6.5/10
1,338
32 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 | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No one admitted the last 12 minutes. 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of the film was shot inside and outside Debenham House, in London's affluent Holland Park district. The house, located at No. 8, Addison Road, was designed by the eminent architect Halsey Ricardo for Ernest Debenham, the department store magnate, and was built between 1906 and 1907. Much of the baroque decoration of the house's interior was actually there before filming started. However, the large bathroom and adjoining bedroom used by the Elizabeth Taylor character were constructed on a studio soundstage. See more »

Quotes

Albert: You look more like a cow than my late wife, no offense, I'm very fond of cows.
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User Reviews

 
Interesting, much underrated film
24 October 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Secret Ceremony" was critically lambasted on its release - undeservedly so. Having come on the heels of another Elizabeth Taylor/Joseph Losey collaboration - the truly awful "Boom" - I suppose the critics were sharpening their knives again.

Admittedly, "Secret Ceremony" is probably an acquired taste. I first saw it on network TV in its mutilated form, with new non-Losey scenes filmed to supposed "explain" what was happening. Nevertheless, what remained of the original film was good enough that I sought out the uncut original.

The story is bizarre but consistently intriguing, and the Taylor/Farrow combination works. Taylor is very good in this film; I think it's one of her best performances (her scene at the very end is excellent). I highly recommend this film for those with eclectic, adventurous tastes.


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