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The Innocents (1961)

Approved | | Fantasy, Horror | 19 February 1962 (Sweden)
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A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.

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(novel), (additional scenes & dialogue) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Megs Jenkins ...
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Clytie Jessop ...
Isla Cameron ...
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Apparitions? Evils? Corruptions? See more »

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

19 February 1962 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The Turn of the Screw  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Average Shot Length = ~9.2 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~8.6 seconds. See more »

Goofs

Miss Giddens is wearing one dress when Flora bursts in to tell them to come see Miles riding the horse. When they run outside, Miss Giddens is wearing a different dress. See more »

Quotes

Miss Giddens: But above anything else, I love the children.
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Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.88 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

O Willow Waly
Music by Georges Auric
Lyrics by Paul Dehn
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Superb psychological horror!
8 October 2003 | by (England) – See all my reviews

Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), a nineteenth century British governess, is appointed to take care of two children, Flora (Pamela Franklin) and Miles (Martin Stephens). Upon arriving at the bleak mansion she meets the housekeeper (Megs Jenkins) and also Flora. Miles arrives a few days later from school. The children seem like little angels but, following a series of bizarre events and examples of the children's wicked impulses, Miss Giddens begins to suspect that all is not what it seems.

This dark and atmospheric tale is a wonderful example of how to create an admirable horror movie that, although has violent undertones, features very little violence when all is said and done. ‘The Innocents' is certainly a psychological horror movie which leaves in doubt how much of the inexplicable happenings are supernatural, and how much is in the mind of the protagonist, Miss Giddens. Director Jack Clayton uses some astonishing visual trickery and ghostly effects to create and maintain a very unsettling atmosphere, almost from the very beginning. A number of effective ghostly apparitions are displayed on screen during the movie from varying distances which gives ‘The Innocents' a constant, foreboding atmosphere. The way some scene changes blend with the end of the previous scene are rather disconcerting and almost dream like as there are long lingering images, once again, wholly adding to the effect. Some of the dialogue may seem a little unrealistic, but in general the movie is well scripted and features a few very dramatic scenes thanks to some delightfully written dialogue and strong acting performances. William Archibald and Truman Capote both won awards for their script writing.

The only real fault with ‘The Innocents' is how fast the film moves along. Miss Giddens seems to realise the truth of what is happening all too quickly. This does not make ‘The Innocents' less enjoyable, but it would have been nice to have had an extra ten minutes or so explaining the story to us a bit more. ‘The Innocents' has a sustained tone of dread throughout the movie. It seems that Miss Giddens is unable to move without being confronted by some spectre or seeing some rather peculiar behaviour exhibited from the children. I'd compare the dark atmosphere with that of ‘The Haunting' (1963), both movies are comparable in the way they are presented and are both aesthetically pleasing. The acting was of a high standard, though one must forgive the two young performers if they occasionally seemed to overact. Martin Stephens was very good as Miles, playing his sinister part with an awful power, even though the character's superciliousness became somewhat of an annoyance. Megs Jenkins was also delightful as the anxious housekeeper Mrs. Grose. From the moment Mrs. Grose is first introduced the viewer can begin to suspect something. Jenkins came across as a friendly, but scared, woman who is desperate to maintain decorum in the house. A fine performance suited her character marvellously. One must also mention Deborah Kerr's fine performance as Miss Giddens as she played it with the right balance of inquisitiveness and fear. Deborah's dramatic performance certainly helped make this movie fantastic and one sympathises with her deeply as the film ends on the sombre and heartbreaking note that it does.

‘The Innocents' is an elegant and stylish movie that is certainly worth watching. Fans of ‘The Omen' and ‘Village of the Damned' should enjoy this as well as any fan of dark, atmospheric horror. A strong screenplay, fine performances and breathtaking visual trickery make this movie a very pleasing addition to the horror genre and I highly recommend it to all. ‘The Innocents' was able to scoop a BAFTA Award (British Academy of Film and Television Awards) for Best British Film as well as a BAFTA nomination for Jack Clayton which he thoroughly deserved. My rating for ‘The Innocents' - 8/10.


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Hmmm, maybe the kids are more evil than you thought xstrguy
This is one of those movies... geekeh
On Second viewing not a ghost story at all... nutritionist
Others like this? writejulia
How does she know? tpupkin
Has anyone read the book by Henry James? "The Turn of the Screw". CutieButCranky
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