6.5/10
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34 user 21 critic

Secret Ceremony (1968)

A penniless woman meets a strange girl who insists she is her long-lost mother, and becomes enmeshed in a web of deception, and perhaps madness, in this powerful psychological thriller.

Director:

Writers:

(short story "Ceremonia secreta"),
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Leonora
...
Cenci
...
Albert
...
Hannah
Pamela Brown ...
Hilda
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Storyline

Leonora, a prostitute, mourns the death by drowning years earlier of her daughter. She encounters a strange waif-like girl, Cenci, who bears a strong resemblance to her lost child. Cenci is herself struck by the great resemblance of Leonora to her own mother, whose death the mentally unstable Cenci has been unable to accept or even acknowledge. The two women quickly develop a symbiotic relationship, moving in and out of the illusion that each is the lost loved one of the other. The complicating factor is the arrival of Albert, Cenci's stepfather, whose incestuous attachment to her may well be the cause of her mind's unbalance. With Albert's arrival, no one in the strange trio is safe. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's time to speak of unspoken things... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 October 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ceremonia secreta  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the film aired on NBC several years later, it was not only heavily edited to sanitize some of the seamier sexual suggestions but also included newly shot footage (none involving any of the actors who appeared in the actual film: Michael Tolan. Paul Rogers), including a prologue and epilogue in which a psychiatrist character discussed the characters' failings and attempted to explain away the truncated film's many plot holes. Among other major changes was the profession of Elizabeth Taylor's character, who somehow morphed from a prostitute in the theatrical release to a wig model in the TV version. See more »

Quotes

Cenci: You let nanny and the cook go.
Leonora: I did?
Cenci: Fired them ruthlessly.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Best of Taylor's Lesser Known
2 September 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a must see movie. Any film lover cannot miss Elizabeth Taylor's performance. Her portrayal of Leonora is the deepest soul searching look into a mother's love. The added twist of Mia Farrow, before Rosemary's Baby, as her daughter, searching for her mother's love. Each in such desperate need of what the other has, and has lost. If that doesn't wet your appetite, you have no taste buds. This story has stayed with me these many, many years. My favorite line of Ms. Taylor is when she is imitating Robert Mitchum saying, "you could have killed yourself, honey". Mitchum is the perfect male to fear and despise. The delivery is unforgettably a Taylor original! If you appreciate a movie that accentuates a couple of great actors, in an unusual, intense story, this hits it like no other film. I'm only sorry I haven't seen it on TV in I cannot remember how many years, and it is not readily available in my local video stores. If you can find it, you will treasure it as an unheralded gem.


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