The book was set in what was then present-day 1969, with two children travelling 100 years back in time to save two other children who had perished in a house fire. However, for some reason, LIONEL JEFFRIES, the screenwriter and director, set it in 1918 instead. It's not a bad little movie, and is well-worth watching for the delightful performances of James Villiers and other members of the cast, though I was slightly disappointed to find that some dialogue in the book which had made me laugh out loud was absent.
I find it interesting that the film was in production around the time I was reading the novel on which it was based, although I didn't get to see it 'til about thirteen or fourteen years later. (About half my life away at the time.) However, I remem-ber seeing the trailer on television back at the end of 1972 and instantly recognising, despite the different name, the source of this new cinematic production. Also, the book had only been written about two years before filming began, so full marks to Lionel Jeffries for recognising its potential straight off the mark.
Old clothes, old clocks, old toys, old books, which had once been swept along on the strong current of everyday life, now lay in corners like the tide-wrack along the beach, serving only to show where life had been.
All these things had been cherished once for their beauty or their usefulness, or just for the warm familiarity of their presence. Now they were cast aside and forgotten.
As someone who has spent over half his life in re-acquiring once-cherished treasures that had fallen victim to time, there's something about the phrase "the warm familiarity of their presence" that really resonates with me. Its an ex-tremely comforting feeling being surrounded by the familiar, because then the past doesn't seem so very far away and, consequently, the illusion can be maintained for a little longer that the end of life's journey isn't quite so near as is actually the case.
So, if you haven't already done so, read the book and see the movie - and may all your 'ghosts' be familiar ones.