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The Witches
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The Witches (1966) More at IMDbPro »

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The Witches -- US Home Video Trailer from Hammer

Overview

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5.9/10   1,392 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Nigel Kneale (screenplay) and
Norah Lofts (novel)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Witches on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
February 1967 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
WHAT DO "THE DEVIL'S OWN" DO AFTER DARK? See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Witch me a skin for dancing in ... quick, where's that athame? See more (41 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Joan Fontaine ... Gwen Mayfield
Kay Walsh ... Stephanie Bax

Alec McCowen ... 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

Leonard Rossiter ... Dr. Wallis
Martin Stephens ... Ronnie Dowsett
Carmel McSharry ... Mrs. Dowsett
Viola Keats ... Mrs. Curd
Shelagh Fraser ... Mrs. Creek
Bryan Marshall ... Tom
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yemi Ajibade ... Mark (uncredited)
Kitty Atwood ... Mrs. McDowall (uncredited)
John Barrett ... Mr. Glass (uncredited)
Roy Desmond ... Dancer (uncredited)
Catherine Finn ... Nurse (uncredited)
Prudence Hyman ... Stephanie's Maid (uncredited)
Lizbeth Kent ... First Villager (uncredited)
Artro Morris ... Porter (uncredited)
Willie Payne ... Adam (uncredited)
Charles Rea ... Police Sergeant (uncredited)
Ken Robson ... Dancer (uncredited)
Brian Todd ... Dancer (uncredited)
Don Vernon ... Dancer (uncredited)
Rudolph Walker ... Mark (uncredited)
Terry Williams ... Dancer (uncredited)

Directed by
Cyril Frankel 
 
Writing credits
Nigel Kneale  screenplay and
Norah Lofts  novel "The Devil's Own" (as Peter Curtis)

Produced by
Anthony Nelson Keys .... producer
 
Original Music by
Richard Rodney Bennett 
 
Cinematography by
Arthur Grant 
 
Film Editing by
Chris Barnes 
 
Casting by
Irene Lamb 
 
Production Design by
Bernard Robinson 
 
Art Direction by
Don Mingaye 
 
Makeup Department
George Partleton .... makeup
Frieda Steiger .... hair stylist
 
Production Management
Charles Permane .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
David Tringham .... assistant director
Terence Churcher .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Feliks Sergejak .... scenic artist (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Roy Hyde .... sound editor
Ken Rawkins .... sound recordist
Charles Wheeler .... boom operator (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Peter Diamond .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Cecil Cooney .... camera operator (as Cece Cooney)
Eddie Collins .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Tom Edwards .... still photographer (uncredited)
David Harcourt .... camera operator (uncredited)
Bob Jordan .... focus puller (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Molly Arbuthnot .... wardrobe supervisor
Harry Haynes .... wardrobe master
 
Editorial Department
James Needs .... supervising editor
Tony Lenny .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Philip Martell .... musical supervisor
 
Other crew
Anne Deeley .... continuity
Denys Palmer .... choreographer
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Devil's Own" - USA
See more »
Runtime:
90 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Certification:
UK:12 (DVD rating) | UK:X (original rating) | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Joan Fontaine reportedly purchased the film rights to Norah Lofts' novel (written under the nom-de-plume of Peter Curtis) and brought the project to Hammer.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Five Million Years to Earth (1967)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
23 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
Witch me a skin for dancing in ... quick, where's that athame?, 16 December 1999
Author: Gothick from Boston, Mass., USA

The Witches, which is much better known in America by its US release title The Devil's Own, is one of those legendary films made great because the supporting actress completely upstages the star. (Think Grayson Hall in Night of the Iguana, or Sylvia Miles in Midnight Cowboy.) In her autobiography, Miss Joan Fontaine, who had acquired the film rights to the novel years before, complains at length about the "primitive" working conditions at Hammer studios, the small size of her dressing room, the awful food and the unprofessional British actors she had to lower herself in working with. We all know that the real bee in her bonnet was that a movie she had basically designed as a vehicle for HER talents ended up being taken over by Miss Kay Walsh, a superb dancer and talented actress who had had an extensive career in films and theatre (check out her IMDB listing--you'll be impressed). Luckily Fontaine was (to her credit) too much of a pro herself to let her dissatisfaction show on screen. She turns in a credible performance as a woman teacher attempting to recover from a traumatic encounter with witch doctors in Africa by taking a slow, quiet gig in an apparently sleepy, quaint olde English village. Well, guess who rules the roost in this town? As the title clues you in, it's none other than ... the Witches!!!

As boss witch supreme Stephanie Bax, a character one of the reviewers of the time described as a "lesbian-like writer," Kay Walsh dominates the action from the moment she appears. Of all the various witch films of the Sixties, this one probably has the most realistic atmosphere and the most plausible plot. The traditional opposition between village wise women (capably embodied here by Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies as Granny Riggs--be sure to keep an eye out for her stogie-chomping aristo witch in 1967's The Devil Rides Out) and the kind of ceremonial magician played by Miss Walsh is portrayed quite matter-of-factly in the script. The kind of witchcraft practiced both by the Walsh and the Ffrangcon-Davies characters is a pretty accurate portrayal of practices actually current in Sixties England, for instance in the circles around Robert Cochrane and other figures who were gaining a lot of media attention in those days. The campy elan of Miss Walsh's dances as High Priestess (one wonders how they dealt with all the hot wax that must have flown off the lit candles in that antler-crown of hers) is very London West End on one level, yet also seems a poetic evocation of a learned ceremonial magician taking over a traditional village circle for her own corrupt ends on another level. Excellent work by Miss Walsh and the choreographer.

Also worthy of mention is the appearance of Martin Stephens, who made memorable such earlier Sixties fantasy films as The Innocents and Village of the Damned (in which he had the unenviable task of acting opposite George Sanders--who hated children!). Martin retired from films shortly after appearing in the Witches. Among the others, Alec McCowen turns in a brilliant little gem of a performance as Kay Walsh's traumatized brother.

For all its excellence, Hammer historians give second place for this film to Don Sharp's 1964 outing, Witchcraft. Let's hope somebody hurries up and releases that one on home video soon!

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