MovieChat Forums > The Shout (1978) Discussion > The Type Magic Used In the Film

The Type Magic Used In the Film


I'm a bit surprised that no one else has already asked this, but as someone who is fascinated about things like Anthropology and ritual magic I was wondering if anyone out there knew anything more about the supposed magic used in the film? I've done a little bit of research on the internet but I've only been able to find a little bit about the Aboriginal death wail. Could someone tell me where I could find out more info? Also does anyone know what the significance of the stones were? I think it had something to do with maybe his soul or spirit being incased in there but again, if I could find out more info I'd really appreciate it.

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I don't think there is a specific type of magic. Robert Graves I think just decided on Aboriginal shout to make his short story a little more exotic. The stones in the story do represent the souls of everyone in the village.
It's a fascinating and wonderful story well worth reading. I scarcely believe it was written almost a century ago, as the plot, storyline and style of writing feels modern.

I don't know exactly why Graves wrote the story, but he was married at the time while carrying on quite a public affair with another woman (the poet Laura Riding) while at Oxford; an affair that eventually near the end of the 1920s led to him being accused of trying to murder his wife, his mistress attempting suicide and him fleeing with his mistress and his children to Spain (which had no extradition treaty with England).
Bearing all this in mind, one can perhaps see that the story is not so much about magic as a reflection on the complicated and emotionally intense relationships Graves was involved in at the time.
That said, he was also very interested in very ancient matriarchal history and mythology which he explored in his seminal book, The White Goddess and, to a lesser extent, The Greek Myths. So it's highly possible that the magic he describes in this story was based on 'real' magic.

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Thanks for the comment. If I get the chance, I'll have to read the story sometime.

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What this movie was awful. What a wussy character Hurt played.

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I'm in the middle of this film now and I'd love to discuss the subject, once I've seen the whole thing. I have to assume there are some differences between the text and the movie, but speaking from 3/4 of the way in, there are a tremendous number of details involved. Milk and honey, costume and room color combinations, sand and sea and stone, and of course a young John Hurt in a tight bathing suit.

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