7.8/10
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The Innocents (1961)

Not Rated | | Horror | 15 December 1961 (USA)
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3:09 | Trailer
A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.

Director:

Jack Clayton

Writers:

Henry James (based on the story "The Turn of the Screw"), John Mortimer (additional scenes & dialogue) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
4,971 ( 1,324)
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Deborah Kerr ... Miss Giddens
Peter Wyngarde ... Peter Quint
Megs Jenkins ... Mrs. Grose
Michael Redgrave ... The Uncle
Martin Stephens ... Miles
Pamela Franklin ... Flora
Clytie Jessop ... Miss Jessel
Isla Cameron ... Anna
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Storyline

In Victorian England, the uncle (Sir Michael Redgrave) of orphaned niece Flora (Pamela Franklin) and nephew Miles (Martin Stephens) hires Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) as governess to raise the children at his estate with total independence and authority. Soon after her arrival, Miss Giddens comes to believe that the spirits of the former governess Miss Jessel (Clytie Jessop) and valet Peter Quint (Peter Wyngarde) are possessing the children. Miss Giddens decides to help the children to face and exorcise the spirits. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A strange new experience in shock. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 December 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Turn of the Screw See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP430,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$30,103
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To create such sharp visuals, Director of Photography Freddie Francis used lots of huge bright lamps. Deborah Kerr sometimes had to resort to wearing sunglasses between takes. See more »

Goofs

An obvious center back zipper in several of Miss Kerr's costumes, as well as in Mrs. Gross & Flora's costumes. The Innocents is set during the Victorian period, 1837-1901. Commercial zippers were not used in clothing until 1925. See more »

Quotes

Flora: [singing] We lay my love and I, beneath the weeping willow. But now alone I lie and weep beside the tree. Singing "Oh willow waly" by the tree that weeps with me. Singing "Oh willow waly" till my lover return to me. We lay my love and I beneath the weeping willow. A broken heart have I. Oh willow I die, oh willow I die...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film begins with a totally black screen and the sound of Flora singing for several seconds; then the 20th Century Fox logo fades in and out. The singing continues for a few seconds before the opening credits begin. As the credits display, we see an anguished Miss Giddens praying on the left side of the screen. Her actions are not explained until the film's climax. See more »


Soundtracks

O Willow Waly
Music by Georges Auric
Lyric by Paul Dehn
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One Full Turn of the Screw
24 July 2009 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

The Innocents (1961)

The title loads this gun a little differently than the original from the long short story (or novella) by Henry James--The Turn of the Screw. But Jack Clayton's version of the story gets at the point with great ambiguity--uncertainty is key, and the suspense is partly under pressure because we don't quite know which side to take.

I can't say more, of course, because even a hint of a hint will start a viewer off on the wrong foot. But know that The Innocents is vigorously filmed in widescreen black and white, that Deborah Kerr, always a cool actress, is perfectly cool here (some might just say British, but she has no Julie Andrews in her governessing, and no Elizabeth Taylor in her at all). The two kids are both rather poised and charming as well as chilling, the boy especially intriguing for his precociousness (and preciousness). We empathize with all three equally, and yet, as you see, you can't quite see the events from their three pairs of eyes equally. Something is wrong, and you wait to see what, and how it will be revealed.

If it ever is. One of the brilliant things about Henry James is how you finish one of his books (the novels are better than the stories for this, I think) knowing what has happened but not knowing completely why. I mean, it all makes sense and feels right, but it feels suspended with an air of lingering needs. So you end up thinking about it later. As you will with this film.

There are some moments of special effects that are very well done even if a kind of 1950s/60s style of overlapping images and dreamer/dreamed simultaneousness. And the ghosts, not to give anything away, are pretty matter of fact. This is more an appreciation than a complaint, because the lack of gore, of cheap surprise, or of obvious scare tactics makes the movie a relief, and a bit of cinematic magic.


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