“The Whisperers” (deutsch: “Flüsternde Wände”)
a short review by David Fisk:
‘The Whisperers’ (1967) is a downbeat character study from director Bryan Forbes about an elderly woman who is still physically fit, but mentally deteriorating (she hears voices…she remembers things from her past that never actually happened). The film follows her as she goes about her mundane daily routines. She visits a Christian mission where she listens to a sermon and gets a free meal. She stops by the local government assistance office and requests a new pair of shoes.
One day, she is seemingly befriended by another woman, but that new “friend” (with help from her husband and children) ultimately steals the money the old lady has in her purse, after which they abandon her. Things go from bad to worse when the old lady contracts pneumonia. She recovers after a lengthy hospital stay and is reunited (not by choice) with the no-good husband who abandoned her many years ago.
By the film’s end, the old lady is all alone again and back to her sad, mundane existence.
Though quite depressing, I liked ‘The Whisperers’ very much. It’s a fascinating snapshot of life in a mid-1960s slum section of what could be London, England, though the actual city isn’t named in the film. Edith Evans (1888-1976) is remarkable and touching as the old lady. Her performance garnered her a “Best Actress” Academy Award nomination, but she lost to Katharine Hepburn.