The Innocents (1961)

Quint the Ghost watching Sir Christopher Frayling
in the window
whom he has essentially possessed

Over the Holidays I had the opportunity to see The Innocents starring the great Deborah Kerr. The film, based on Henry James's haunting novella "The Turn of The Screw," centers around the governess, Miss Giddens, "who is hired by the uncle of two unwanted orphans to look after them without bothering him about them. Upon arriving she meets the charming, but seriously strange little girl, Flora, and Mrs Gross, the housekeeper. She learns that the brother, Miles, is being expelled and sent home from school for being a bad, perhaps even perverse influence on the other boys. Meeting the smooth, charming and rather creepy Miles, she feels that there must be some sort of mistake. Gradually she learns of the sinister hold on the children that was established by the recently deceased Peter Quint, the valet and the late Miss Jessell, the children's previous governess. Disturbing manifestations, revelations of perversion and suicide, ghostly appearances and evil forebodings occur, and Miss Giddens comes to the conclusion that the children must be confronted about their secret communications with the dead..."

As one reviewer wrote, The Innocents remains, along with Jacques Tourneur's Night of the Demon (1957), Sidney Hayer's Night of the Eagle (1961) and Robert Wise's The Haunting (1963), not only one of the best attempts to present the supernatural in an adult manner, but also, perhaps, the most satisfying and successful," and I would thoroughly acknowledge and agree with that last line, because I find it to be slightly better than The Haunting. The conclusion is quite shocking as well, which elevates this film further up the ladder.

A horrified Deborah Kerr in The Innocents

No comments: