In Victorian England, the uncle of orphaned niece Flora and nephew Miles hires Miss Giddens as governess to raise the children at his estate with total independence and authority. Soon after her arrival, Miss Giddens comes to believe that the spirits of the former governess Miss Jessel and valet Peter Quint are possessing the children. Miss Giddens decides to help the children to face and exorcise the spirits. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
"The Innocents" was the big career break for veteran film editor Jim Clark. They became close friends and regular drinking buddies during the production because they were both recently divorced and lived near each other. In his 2010 memoir "Dream Repairman", Clark described the editing of the film as an easy and pleasurable experience, largely because of Clayton's meticulous approach to film making. Clark also explained how he created unusually long cross-fades for the scene transitions - these ran four or five times longer that standard "4 foot" dissolves and often included a near-subliminal third element in the cross-fades. Clark described Clayton as "a big drinker who used to tipple all day - mostly brandy - and he was a chain smoker". He also noted Clayton's "perverse sense of humor", and expressed the view that Clayton (who, in his view, was "highly influenced" by his earlier contact with John Huston) also emulated Huston's "sadistic sense of practical joking". Clayton's personal assistant Jeannie Sims (who had previously worked for Huston) had been badly burned as a child, leaving her with scars on her hands and face, and she was terrified of fire, but according to Clark, Clayton "made it his business to try and set Jeanie alight as often as possible. He would go to enormous lengths, preparing bonfires that Jeanie would supposedly be put onto." Clark also revealed that, while generally charming, and revered by his crew, Clayton was sometimes prone to outbursts of extreme anger. He recounted an incident in which Jeanie Sims was unavoidably late calling Clayton with the reviews from the London critics' screening of "The Innocents", which Clayton was too nervous to attend. The screening was held up for over half an hour because of problems getting a senior film critic (who was wheelchair-bound) into the cinema, and after Sims finally contacted Clayton by phone, she returned to Clark ashen-faced and explained that Clayton had flown into a rage, and had viciously berated her over the phone for being late. When Sims called Clark to come to Clayton's studio office the next morning, he arrived to find that, the night before, Clayton had completely smashed the large plaster scale model of Bly House (the fictional location for the movie), and that he was refusing to speak to either of them. Although they patched up the friendship, Clark later opined that he felt his close relationship with Clayton had "crossed the line" of the professional relationship between an editor and a director. Although Clark worked with Clayton on his next film, "The Pumpkin Eater" (1964), their professional relationship and friendship effectively ended with that film - after it was released, Clayton inexplicably sent Clark a highly abusive letter, blaming him for the commercial failure of the film - although Clark later postulated that it might have been actually written by Jeanie Sims, because the letter was typed, and he knew that Clayton never used a typewriter. See more »
During Miss Gidden's interview with The Uncle, a clock can be heard striking the Westminster Chimes half hour. The Uncle goes to a mantel clock checking his watch. The mantel clock shows 10 past 11:00. The Uncle touches the clock dial, but does not correct the time. See more »
The film begins with a totally black screen and the sound of Flora singing for several seconds; then the 20th Century Fox logo fades in and out. The singing continues for a few seconds before the opening credits begin. As the credits display, we see an anguished Miss Giddens praying on the left side of the screen. Her actions are not explained until the film's climax. See more »
Jack Clayton's sensitivity proves it, there is no need of blood and disgust to make a good creepy thriller! I saw many films in my life and I learned to love Bergman, Kubrick, Kieslowski, Leone, Allen, but I really believe that I enjoyed no other film as much as "The Innocents"! Outstanding cast and outstanding photographed! The music of Georges Auric is perfect (included an old death-yearning song "O willow waly"). If you ever go for a trip to England, go and see the wonderful location "Sheffield Park Garden in Sussex". This is not only an intelligent and incredible atmospheric film, it is a weird journey into a spiritual world. And perhaps Clayton's direction went too far, because unfortunately this gem never found an audience! After a novel "The turn of the screw" by Henry James. One more tip, if you ever have the chance to see this Cinemascope-film in a movie theater, do it! It really is overwhelming!!!
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