- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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The children for me are the showcase in this creepy classic. Not too be missed.
FINELY TUNED HORROR
The Innocents is a classic psychological thriller/horror film that relies on a stark setting, taut cinematography, superb performances/script and -- no gore! It all works. The tension is on a relentless track that gives the audience very little down time. Joan The haunting melody that is eerily woven through the film stays with you long after the film is over.I watch The Innocents once a year, around Hallowe'en, and am proud to say I've converted many skeptical movie fans who weren't convinced they'd be creeped out by a film with no zombies jumping out of closets! The black and white pushes creativity on all production points that makes me happy to leave CGI off the menu every once in awhile.Thanks TCM for keeping The Innocents in your October playlist for horror classics.
- kevin sellers
As an account of an adult corrupting a child it's at least as disturbing as the film that came out around the same time and still manages to arouse such furor today, (at least in TCM user review land)"Lolita." It just validates what Henry James, upon whose novella this film is based, as well as Hitchcock have already taught us, that if you wrap it up in a "scary" package you can get away with a lot of kink. I mean, that kiss on the lips (to mention nothing of its necrophiliac sequel) that Deborah Kerr administers to pre pubescent Miles managed to get by the 1961 censorship gods fairly easily, huh? So, put me down as one of those who clearly think the "over imaginative" (i.e. sicko) governess, Miss Giddens, has created the highly sexualized Quint and Miss Jessel out of her own prurient, fevered, repressed brain. As far as the film goes, yeah I agree with the previous reviewer who says that it's over the top, and Deborah Kerr leaves no bit of scenery un gnawed, but it's still a divertingly twisted way to spend a couple of hours. And I love the performance of Megs Jenkins as Mrs. Grose, the stolid, blessedly unimaginative counterweight to Kerr. So, let's give it a solid B. P.S. I know it would have interfered with the claustrophobic atmosphere of Miss Giddens, Mrs. Grose, and the two kids in that creepy house, but I wish Michael Redgrave's wonderfully detached, selfish uncle had made another appearance.
Interesting film that drew me in and hooked me. While some explanations talk about the explicitness of the ghosts, I came away not sure that the governess didn't make it up in her head. Clearly, she's a woman of uncertain mental and emotional stability with very restrictive and repressed passions. The moment that young boy kisses her good night speaks volumes as it's clear the governess is unsettled by this kiss, almost as if she had an erotic reaction to it. As the governess pulls back from the kiss, the camera focuses briefly only on her lips, which are clearly trembling. This seems reinforced by her kiss of the boy at the very end of the movie. Even in the opening credits with the governess talking about how much she loves children, as the camera first focuses on her hands, there is almost a creepy eroticism to my ears. I could be wrong, but, to me, this movie is all about the governess, her instability, and her sexual repression. It calls into question, in my mind, everything she claims to see and understand in the movie. I gave it 5 stars because it's obvious that this is a top production on every level, including Kerr's performance which, to me, reveals a truly disturbed character. I'll probably watch the movie again.
Giddens was raised in a religiously conscious household, was pious, & without a man , around the time Nietzsche declared God to be dead. Demonic entities , posturing as the souls of the deceased illicit lovers, Jessel & Quint, compelled Gidden to rid the house of their presernce- especially when Miles & Flora exhibited inappropriate conductor were drawn away in their imaginations when under their (the demons') spell. Giddens was pictured as mishandling the situation (after reading her Bible) by urging the kids to admit seeing & colluding with the 'ghosts ' causing the complete alienation of Flora & the death of Miles through irreparable trauma. Giddens herself was spellbound at thevery end- planting a kiss on Miles' lifeless lips in her subconscious desire for Miles' inhabitant, Quint! It looks as though Henry James' story confirms the triumph of evil that is today's status quo in the form of absolute deception- running itscourse until it gets finished.
An atmospheric, psychosexual ghost story. Kerr is excellent as a governess who fears her children are being exposed by ghosts of the past; viewers are left to question if there are ghosts or if there the projections of Kerr's imagination. The limited use of ghosts emphasize the uncanniness of the real and create claustrophobic horror. More chilling than scary, this film will have it's audience. I give it a 4/5.
over acted,and way over rated(4 stars really?)15 minutes into the film I didn't care what happened to any of the characters.
This film struck me as not being as frightening as it was disturbing. The child actors are glorious in their roles and, of course, Deborah Kerr is terrific. It does suspend belief, though, in that I'm not one to assert that ghosts come back and inhabit living bodies. What bothers me most, however, is the ending. There are no consequences shown for Kerr's character and we don't know if she was fired, thrown in jail or whatever. Her employer would most definitely want an accounting as to what occurred and the constabulary would too. The housekeeper would testify against her, as would the boy's sister. The evidence itself would scream guilt. Too much is left up in the air at the end. I also did not understand the full-on-the-lips kiss at the end. Perhaps it was a continuation of the one earlier in the film but it made no sense at the end. I spent a Friday afternoon viewing this film so it wasn't a total loss for me. I won't be viewing it again, though.
The Innocents - Thinking person's scary
What is still remarkable about this movie is how it gets under your skin if you take the ride. It is purposely slower at times to allow for back-story and build up. It doesn't need blood, gore, or extremes. You get mystery, creepy, atmospheric and foreboding. You also get subtext implications when they're made. Freddie Francis did the cinematography...which is especially good (a fine director in his own right as well) and Clayton's direction is amazing. Turn the lights out and the sound up (best way to appreciate all the creepy/cool flourishes). This is based on Henry James' "Turn of the Screw". While it's been filmed since and it inspired a kinky prequel with Marlon Brando (The Nightcombers), there is nothing like this version (anchored by Deborah Kerr). It's just a great ghost story with great execution.
Except for the wonderful acting of the children in this movie it made little sense. The governess seemed more neurotic than anything and the ending is ridiculous. The child dies, would it not be best to let him be. I would never watch this movie again and wish i never had.
One of the best films I've ever seen
- Oxana Szwec
Beautiful black & white cinematography, scenery, costuming and presentation of the victorian era. Brilliant performances by the actors, especially the children (all well cast) and superb dialog. Gripping, suspenseful and completely unpredictable with some lovely special effects. One of the best films I've ever scene (pun intended :)
- Dashiell Barnes
One of the creepiest films I've seen. The atmospheric B&W mansion is creepy in day scenes & terrifying at night. Miss Kerr gives a great performance as Miss Giddens, a woman who as she learns more about the past, becomes more intense & determined to save her children. The scene where she's in a classroom & hears a ghost behind her is startling, however as she walks towards the ghost, it's gone & all that's left is a teardrop on a chalk board. That's the most terrifying scene for me. If you like horror films with a few dull scenes this film is for you. I give this a 3/5.
- Richard Noegel
The finest and most engaging horror film ever made. And with a screenplay by Truman Capote based upon the novella ("The Turn of the Screw") by Henry James, how could it not be? With Deborah Kerr in the lead role and Michael Redgrave in a brief cameo as "The Uncle," along with little Pamela Franklin ("The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" with Maggie Smith and "The Nanny" with Bette Davis), it is a real winner. This B&W film is very "atmospheric," and, like "Agnes of God," it leaves the viewer uncertain as to just what happens every step of the way--including the very last scene. So it is not only a real, honest-to-goodness ghost story--maybe--but also a total mystery. It even takes place in an isolated and spooky mansion in the English countryside, and yet it is not in the least "clich-ish". The screenplay is true to the original novella, including the uncertainly as to whether the ghosts are real or whether the entire plot is only in the perhaps-tortured psyche of the Deborah Kerr character. It is entirely satisfying and it remains THE best ghost story ever put on film. Superb casting, acting, direction. SEE IT! You'll be hooked!
I saw this film when I was a relatively young boy and it stuck with me as one of the most chilling ghost stories I had ever seen. Just saw it again - comfortably into middle age - and found it every bit as frightening as before. The subtlety is a refreshing change from so many of the overblown efforts of recent years. A wonderful classic.
Not to be viewed alone...
- Kari Ellis
As a horror movie fan, this is the only movie I watch with THE LIGHTS ON! True to the Henry James story, the black and white only adds to the mystery, horror and ambiguity of the story. Kerr is fantastic, some of her best work. Add to your collection and invite superstitious friends over to watch...IN THE DARK!
- Silent in the Dark
This is a spine chilling film that will keep you gessing through out the film. Has an unexpected ending with a fearful twist. This movie I would Recomed to any one who likes old horror films.