The Innocents | 1961 | Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde,

The Innocents | 1961 | Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde,

A wonderfully chilly adaptation of Henry James’s ‘The Turn of the Screw’ starring Deborah Kerr. She plays naive young Miss Giddens, who lands a seemingly easy job in a huge country house as governess. However, she soon comes to suspect that the two children entrusted to her care are possessed, and that the ghosts responsible are lurking around the property.

As Giddens attempts to save the boy, Miles (Stephens), and girl, Flora (Franklin), and comes to doubt her own sanity, director Clayton plays clever tricks on his audience. Is she imagining things? Are we? The ending is brutally logical and chilling.

Skilfully setting the menacing tone from the very first frame, Clayton has never been better, using Freddie Francis’ black-and-white CinemaScope camera to maximize the dread and horror which may or may not be lurking around every corner.

Kerr pitches her difficult part perfectly and if the plotting may seem a over-familiar to a modern audience, at the time of its release The Innocents was a truly original horror film, often imitated but never surpassed.

cast
Deborah Kerr as Miss Giddens
Peter Wyngarde as Peter Quint
Megs Jenkins as Mrs. Grose
Michael Redgrave as The Uncle
Martin Stephens as Miles
Pamela Franklin as Flora
Clytie Jessop as Miss Jessel
Isla Cameron as Anna
Eric Woodburn as The coachman

crew
Art Direction: Wilfred Shingleton
Director Of Photography: Freddie Francis
Camera Operator: Ronnie Taylor
Costume Design: Sophie Devine
Hairstylist: Gordon Bond
Makeup Artist: Harold Fletcher
Additional Writing: John Mortimer
Director: Jack Clayton
Editor: Jim Clark
Producer: Jack Clayton
Executive Producer: Albert Fennell
Music: Georges Auric
Adr & Dubbing: Peter Musgrave
Sound Recordist: Buster Ambler
Sound Editor: Daphne Oram
Sound Effects: Daphne Oram
Sound Recordist: John Cox
Boom Operator: Ken Ritchie
Novel: Henry James
Screenplay: William Archibald
Screenplay: Truman Capote
Script Editor: Jeanie Sims

UK | 100 minutes | 1961

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