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Secret Ceremony (1968)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  23 October 1968 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,188 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.

Director:

Writers:

(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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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 | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

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

Leonora: Dear God, by whose mercy...
Cenci: Dear God, by whose mercy...
Leonora: ...I am shielded for a few hours...
Cenci: ...I am shielded for a few hours...
Leonora: ...let no-one snatch me from this heaven.
Cenci: ...let no-one snatch me from this heaven.
See more »

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User Reviews

A bizarre fantasy world concocted by two disturbed women
16 February 2001 | by (Weaverville, NC) – See all my reviews

Interesting film about two women who use each other to concoct a fantasy world of instability that ends in tragedy. Mia Farrow is an unstable young heiress whose mother has died. Elizabeth Taylor is a middle aged hooker whose daughter died in childhood. Farrow spies Taylor on a bus and is struck by her physical similarity to her mother. Farrow, in a long brown wig, resembles Taylors daughter. Taylor reluctantly allows Farrow to take her home, feed her tea and sausages, and slowly comes to fill the role of the dead mother, even dressing in the woman's clothes and confronting some thieving elderly aunts. The psychological charade is complicated when the two go on holiday as mother and daughter and happen to encounter Farrow's stepfather, played by Robert Mitchum.

A fascinating psychological study of two damaged women and their own disturbed inner worlds, SECRET CEREMONY is a great movie for anyone looking for something different. Elizabeth Taylor gives a nuanced performance in this film, despite having chomped scenery unchecked in some other films from this era(BOOM, X Y AND ZEE). Highly recommended.


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