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Warning to the Curious, A (1972)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

In 1917, an archaeologist digs in a small forest, looking for the lost crown of Anglia. William Ager insists he stop, even though permission has been obtained from the landlord. The two men struggle and Ager kills the archeologist with a hatchet. Twelve years later, Paxton arrives at Seaburg. He goes to the local hotel and Arnold the Boots tells him that the only other guest is Dr Black, a regular visitor.

Paxton visits the local church and the vicar tells him that the Ager family had for generations guarded the lost crown. The last of them, William, died of tuberculosis in 1917, frustrated that there was no one left from his family to continue the job. As Paxton visits Ager's grave, he notices that a man in the distance is watching him. Paxton goes to an antiques shop looking for old maps and finds a book with the three-crown crest that was previously owned by the Ager family.

Paxton asks Arnold about the Ager family, but he claims never to have heard of them. Paxton visits Ager's old house and fleetingly sees a man walking nearby. At the house he learns that Ager used to stand guard in a spot in the nearby woods. That night, pretending to have to return to London, he goes there and eventually finds the burial ground. He takes the crown, but flees in terror, chased by a ghostly figure.

Back at the hotel, he finds that the book he bought has been cut up with his razor. He tells Dr Black of his find and admits that he was a clerk but is now unemployed and was looking for a way to make a name for himself by finding the crown. He now plans to return the crown and asks Black to accompany him. In his room, as Paxton prepares to leave, his candle blows out. He screams when he sees a man in there crouching.

Black and Paxton take the crown back. The next morning, Black asks Arnold where Paxton is as they were due to walk together. Arnold says he saw Paxton leave with a man he thought was Dr Black. Ager's ghost pursues Paxton back to the burial site. Black arrives just as Paxton is murdered. As Black leaves by train the porter seems to allow an extra person into the carriage, but Black sees no-one.