Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Seek Him With Candleshoe

Candleshoe was on somebody-or-other’s movie channel recently and it sounded harmless enough that I thought I’d give it a whirl.  I’m glad I did because it reminded me very much of The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn – both the book and the television special.  (And if you’ve seen that television special you know there’s not much out there that will make you want to remember it.)


First, Candleshoe the film was based on the 1953 novel, Christmas at Candleshoe, by Michael Innes, the pseudonym of Scotish author John Innes Mackintosh Stewart (1906–94).  The 1977 film is caper about a hidden treasure inside an old mansion.

Hmmm.  John’s 1978 book is about a hidden treasure in an old library – nothing earth-shattering there as hidden treasures have been hidden inside old things for years.  It’s just that Wikipedia notes Stewart was an author and academic and if the clues from the movie were the same in the original book, then it sounds as if Stewart and Bellairs had a shared love of history and literature.  Here are the clues from the film version of Candleshoe (and I haven’t read the book to know if there were used there, too):
  • "For the sunrise student there is treasure among books."
  • "The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
  • "He followed the eclipse for riches and fame; and, if ye would prosper, do ye the same."
  • "Underfoot, in the great hall. Look high, look low, discover all."
Don’t they sound sort of Bellairsish?  The first clue “...treasure among books” rings similar to the words outside the Winterborn library from the television special; there the words were “Is there a greater fortune above books? [see image #14]”  Of course, the clues from the television special were made specifically for the television special (i.e. Bellairs didn’t write them – as far as we know/hope) and not from his book.  However, seeing this movie makes me wonder if there wasn’t some Candleshoe being watched – if not during the writing of the book but during production of the television special.  At any rate the location of the film, Compton Wynyates, looks like something that Bellairs would enjoy.

What do you think?  Or maybe I should take Winterborn’s advice and “believe only half of what [I] read”?

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