The Innocents (1961)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

USA, 1961.  Twentieth Century Fox.  Screenplay by , , additional scenes & dialogue by , based on the novel The Turn Of The Screw by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Jack Clayton.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Spellbinding horror film that is based on the play of the same name, which was itself adapted from the novel The Turn of The Screw by Henry James. Deborah Kerr is riveting as a nineteenth century governess who is brought to a spooky old mansion to look after two orphaned children, a little girl who is moody and lonely and a boy who has been sent home from boarding school for unexplained wickedness. Things start going bump in the night a little after her arrival, making Kerr worry about the safety of the precious little angels she has to come to love so dearly. It soon begins to dawn on her, however, that her charges are being spiritually invaded by the ghosts of their dead governess and the house’s former valet, who by all accounts was the dead woman’s thwarted lover. Great, moody black-and-white photography and tightscrew direction by Jack Clayton contribute to some genuine heart-stopping terror as our heroine races against time to save the children from a fate worse than death. It’s one of the most wonderful films in the genre ever made, with a screenplay by Truman Capote.

Cannes Film Festival:  In Competition

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