The Treasure of Abbot Thomas Film Details
Overview: The Reverend Justin Somerton, a scholar of Medieval history, and his protégé Lord Peter Dattering are visiting an Abbey library. Studying a stained glass window they uncover clues leading to a treasure hidden by a disgraced Abbot.
Review: Lord Peter Dattering(Paul Lavers) is a little bemused by his mother’s daily séances, he himself doubts the credentials of Mr and Mrs Tyson, the self proclaimed couple with “The Gift” to talk to the hereafter. He asks the Reverend Justin Somerton, a learned clergyman whose daily job is to study medieval religious texts, to take part in a séance to dispel once and for all any doubts that the Tysons are nothing but bogus charlatans. Somerton revels in the challenge, and when Mrs Tyson seems to be channeling the voice of the long since deceased Father Dominic, Somerton asks to speak to him, one man of the cloth to another, with some deductions and slight of hand worthy of Sherlock Holmes, he quickly reveals the imposter’s. These early scenes are surely there to instill in the viewer the fact that Somerton is no fool and is somewhat of a cynic when it comes to supernatural events. Somerton returns to his work at hand at the monastery, there he shows Peter an old text from a centuries old book written by monks. Peter’s Latin is flawless and he quickly translates the ancient text, that pertains to a hidden treasure that Abbott Thomas was rumoured to have attained. Abbott Thomas, Somerton explains, was also an alchemist and all round charlatan, he stresses tough that his work is not to uncover said hidden treasure, but just to gain knowledge from the old texts. However when together they begin to find clues in the texts and in the stained glass window of the chapel, their motivations alter and they believe there might be a treasure, although Somerton still retains he belief that if it hasn’t already been found many years previous, then its sure to be a treasure of worthless trinkets from the Abbott’s alchemy work. Somerton’s quest ends in a dark murky underground tunnel filled to the waist with water, where Somerton’s very belief system is shook to its core, fearing for his very life, he stumbles and staggers into the night with what he believes to be the treasure, all the while glancing behind him lest the horrific vision he seen is following him….it is, he flees to his lodgings and bolts the door, there he spends two horrific nights as the dark spectre looms outside his door, in terrible fear, Somerton can smell its rank musty aroma, lurking menacingly outside. Peter arrives looking for his missing acquaintance, there dishevelled and almost lifeless, Somerton pleads with Peter to return the worthless treasure in the hope that this guardian of evil will be content with its return. The Treasure of Abbott Thomas is another of the fine BBC Ghost Story for Christmas productions based on the work of M R James, again its taken from his Ghost Stories of an Antiquary collection. Like a lot of James’ work, the main character is lured into an investigation by some ancient object or text. Somerton is the very essence of intelligence and honesty, we the viewer can instantly relate to the integrity of his investigations, but as Somerton finally gets close to his objective, we see a man obsessed, is it his work or possible financial reward that is urging him on. The film builds up a sense of mystery and foreboding with Peter’s discussions with Somerton seemingly being overheard on a couple of occasions by a mysterious hooded monk, that it would seem is only visible to Peter. In many ways it has echoes of Der Name der Rose (1986), as the main protagonist and his layman sidekick investigate a medieval mystery, that is both steeped in religion and some oppressive lurking unseen evil. Michael Bryant is the undoubted star of the film and will be recognisable to fans of The Stone Tape, his performance here is exemplary and at least the equal of that film. Lavers though is perhaps a little bland as Peter Dattering, but he doesn’t distract or detract from the final enjoyment value. Clark’s direction again though is superb if a little rushed on occasion, he manages to even make the countryside or the wind blowing through some trees seem filled with menace. The chilling ending is a little abrupt, the evil contained within left to the viewers imagination, just as it should be.
Duration: 37 min
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Also known as: Ghost Story for Christmas: Treasure of Abbot Thomas,Сокровище аббата Томаса,The Treasure of Abbot Thomas