“The Last Chapter” based on John Fowles’ story now on DVD

In 1974, a 30-minute short film was produced in Great Britain entitled The Last Chapter, based on an unpublished short story by John Fowles.  Directed by David Tringham, it stars the fine British character actor Denholm Elliott as a middle-aged Ian Fleming style thriller writer whose visions of his fantasy novels feature him pursuing a secret agent (played by Geraldine Moffatt).  Susan Penhaligon co-stars as a teenage girl who throws into turmoil the successful author’s work regime.

The Last Chapter has never been available on video or DVD until now.  It is included as a special feature extra in the recent DVD and Blu-ray release of the 1971 British film Private Road.  It can be purchased in either a Region 2 (European) or Multi-region (also plays in North America) format.

The Last Chapter was not Fowles’ only foray into “thriller” territory.  According to his biographer, Eileen Warburton, Fowles wrote a book entitled The Device shortly after completing The French Lieutenant’s Woman.  Ultimately rejected by his publisher, The Device was 531 pages involving weapons smuggling, international espionage and romance.  The manuscript currently resides at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.