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The Witches (1966)

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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(screenplay), (novel) (as Peter Curtis)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Kay Walsh ...
...
Alan Bax
...
Sally Benson
...
Linda Rigg (as Ingrid Brett)
John Collin ...
Dowsett
...
Gwen Ffrangcon Davies ...
Granny Rigg (as Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies)
...
Bob Curd
...
Dr. Wallis
...
Ronnie Dowsett
Carmel McSharry ...
Mrs. Dowsett
Viola Keats ...
Mrs. Curd
...
Mrs. Creek
Bryan Marshall ...
Tom
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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 »

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Horror

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

February 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Own  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a later magazine interview, Nigel Kneale said that he was dissatisfied with the way the film had turned out. Personally, he found modern black magic practitioners to be fairly risible and he had intended to poke fun at the idea of an English coven. His blackly comic touches were removed by the production team, who wanted the film to be entirely serious. Conceding the film to be well-cast, he felt the ending lacked the necessary menace needed to avoid the unintentional-but-inherent silliness of the situation. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Five Million Years to Earth (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Superior Hammer thriller
22 July 2008 | by See all my reviews

Kudos to the multiple other posters who recognize this as a winner! It's hard, indeed, to understand why other Hammer fans ignore this entry, particularly since its script is far more literate than many of their other pictures from the same time frame. In any case, the Hammer production team does a wonderful job here of conveying the small village ambiance and the screenplay follows Norah Loft's novel very closely. What makes this film so distinctive is its understatement--the horror when it emerges is all the more disquieting since everything seems so idyllic.

Miss Fontaine is superb. Note her scene near the beginning when she is questioned about her nervous breakdown during a job interview. She brings to the sequence and its halting tragic dialogue, the same reticent, diffident charm she displayed nearly 30 years earlier when she explained the death of her father to Olivier in "Rebecca." Eerily, these two scenes seem oddly connected despite the passage of time. What a pro she was! All in all, "The Witches" is a star in both Hammer and Miss Fontaine's crown. Recommended.


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