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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:

A strange new experience in shock. See more »

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

19 February 1962 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The Turn of the Screw  »

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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

Megs Jenkins later reprised her role as Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw (1974), in which Michael Redgrave's daughter Lynn Redgrave played the governess Miss Jane Cubberly. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Miles: What shall I sing to my lord from my window? What shall I sing for my lord will not stay? What shall I sing for my lord will not listen? Where shall I go when my lord is away? Whom shall I love when the moon is arisen? Gone is my lord and the grave is his prison. What shall I say when my lord comes a calling? What shall I say when he knocks on my door? What shall I say when his feet enter softly? Leaving the marks of his grave on my floor. Enter my lord. Come from your prison. Come from your ...
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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 Believe (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
A Masterpiece
9 November 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Miss Giddens, an uptight but pretty young woman, takes a job as a Governess for two orphans on a grandiose estate in the English countryside. Flora and Miles seem like thoroughly innocent and angelic children, but soon, whispers of corruption begin to materialize. Miles is expelled from school for reasons he is reluctant to discuss. Miss Giddens learns of the fate of the prior governess, a masochistic young woman named Miss Jessel who was having an affair with a sadistic man named Quint. Soon, Miss Giddens is seeing the ghosts of the arrogantly handsome Quint and the forlorn Miss Jessel everywhere and comes to believe that the children have been possessed. But is she only imagining these horrors? And will she destroy the children in her attempt to save them?

This movie is creepy, claustrophobic and totally paranoid. Filmed in moody black and white with an almost non-existent musical score (other than the chilling song "Willow Waylee" sung in a child's voice over the opening credits and throughout the film) "The Innocents" is a flawless suspense drama. I hesitate to call it a ghost story, as the presence of the ghosts is never confirmed (or denied, for that matter.) Nor is the sanity of the main character. Is the prim English Governess (played with classic elegance by Deborah Kerr) simply an uptight prude having obscene fantasies, or are the two children she's caring for really possessed by the evil and perverted spirits of the former governess and her sadistic lover? There's no gore, no stupid incidental music, no insufferably adorable children and no happy ending. Unspoken horrors, dark secrets and things that "decent people" don't discuss, fill this film with sick shadows and diseased memories. Whether or not the ghosts exist is a moot point by films end. This film is about corruption and perversion. Indeed, there are no "Innocents" in this film...only the facade of innocence, a flimsy backdrop of beauty drawn over the ugly, festering truth. But what IS the truth?

This film is a masterpiece of dread and still has the power to disturb even some forty years later. I would highly recommend it to ghost enthusiasts and psych majors alike!


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Message Boards

Recent Posts
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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