.

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Following a blessing and soup, Maggie walks past a run down club on her way to the National Assistance Office.

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'God bless you'. Unknown location.

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Upstairs neighbour (Nanette Newman) returns to find Maggie tidying up the yard.

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When she finds money that was hidden in her flat by her thieving son, Maggie makes plans.

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Maggie ponders going abroad as she heads to the National Assistance Office. Ben Griffiths advises that is Manchester Road near the junction with Frederick Street. The shops and houses in the foreground were demolished around 1978 for road widening and the white topped wall in the left distance is the perimiter wall for Werneth Lodge Care Home.

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After stranger Mrs. Noonan (Avis Bunnage) meets Maggie Ross in the Assistance Office, the pair walk arm in arm to the bus stop.

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The stranger befriends Maggie and asks her to join her in a refreshment.

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Having heard of the old lady's apparent windfall, Mrs. Noonan carries out her plan to get her hands on the money. Through the bus windows can be seen Saints Peter & Paul and All Saints church and Chadderton Way in Oldham.

The journey is long and Mrs Ross falls asleep.

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Jim Weir advises that the bus is travelling up Ashton Road, Oldham towards Copster Hill Road. The school that can be seen on the far right was Scottfield School on Scottfield Street but is no longer standing. Oldham parish church can be seen on the horizon to the right of the capture. Jim provides this Google Earth shot which he says is not the best of angles but almost impossible to improve upon given that the area has changed "beyond recognition". (RL)

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Mrs Noonan tells her victim that it's the next stop.

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After getting off the bus on the 'new estate', the pair wait to cross the road. The Green, Fitton Hill, Oldham. The area has been redeveloped.

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Mrs Noonan leads Maggie through an unfamiliar part of town. The background buildings have all been replaced.

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Maggie is coaxed on after she says that she needs to go home. The Green in Hathershaw.

Mrs Noonan takes Maggie into the pub to get her drunk. This is the Fytton Arms public house on The Green, Hathershaw, Oldham.

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Jim advises that the Fytton Arms was demolished in 2015 and provides this Google Earth capture from that time showing that the flats on the other side had already gone. (RL)

Later that evening, Mrs Noonan helps an inebriated Maggie through the streets after leaving the pub.

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Having tracked down whi029 Jim provides this Google Earth capture of the walkway seen here to include a portion of Mrs Noonan's house. (RL)

Mrs Ross is taken to the Noonan's home where she is drugged and robbed.

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Jim Weir has located this as The Spur, Oldham and provides this capture from Google Earth to support. (RL)

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The following morning, neighbour Earl (Harry Baird) and his Girlfriend make their way down steps before coming across an unconscious Maggie on wasteground.

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Mrs. Margaret Ross recovers from pneumonia in hospital.

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After being reunited with her estranged husband, the two ride a bus towards Maggie's home. To the right stands St Mary's Church on Upper Moss Lane, Hulme which has been converted into apartments. The bus is travelling along Radnor Street judging by continuity. Location identified with the assistance of Michael Dunne.

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Archie Ross (Eric Portman) and his wife near the house. Oldham's Napier Street East with the corner of St Thomas Street North to the left.

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A similar view taken now by Ben Griffiths.

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Maggie gets her key out as they near the side entrance. Off Napier Street East with what is apparently Marsland Mill on Green Street in the background.

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It's not long before the ne'er-do-well husband strays from his path.

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Archie stops and turns as when a Prostitute (Clare Kelly) says 'Hello dear'. This appears to be Plum Street looking down on Walker Street. In the centre right distance is the clock tower of Booth House on Featherstall Road South, Oldham.

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Morning dawns after Archie returns to Maggie after his five bob encounter. Facing south east on St. Thomas Street North with St. Thomas Church Werneth at the top of the hill.

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A similar view, without a cat, from Ben Griffiths.

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Maggie sweeps the yard outside the house. Facing Napier Street East, Oldham.

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After receiving money for his wife from the Assistance Office, Archie gets a small time job driving for bookmaker Jack Fish. Chapel Street at the junction with Quay Street in Salford.

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Accompanied by Andy from the office, Archie drives Mr Fish home in the bookie's Buick.

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After earning a pound, Archie drives away with Andy.

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Archie heads for Mr Fish's betting shop. Chapel Street at the junction with Brown Street in Salford with Manchester Exchange station behind Sacred Trinity church in the centre background. Dearmans Place now replaces Brown Street.

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Two heavies approach as Archie waits for Andy by Mr Fish's car with the days takings. The Lincoln's Inn public house at the corner of Preston Street and Radnor Street in Hulme, Manchester. Hulme was also seen in 'Charlie Bubbles' and 'The White Bus'.

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Archie drives Andy to a rendezvous with local thugs.

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After seeing Andy attacked, Archie drives away.

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One of the Thugs (Allan O'Keefe) walks away leaving a maimed Andy inside the building.

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Archie continues his flight from the scene.

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Egerton Street, Oldham.

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The car is driven onto waste ground. Rock Street, Oldham, Greater Manchester.

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Ben Griffiths provides this picture of the location now.

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Archie takes the money and runs to the station. Oldham Parish Church of St. Mary with St. Peter on Rock Street. The road leading to the church has disappeared and Oldham Sports Centre now occupies the site.

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The same church, backlit and captured by Ben Griffiths.

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Feeling sorry for Maggie, Archie Ross catches a train and leaves town. A stock shot of a Southern Region train also used in 'Carry On Sergeant'.

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Having lost her husband for a second time, Maggie makes her way back to the library and her old routine.

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Stretford Library, Stretford Road, Old Trafford in Greater Manchester. Identified by Michael Dunne.

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