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The Innocents (1961)

Approved  |   |  Horror  |  19 February 1962 (Sweden)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 17,529 users  
Reviews: 193 user | 143 critic

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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Title: The Innocents (1961)

The Innocents (1961) on IMDb 7.9/10

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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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Martin Stephens ...
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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:

Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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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

"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 »

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

Flora: [singing] We lay my love and I, beneath the weeping willow. But now alone I lie and weep beside the tree. Singing "Oh willow waly" by the tree that weeps with me. Singing "Oh willow waly" till my lover return to me. We lay my love and I beneath the weeping willow. A broken heart have I. Oh willow I die, oh willow I die...
See more »

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

Version of The Haunting of Helen Walker (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

O Willow Waly
Music by Georges Auric
Lyrics by Paul Dehn
See more »

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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Hmmm, maybe the kids are more evil than you thought xstrguy
How does she know? tpupkin
This is one of those movies... geekeh
On Second viewing not a ghost story at all... nutritionist
Others like this? writejulia
Quite unbearable gypsyola
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