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Secret Ceremony (1968)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  23 October 1968 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,205 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 18 critic

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.



(short story "Ceremonia secreta"),
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Title: Secret Ceremony (1968)

Secret Ceremony (1968) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Pamela Brown ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


No one admitted the last 12 minutes. See more »


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 October 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ceremonia secreta  »

Box Office


$3,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Robert Douglas and Michael Strong were not in this film, appearing only in scenes added to it for American TV showings. These scenes were shot in Hollywood by a different director and crew several months after the film's cinema release. Joseph Losey neither authorized nor approved of these changes, which he described as "absolutely illegal". This severely amended version was, fortunately, withdrawn from circulation eventually. See more »


Albert: If you don't let her go, she'll get smaller and smaller.
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User Reviews

Gothic Masterpiece
4 January 2007 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

Beautifully dark movie which grants Mia Farrow the freedom to showcase the strange range of her gift. Elizabeth Taylor stays close with a deep and sensitive touch, flashing a legitimate side of herself, oft covered up. Robert Mitchum achieves repulsive perfection lurking in the garden, symbolic of the disgust and fear we share in our hide. The entire cast in breath and stone include every sense in totality, placing the actors and ourselves together to spy on each other from above, and within the ornamental mansion. Intense hallucinogenic 1968 camera shots intimately portray the family by chance's horrific existence. The music tastefully gentle dries the humid landscape making its absurd subconscious logic almost digestible. The story weaved with such expertise, it would be a stab in the back to reveal it any other way. The truth that you always expected was rampant, but waited for the excuse of insanity to reveal. In my opinion, one of the most tragically honest all around performances I have ever witnessed on the screen. A true feat and gutsy effort from the entire bloody pool of talent. Bravo!

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