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The Witches (1966)

 -  Horror  -  February 1967 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 1,252 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 32 critic

Following a horrifying experience with the occult in Africa, a schoolteacher moves to a small English village, only to discover that black magic resides there as well.

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Title: The Witches (1966)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Gwen Mayfield
Kay Walsh ...
Stephanie Bax
...
Alan Bax
Ann Bell ...
Sally Benson
Ingrid Boulting ...
Linda Rigg (as Ingrid Brett)
John Collin ...
Dowsett
Michele Dotrice ...
Valerie Creek
Gwen Ffrangcon Davies ...
Granny Rigg (as Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies)
Duncan Lamont ...
Bob Curd
...
Dr. Wallis
Martin Stephens ...
Ronnie Dowsett
Carmel McSharry ...
Mrs. Dowsett
Viola Keats ...
Mrs. Curd
Shelagh Fraser ...
Mrs. Creek
Bryan Marshall ...
Tom
Edit

Storyline

An English school teacher outposted in Africa has a run in with the local witch doctor and suffers a nervous breakdown. After recovering back in England she takes a job teaching in a small country town hoping to make a new start for herself. All goes well at first, until she starts to hear some disturbing stories about the town. She soon discovers the town is home to a coven of witches and they plan to sacrifice a local girl in one of their rituals. Written by Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A STRANGER IN A TOWN THAT HAS LOST ITS MIND ...IF SHE'S NOT CAREFUL, SHE MAY LOSE HER'S TOO! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

February 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Own  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is Joan Fontaine's last big screen film. See more »

Connections

Featured in The World of Hammer: Wicked Women (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not among Hammers' best, but not all that bad.
25 May 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This interesting if not altogether successful production for Britains' legendary Hammer Studios has a generally intriguing plot (it's scripted by Nigel Kneale, based on a novel by Norah Lofts) but it tends to become much less interesting after a crucial turn in the story, and leads to a less than satisfactory resolution. That's too bad, because the material did have some potential.

Perhaps part of the problem is that Hammer was always so good with their period pieces that there's a lack of truly oppressive atmosphere with this contemporary set tale. After a hell of a start, the film, which could indeed have used a more masterful director like Terence Fisher at the helm, slowly loses its grip.

Joan Fontaine made her last appearance in a theatrical feature here, from then on only acting on TV. The star of Hitchcocks' "Rebecca" and "Suspicion" plays Gwen Mayfield, a teacher who after a traumatic experience in Africa comes to the small English village of Heddaby to instruct at its local school. She'll soon come to suspect that some of the citizens are up to no good...but she'll have no idea just how big the problem is.

The lovely Ms. Fontaine is appealing and sympathetic in the lead, and she receives solid support from an exemplary cast - Kay Walsh, Alec McCowen, Ann Bell, Ingrid Boulting, John Collin, Michele Dotrice, Gwen Ffrangcon Davies, Duncan Lamont, Leonard Rossiter, and Martin Stephens. As could be expected, this is a good looking Hammer production, well designed and photographed and featuring an eerie score composed by Richard Rodney Bennett.

Admittedly, this can't compare to the best that Hammer has to offer, but it remains watchable enough until its finale. It may work better for those who aren't fans of the studio to begin with.

Six out of 10.


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