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Deborah Kerr stars in this "horrifying Gothic ghost tale" (Newsweek) based on Henry James' "The Turn Of The Screw,' a powerful psychological drama about innocence possessed by evil. Shortly after coming to live with orphans Flora and Miles in their dark, eerie mansion, the new governess (Kerr) mistakes their strange behavior for preciousness. But she soon comes to believe that the charming, beautiful children are possessed by evil, malicious spirits - the souls of their previous governess and estate manager who are now dead. With its shocking conclusion and sinister cinematic effects. The Innocents "catches an eerie, spine-chilling mood right from the start" (Variety) that never lets up.
The definitive screen adaptation of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, the 1961 production of The Innocents remains one of the most effective ghost stories ever filmed. Originally promoted as the first truly "adult" chiller of the big screen (a marginally valid claim considering the release of Psycho a year earlier), the film arrived at a time when the thematic depth of James's story could finally be addressed without the compromise of reductive discretion. And while the Freudian anxiety that fuels the story may seem tame by today's standards, the psychological horrors that comprise the story's "dark secret" are given full expression in a film that brilliantly clouds the boundary between tragic reality and frightful imagination.
In one of her finest performances, Deborah Kerr stars as Miss Giddons, a devout and somewhat repressed spinster who happily accepts the position of governess for two orphaned children whose uncle (Michael Redgrave) readily admits to having no interest in being tied down by two "brats." So Miss Giddons is dispatched to Bly House, the lavish, shadowy estate where young Flora (Pamela Franklin) and her brother Miles (Martin Stephens, so memorable in 1960's Village of the Damned) live with a good-natured housekeeper (Megs Jenkins). At first, life at Bly House seems splendidly idyllic, but as Miss Giddons learns the horrible truth about the estate's now-deceased groundskeeper and previous governess, she begins to suspect that her young charges are ensnared in a devious plot from beyond the grave.
Ghostly images are revealed in only the most fleeting glimpses, and the outstanding Cinemascope photography by Freddie Francis (who used special filters to subtly darken the edges of the screen) turns Bly House into a welcoming mansion by day, a maze of mystery and terror by night. Sound effects and music are used to bone-chilling effect, and director Jack Clayton, blessed with a script by William Archibald and Truman Capote, maintains a deliberate pace to emphasize the ambiguity of James's timeless novella. The result is a masterful film--comparable to the 1963 classic The Haunting--that uses subtlety and suggestion to reach the pinnacle of fear. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
All of the ghost sightings are handled in a powerfully surreal way. The sight of Miss Jessel's ghost on a distant bank is inexplicably terrifying, maybe because her blank stillness is so incongruous with what we're used to in this genre, which usually depicts ghosts as being in various stages of raging histrionics. Somehow, the stillness of this one terrifies more. Her stillness creates an unbearable tension. You feel on the edge of your seat with the idea that she may suddenly look at you, or scream, explode somehow into violence, so that finally the very idea that she may move at all is unbearable, and it's a relief when the camera cuts away from her and she's off the screen. (Although as with any good suspense, you want it to come right back and scare you again!Read more ›
Deborah Kerr's character is hired as a Governess to care for two young children. Both children were mainly in the care of their very well-to-do Uncle that is not so great at taking care of anything but his own needs but his niece and nephew are looked after well inspite of his ego. Kerr's character is interviewed by the Uncle to care for his young family and was somewhat persuaded to take the job because of his flirtations win her over.
Little did she know that upon entering the job, the new Governess was quickly hurried to a mansion in the country away from everyone and anything. The children had a house-maid that watched over them but she couldn't be a Mother like the job entitled her to be. The children lost their parents when they were very young and they both went through two prior tenants that Kerr was instantly replacing as Governess. She was told that both tenants had died but not how within year of her new job.
Kerr fell in love with the children and quickly noticed how much they both loved one another as siblings. So much love, that they took on strange and frightining personalities that began to scare the Governess. Obligated to find the answer for the behavior, Kerr nearly met her own death and termination of her job while trying to take hold of the forces that were around her and beginning to take shape physically.
I loved this film and I will not reveal the entire story but I will say that it didn't " drag along " the story. It is worth it's weight and gold!!!!
Most recent customer reviews
One of the best 'horror' movies, not that there's much competition. Worth a blind buy if you haven't seen it yet but like creepy movies. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Whateverman
This adaptation of Henry James's "Turning of the Screw" never fails to scare my socks off. I have many favourite moments in this film, but I'm not going to tell you about... Read morePublished on July 25 2013 by D. G. Anderson
After "The Ininvited" (1944), this has to be the best ghost story ever. It may have been "bested" by Robert Wise's "The Haunting" (1963), but there's... Read morePublished on April 29 2004 by R. Gawlitta
This film is very scary. I once watched it when i was very young and i couldn't sleep for years!!!
I watched it recently and it was very good.
(...)It would be wrong to contribute this film to a long list of ghost stories per se, for these ghosts as we perceive them, are far removed from the 'boo' variety that so many of... Read morePublished on Jan. 21 2004 by Mary F. Sibley
THE INNOCENTS is an incredible adaptation of Henry James' literary masterpiece THE TURN OF THE SCREW. Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2003
I didn't like the storyline and I especially didn't care for the ending.Published on June 18 2003 by Roxxy D'Burtonite