The Innocents

  • Film
  • Horror films

This near-perfect 1961 ghost story, adapted from Henry James’s 1898 novella ‘The Turn of the Screw’, has friends in high places. Martin Scorsese put it in his top ten list of nerve-janglers. ‘Beautifully crafted and acted, immaculately shot… and very scary,’ was his verdict. Deborah Kerr is Miss Giddens, who arrives at a gothic pile to work as governess to orphans Miles and Flora. Her angel-faced charges are good as gold. So why has Miles been expelled from boarding school? And why is there a dead pigeon with its neck broken under his pillow? This really is a masterclass in creepy-kid acting. ‘Don't shout, it does something to your face,’ trills Miles sweetly, his face a mask. ‘It makes you ugly and cruel.’

Miss Giddens becomes convinced the siblings are possessed – by a savage valet and his governess lover, who died recently in the house. Are they possessed? Or are these the twisted fantasies of a never-been-kissed governess? You can watch ‘The Innocents’ twice and walk away with different conclusions. Psychological horrors have imitated its ambiguous ending ever since. Few have pulled it off half as creepily.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday December 13 2013
Duration: 100 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jack Clayton
Screenwriter: William Archibald, Truman Capote
Cast: Deborah Kerr
Martin Stephens
Pamela Franklin
Megs Jenkins
Michael Redgrave
Peter Wyngarde
Clytie Jessop

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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fanbase

No blood, no gore, no real threats, how can this add up to one of the most menacing films ever made? Look at who wrote the original story, look at who did the adaptation, look at the director, the photographer and the atmosphere created by the soundtrack. Oscar Wilde called the story "a most poisonous tale" It has lost nothing in the transfer to film...and how often can that be said?

fanbase

No blood, no gore, no real threats, how can this add up to one of the most menacing films ever made? Look at who wrote the original story, look at who did the adaptation, look at the director, the photographer and the atmosphere created by the soundtrack. Oscar Wilde called the story "a most poisonous tale" It has lost nothing in the transfer to film...and how often can that be said?