A man who keeps faith in human beings.
The name Tom Hopper is wellknown at the moment, since The King’s Speech got a lot of Oscars and is being shown in movietheatres all around the world. Hooper made, one year after Elisabeth I with Helen Mirren, another historic film abont Frank Longford, a member of the House of Lords, who used to visit persons in jail.
This Channel 4 drama television film starts in a radiostation where Longford is being interviewed on his new book about saints. When listeners to the program are invited to ask questions about it, they all speak furiously about Myra Hindley. Her name is like a bell that starts ringing harder and harder.
Then we see televisionfragments from 1966 when in the Pennines three dead bodies of childern were found. They were killed bij Myra and her friend Ian Brady. In quick shots Hooper reveales the most important facts, ending in the longlife imprisonment of Myra and Brady.
When Longford visits her she askes him to arrange a meeting with Ian, who is in another prison, because she still is attached to him. Longford says that is not a good idea. They start talking. Myra doesn’t look at all like a murderer. She is friendly and wants to better her life. The fact that she converted to catholisism forms a bridge between them. Longford himself changed in his life from Irish to English, from protestant to catholic, from conservative to socialist. Longford wants to get Myra out of prison. At the same time prime minister Harold Wilson, who is not amused by Longfords actions, askes him to write a report about juveline delinquency, to get his attention away from Myra.
Longford visits Brady who tells him that Myra is an obsessed, hysterical woman. Brady shows letters from her in which she tells him what an idiot Longford is. Both the public opinion and his wife are very much against Myra.
When Longford sees young boys in a train reading a porno-magazine one day, he starts a campaign against it and shows less care for Myra. She feels rejected, tries to break free, but fails. Before she is sent to the jail in Durham, she says to Longford that she is going to confess two other murders and she doesn’t want to see him anymore. That is hard for him and he is about to give up on the case. At that moment his wife becomes interested in Myra. They both go by train upnorth to Durham and see in what bad condition Myra is.
The movie returns to the radiostation. We see the pain that Longford has had about that case.
In the epilogue Myra askes Longford, who is in his nineties, to visit her. They sit on a bench in the garden of the jail. Myra says she is sorry for letting him down, but Longford answers that she only strenghtened his conviction, this faith in the human soul.
At the end of the film, we read that Longford died in August 2001 at the age of 95, while Myra Hindley remained imprisoned until her death in November 2002 at the age of 60 and that Ian Brady still is in prison. I stayed behind with a strong feeling of the invincibitily of the good human nature.