Friday, October 09, 2009

The Innocents (1961)

I remember the first time I saw The Innocents. It was a dark and story night, and I had been sick and was sitting up in my bed late at night. At a particularly tense moment in the film there was a huge flash of lightening and an almost immediate clap of thunder, and our electricity went out. It was years later before I saw the movie all the way through, and it's always felt creepier to me than other people seem to find it. The film is a 1961 horror movie starring Deborah Kerr and Michael Redgrave. It's based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. The book can be read online here.

Moria describes it as "one of the most cerebral and subtle of ghost stories," and says it "remains without any question the best adaptation of the tale." Bright Lights Film Journal says, "Jack Clayton's film still manages to have its way with us, ravishing the viewer to a degree many films of its genre never dreamed possible." The Guardian calls it "An impressively creepy adaptation". Variety starts out saying it "catches an eerie, spine-chilling mood right at the start and never lets up on its grim, evil theme." The New York Times says,
Mr. Clayton and Miss Kerr have neglected to interpret the tale and character with sufficient incisiveness and candor to give us a first-rate horror or psychological film. But they've given us one that still has interest and sends some formidable chills down the spine.

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