The Thirteenth Tale

Synopsis: The story of the residents of Angelfield House and follows ageing novelist Vida Winter, who enlists a young writer to finally tell the story of her life - including her mysterious childhood spent in Angelfield House, which burned to the ground when she was a teenager.
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Director(s): James Kent
Production: Heyday Films
90 min


Is this the moors?

It is.

Good afternoon.

Miss Lea? I'm Miss Winter's housekeeper.

My name is Judith.

Very good. I'll send up

some sandwiches right away.

You must be hungry after

your long journey. Thank you.

Miss Winter expects to see

you in the library at four.

So, Miss Lea, have you

read ANY of my books?

Almost all of them, I think.


You'd better sit down.

Now, if I interpreted your

answer to my letter correctly...'re not exactly leaping at this

very attractive offer I've made you.

Well, I... You'd be guaranteed

a very healthy advance.

Hmm. But I can see from

what you're wearing...'re not particularly

interested in money.

I've written about people

who don't care for money...

...but I never actually

expected to meet one.

Are my books too popular for you?

What exactly makes you hesitate?

I'd like to know what made you

choose me as a potential biographer.


It certainly wasn't your celebrated

biography of the Bronte sisters...

... which I wouldn't dream of reading.


No, what caught my attention, Miss Lea...

was that piece you wrote for

that pretentious little magazine.

...about the Landier sisters, the twins.

Obviously, I've been

doing some research...

...and I couldn't help noticing. the couple of dozen

interviews I looked at... give a different account of

your life in every one of them.

You think I'm a liar?

That isn't quite what I said.

You surely don't think I'm so dull. to trot out the same

story over and over again?

I make things up so

as not to bore myself.

It's my profession. After all,

they're only journalists...

... if you take my point.

I'm not sure that I

do, exactly. I'm sorry.

You don't need to be so polite.

I can't abide politeness.

I always think that being nice...

... is what's left over after

you've failed at everything else.

You're obviously a great success.



Oh, that's better.

Have you a love life?

Oh, wait, wait! Wait!

I have an extraordinary story.

Don't turn your back on it.

It's about twins.

Please, come back.

Come on.

Sit down.

Don't take offence. I'm only

trying to get to know you.

I can't be expected to spill

the secrets of a lifetime. a complete stranger.

But this was your idea.

I thought this is what you wanted to do.

It's not that I want to. I have to. Why?

Because I'm old. I'm dying.


Why else should I subject

myself to all this?


What do you need from me?

I need to be sure that you're

intending to tell me the truth.

I'm a biographer, I deal in facts.

Oh, how stupendously

boring, you poor thing.

Suppose we start by me.

...asking you three independently

verifiable questions?

And then if your answers

are true... Three questions.

Pleasantly traditional.

My first question

- what is your real name?

Ah, I could easily bamboozle you there.

It's Vida Winter. I had

it changed by deed poll.

What you really need to know is

the name I was originally known by.

That's right, yes.

Adeline March.

My next question is your place of birth.

You can check in the records

of St Bart's in London.


Um, I'd like you to tell me

something that happened to you.

...before you changed your name, which

is also a matter of public record.

Hm, I can do that, but first I

have some conditions of my own.

What are they? You must let me

tell my story chronologically.

No interruptions, no questions.

...and no sneaky peeping at the last page.

All right. Good.

Do you believe in ghosts?

That's not a very easy question.

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Christopher Hampton

Christopher James Hampton, CBE, FRSL (born 26 January 1946) is a British playwright, screenwriter, translator and film director. He is best known for his play based on the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses and the film version Dangerous Liaisons (1988) and also more recently for writing the nominated screenplay for the film adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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