Based on a short story by Sheridan Le Fanu, Schalcken the Painter was originally shown in the Omnibus strand on BBC 2 during Christmas 1979. It was directed by Leslie Magahey, who both introduced the movie and then answered question at the end. The story follows a young seventeenth century Flemish painter Godfried Schalcken, who forsakes love for ambition, but discovers that there is still a terrible price to pay for his choice.
Schalcken the Painter is an exquisitely shot, ( and lit), atmospheric horror film which explores the uneasy, dark relationship between art, commerce and erotic desire. The cast includes Jeremy Clyde, Maurice Denman and Cheryl Kennedy.
The settings of the shots, and the lighting was almost identical to a Dutch domestic scene, and the actors interacted within these spaces. Many of the shots had long still moments that depicted the interior of a Dutch scene, and then zoomed into the details before the scene became alive with the actors.
It’s the first time and only time where I have seen television, photography and paintings merge together
As an extra bonus, there was a talk from the director Leslie Magahey and a specialist in Schalken painting explaining how the shots were produced, and also how this episode of the ghost and the girl affected Schalken later paintings.