The Raging Moon

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The Raging Moon
"The Raging Moon" (1971).jpg
British 1-sheet poster by Arnaldo Putzu
Directed by Bryan Forbes
Produced by Bruce Curtis
Written by Bryan Forbes
Based on novel by Peter Marshall
Starring Malcolm McDowell
Nanette Newman
Georgia Brown
Barry Jackson
Cinematography Tony Imi
Edited by Timothy Gee
Distributed by MGM-EMI
Release date
Running time
110 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £260,000[1]

The Raging Moon (released in the US as Long Ago, Tomorrow) is a 1971 British film starring Malcolm McDowell and Nanette Newman and based on the book by British novelist Peter Marshall.[2] Adapted and directed by Bryan Forbes (Newman's husband), this 'romance in wheelchairs' was considered unusual in its time owing to the sexual nature of the relationship between McDowell and Newman, who play disabled people. The film received two Golden Globe nominations, for Best Foreign Film (English Language), and Best Song for Long Ago Tomorrow.[3]


Bruce Pritchard (Malcolm McDowell) is a 24-year-old working-class man and amateur soccer player with a passion for life. All this changes when he suddenly finds himself struck down by an incurable degenerative disease and needing to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He makes a self-imposed exile to a church-run home for the disabled, believing that it is best for his immediate family to forget about him the way he is now. His bitterness at his fate and his dislike of the rules and regulations of the place only serve to make him more withdrawn and angry at his enforced imprisonment.

Pritchard gets to know a fellow patient, Jill Matthews (Nanette Newman), a 31-year-old woman from a wealthy family, also a wheelchair user due to polio. Bruce begins to harbour romantic affections for Mathews but before he can make his feelings known in a letter, she leaves the institution to return home and marry long-time fiancé Geoffrey. But Jill quickly realizes the relationship is half-hearted on Geoffrey's part, and after breaking off the engagement she returns to the institution.

Gradually she is able to get through Pritchard's shell of cynicism and lack of respect for authority, bringing back life to his existence. In the process, the two begin to fall in love and admit their feelings for each other, consummating a relationship. But their sexual encounter is physically dangerous for Matthews, who dies the day after the couple makes love for the first time.



Peter Marshall's novel was originally published in 1964.[4] The following year director Robert Butler bought the screen rights to it and another Marshall novel, Two Lives.[5]

The novel was adapted for television by the BBC in 1967.[6]

Film rights eventually went to producer Bruce Curtis, nephew of Harry Cohn, who had just made Otley. He initially tried to finance the film through Columbia, but was turned down.[7] Shelagh Delany wrote a script.[8]

Bryan Forbes came on board the project as writer and director. Forbes decided to increase the age of the characters and write the lead role for his wife, Nanette Newman.[9]

Forbes was in the unusual position of being able to green light his own film as he was head of production for EMI at the time.[10]

Forbes commented that he was highly criticized in some quarters for directing a film while running the studio, even though he did not take any extra salary as the director. Once the film was made some executives at EMI did not want it released but Forbes held a successful test screening which secured company support.[1]


The film was not a success at the box office in the UK.[11]

The film was bought for distribution in the US by Don Rugoff who spent a large amount on advertising. The American release used a new title and had two minutes cut from the wedding sequence.[9]


  1. ^ a b Bryan Forbes, A Divided Life, Mandarin Paperbacks, 1993 p 174, 180-183
  2. ^ "The Raging Moon (1970)". BFI. 
  3. ^ "Long Ago Tomorrow - Golden Globes". 
  4. ^ A LONG ISLAND ELECTRA: NEW NOVELS Coleman, John. The Observer 28 June 1964: 25.
  5. ^ Randall Is Morocco-Bound Los Angeles Times 18 Sep 1965: b8.
  6. ^ Playing with People Potter, Dennis. New Statesman; London Vol. 74, (Jul 1, 1967): 239.
  7. ^ Dropping the Scalpel: Film Notes Columbia Frowns Speeds the Turnover Refuge From Roles By Judith Martin. The Washington Post, Times Herald 28 Feb 1969: B12.
  8. ^ What's So Happy About Love, Anyway? By A. H. WEILER. New York Times 23 Mar 1969: D19.
  9. ^ a b Tomorrow's love story Kramer, Carol. Chicago Tribune 5 Dec 1971: o19.
  10. ^ He Says, 'Yes, Yes, Nanette': He Says, 'Yes, Yes, Nanette' By JOHN GRUEN. New York Times 24 Oct 1971: D11.
  11. ^ The eclipse of the moon man Malcom, Derek. The Guardian, 26 March 1971: 15.

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