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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is an unusual movie, and could well, in time, turn out to be a
It concerns 7 siblings left to fend for themselves in a big house after
their beloved Mother dies. They bury the corpse in the back garden, and
never tell anyone, because they are all under-age and fear the orphanage..
Even if dead, Mother becomes a religious mentor for the children, her thoughts being "channeled" through one of the girls in ritual, late night sessions.
They seem to manage pretty well, but things turn out ugly when the rambling, long lost "father" returns to take over the household. He wins them over, manipulates them, steals Mother's life-savings, and in a gripping finale, reveals to the children the terrible secret Mother has hidden from them.
It's a quite gruesome film, emotionally draining and heartless, an obvious comparison would be "Oliver Twist", or perhaps a dark fairytale from the brothers Grimm... At first, before the father arrives, I thought it was a Christian parable, where the mother represented the dead Jesus, and the children the acolytes and worshippers. But 50 minutes into the proceedings, it turns into something else. From then on, it's anybody's guess! Still, this ambiguity befits the story and keeps you on your toes throughout, until the sorry end.
Jack Clayton's direction is good, if rather literary, the house is a spooky, claustrophobic menace, while the child actors are uniformly excellent. You wouldn't believe young children could perpetuate audience interest in a melodramatic story like this, but, like in that other classic "the Secret garden", they do. Brilliant acting! Dirk Bogarde is supposed to be quietly menacing and evil, and he is exactly that.
Beware though, this is definitely not a film for children!
From the first scene of the film one can already tell that there is fine cinematography. We see a girl walking the street of a suburban part of London and immediately one knows that this is a film different to many others it's slow, it's silent, and still it's intriguing and exciting. Accompanied by an equally great musical score by Georges Delerue, Jack Claytons direction is outstanding. He presents eight children whose sick mother passes away one morning. Upon their close relationship on the one and their fear of being torn apart from each other at the other side, the children decide to keep on living `normally', as if their mother was still alive. They manage to keep up a cover story for teachers and neighbors while their relationship gets even closer. As expectable with children these age (ranging from, I'd guess, ages 3 to 12), they create their rituals (the German translation of the title is `Every evening at 9 o'clock') and manage to find a way to keep in touch with their world `before' when the beloved mother was still live. They achieve that aim by mixing up religious belief with their childrenlike, yet never naïve `rationality'. But of course, their secret cannot be kept forever or can it? Dirk Bogarde is great in his role because he convincingly shows the two sides of his character: Loving at one part, but altogether selfish. But credits must go to the incredible cast of children whose performances draw the viewer into the story and force him to stay there. It is one of those rare films were the audience develops real sympathy for the figures. The ending, though probably not all too surprising, is the highlight of the picture and contains a great deal of melancholy. One wonders how the story would continue but on the other hand, everything that needs to be said is said. As other comments already stated, not a film for children, but one of the best film about children ever made; it's goal was to achieve an insight into the world of a childs mind, and it succeeds brilliantly.
Among the filmography of the great Jack Clayton, OUR MOTHER'S HOUSE ranks with ROOM AT THE TOP, THE INNOCENTS and THE PUMPKIN EATER. He has a master's hand to deal with the smallest details. His work with children is unsurpassed. Here we have the splendid Pamela Franklin (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) and Mark Lester(Oliver in Carol Reed's Oliver) plus a sterling performance by Dirk Bogarde. The film is, clearly, an ancestor of THE CEMENT GARDEN but it creates a world impossible to emulate. In my list of films that changed my life, it goes hand in hand with ROSEMARY'S BABY, APARTMENT ZERO, THE CONFORMIST and BLOW UP.
I was actually an extra in this film, as the school scenes were filmed
at my junior school, St Leonards Church of England School in Chelsham,
Surrey. I remember having to wear my best school uniform and do as I
was told. I was 8 years old, I suppose, and it was all very exciting
with the lights and the trailers and all the people buzzing around. I
don't remember whether we were allowed to meet the stars; I somehow
This is a great film, very atmospheric, very spooky, and totally believable - kids in the 1960s were obviously very resourceful (and full of very odd ideas). Needless to say, I wasn't allowed to watch the film until I was much older than when I was in it.
I saw this not-well-known movie when I was a little child. That night I couldn´t sleep believing my mother was going to die. Years later, as a teenager I saw it again......this time I thought I was a mature person and nothing would happen. Big mistake!!!!!!!!!! Another sleepless night!!!!!!!!! At the age of 27 I saw the movie again. This time, I said, I'm going to prove myself it's not gonna shock me as before. Another big mistake!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The movie is shown on TV via TCM Channel (in Astra)every month. I have taped the movie and it's one of my dearest treasures. But it's hard to see it again. Everytime I decide to see it again I know I'm gonna feel so bad that I better not think about it twice! You could think this is some kind of masochism or self-mental-injury...but I don´t think so. Our Mother House is just a brilliant movie. And yes, I also consider it's a gem waiting to be discovered and release in a excellent DVD Special edition. So much has been said about it here. A drama? A horror movie? The loss of childhood?...everything it's true. The movie atmosphere is so dark and blue that you can feel how those children feel. The children do a fine job as well as Dirk Bogarde and Yootha Yoice (the later Mrs. Roper in the cult sitcom Man about the House). I've never read the book but the movie is a must see!!!!!!!!!! As some users say, this is a movie about children...but NOT for children. My own experience taught me that some movies can be traumatic...........But I wonder how the director and actors managed to deal with this story without disturbing the children. Did the children notice what was the story about? Specially in the final scene. A big question I hope can be answered in a future DVD release!!!!!!!!!!! Follow my advice.............get a chance and see it.
Very spooky and genuinely disturbing film, that completely avoids all the
stereotypical "shock values" in favor of a purely psychological chiller that
relies on its script and actors to get over instead. Of particular note are
the children in this film, all of whom lack the pre-groomed and pre-prepared
feel of some child actors and instead give a superbly realistic performance.
Dirk Bogarde is surprisingly good in his role as a gold-digger, and his
unforced interaction with the kids only adds more depth.
Another of this movies strong points is that it provokes thought more from insinuation than actions, leaving a lot open to the interpretation of the viewer. Different people will see different "things" when viewing this! Highly Recommended old classic that deserves a viewing.
At the beginning of the sixties ,Jack Clayton made a fine adaptation of
"the turn of the screw",called "the innocents" which featured
P.Franklin too.This could be called "more innocents "but there's a
strong difference between the two works.Although "our mother's house"
verges on fantastic,there's nothing irrational,nothing supernatural
here.THat's what we can call a miracle of a movie:because it sounds
like a horror and fantasy movie without all the genre gimmicks .So
people who're looking for gore,special effects and other
paraphernalia,please pass by.If you enjoy strong
screenplays,first-class performances and masterful direction,this is a
Eight children whose mother's just passed away want to go on with their life as if nothing happened.Besides ,they do believe that their mother is still with them,and Pamela Franklin 's rendering is absolutely stunning when she acts as some kind of medium:far from the usual clichés -as you can see in "ghost" for instance-,she will give you goose pimples.This mother will remain a mystery,maybe a saint steeped in piety,maybe somebody much worse than a goody-two-shoes,as Charlie eventually claims.
Charlie is masterfully portrayed by Dirk Bogarde who was in his more fruitful period with such masterpieces as "accident" "king and country" "la caduti dei degi" "morte a Venezio".He keeps people waiting for he only appears after about forty minutes.But when he's on the screen ,the chemistry between the thespian and the children is so obvious that there's no hiatus.At first sight,he resembles some adult Peter Pan (hairdo,swagger,clothes,not to forget the name:Hook!).Here ,where Spielberg dismally failed when he made "Hook" ,Jack Clayton with a much smaller budget had already succeeded in portraying an adult/child, more than twenty years before.But further acquaintance will show that an adult can no longer remain a child .When Charlie is a man again,tragedy is waiting around the corner.
"Our mother's house" is so rich a movie that you could stay all night talking about it:a twilight glow shines on an autumnal suburb and turns into absolute darkness for the last sequence.Georges Delerue's score is simply marvelous and enhances the perfection of the pictures.
A strong influence on the French movie "la fracture du myocarde".
See it at any cost.
I saw this about 14 years ago in a stroke of luck ( a local TV station had picked up a print, and my mother, suspense thriller buff that she is, decided to tape it), and the film has stuck with me ever since. It's not your typical horror film, and has more of a tragic element which was so very common to films of the genre in this particular era. The dark and dirty imagery only serves to enhance the premise, and the shrine the Hook children build to their mother is downright creepy. The children do a very decent job of portraying children ( something that is increasingly rare these days) and Dirk Bogarde does a fantastic job of portraying their scumbag father. And to boot, we've got a heavy incest theme going on. If you can get a hold of this one, go for it: it's very much of its time, but the opportunity is well worth any trouble.
Seven children continue in "Our Mother's House" after she dies in this
1967 film starring Dirk Bogarde, Pamela Franklin, and Mark Lester, and
directed by Jack Clayton. A very ill, religious woman, the mother of
seven, dies suddenly at home. Her children, afraid of being separated,
bury her in the garden and continue to live as if nothing had happened,
forging her monthly annuity check. One day, their long-absent father
Based on a novel by Julian Gloag, Haya Harareet (Heston's Ben Hur co-star) and Jeremy Brooks fashioned an excellent screenplay, beautifully directed by Jack Clayton, a true master (The Innocents, The Pumpkin Eater). With a dark, spooky atmosphere inside a big old house, he creates the world in which the children live, one where they care for one another, pray, and communicate nightly with their mother. When Charlie Hook, their father arrives, that all changes, and the world comes rushing in. At first, Charlie is what is needed - his presence means they're safe from the outside world, but gradually, even his supporters among the children begin to see that he's a danger.
Clayton manages to bring in an incestuous undertone without overtly showing any incest - in the days when directors needed to adhere to certain codes, they called upon their imaginations. It made film more subtle and definitely more interesting to watch.
The acting is superb. Bogarde is in top form as the at first lovable Charlie, who, as he does in "The Servant," gradually becomes more sinister. Pamela Franklin is marvelous as Diana, one of the older children; all of the children are excellent - Clayton was no stranger to directing children, and his deft hand is shown here.
Perhaps not a well-known film in the U.S., "Our Mother's House" will make a lasting impression.
This is a good little movie that heavily relies on its uneasy
atmosphere. The movie is also greatly carried by its cast, both the
adult as the children's.
The story is simple yet effective. The story perfectly sets up an uneasy atmosphere that is dark and sober. The story is unusual and original as well. The movie can perhaps be best described as a dark drama/thriller. The fact that the movie is both unusual and original is probably the reason why this movie unfortunately isn't any better known.
The character are perfectly portrayed in the movie and play a great role in the movie its story. The movie is especially carried by the children cast of the movie, who play the most significant and biggest role in the entire movie. The young characters are all both realistic as powerful. Every characters has its own strong personality and they are what make this movie always interesting and never boring to follow, even though the pace itself isn't always terribly high.
But the movie also has a good adult cast that unfortunately is perhaps a bit underused at times. Dirk Bogarde plays a great role in the movie but unfortunately his character is introduced at least 15 minutes too late in to the movie. Once his character is introduced in to the story the movie takes more form and becomes even more intriguing to follow. It was also great to see Yootha Joyce in the movie, who I only knew from the British comedy series "George and Mildred". She is a great actress and really gets to show her skills in this movie.
The movie handles some intriguing, original and uneasy themes and the movie handles all those themes on its own very special way. It makes the movie a both original as well as memorable movie to watch.
Definitely worth seeing, when you get the opportunity to.
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