After several failed attempts to film the classic Ray Bradbury story Something Wicked This Way Comes, director Jack Clayton, whose previous credits include the Oscar winning Room at the Top and the superlative ghost tale The Innocents, has succeeded in capturing the atmospheric tale on celluloid. Alan Jones caught up with Jack Clayton in Los Angeles and talked to him about the making of the movie.
Ray Bradbury's classic fantasy tale Something Wicked This Way Comes poses a very simple question. What price would you pay to make your deepest desires a reality? In Bradbury's semi-autobiographical metaphor for life and death this question is asked by Mr Dark, proprietor of Dark's Pandemonium carnival which mysteriously appears one night in Green Town, Illinois. And the answer has confounded such luminaries as producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler and directors Sam Peckinpah, Mark Rydell and Steven Spielberg, all of whom have been connected with abortive attempts to film the book since its publication in 1962.
Something Wicked This Way Comes began as a short story in Weird Tales in May 1948 called "Black Ferris". Ten years later Bradbury adapted it into a screenplay for Gene Kelley as he was so impressed with Kelley's direction in Invitation to the Dance. When adequate financing could not be found, Bradbury then turned this adaptation into a novel and deemed it his most personal favourite work. In turn it rapidly achieved cult status with 14 year-olds everywhere whose imaginations were ignited by the images and passion contained in it.