In Victorian England, the uncle of orphaned niece Flora and nephew Miles hires Miss Giddens 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 and valet Peter Quint 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
During the cursed video in The Ring (2002), about 25 seconds in, a young boy's muffled singing can faintly be heard. This audio track is taken from The Innocents. See more »
When Ms. Giddens goes upstairs to the bedroom, the candle varies in size between shots. See more »
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...
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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 »
Based on the novella "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James, a young governess (Deborah Kerr) for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.
As outsiders looking in as voyeurs, we are left wondering about what the governess sees: are the children possessed? Or perhaps they have become friends with ghosts? Or is the governess simply paranoid? The film keeps us guessing, which only adds to its creepiness.
This title has the distinction of featuring the debut of Pamela Franklin, here playing the child Flora, who would later be memorable in "The Legend of Hell House". She expertly presents herself as innocent (hence the title) while saying creepy lines such as, "Oh, look, a lovely spider! And it's eating a butterfly." Did this inspire Jack Hill's "Spider Baby"?
The film has received wide critical acclaim for its psychological thrills and also its technological achievements (cinematographer Freddie Francis made the lightning his number one focus, and also shot the film in layers, giving it a deeper look than most movies). No less than Martin Scorsese has listed it among the greatest horror films ever made.
Freddie Francis is in top form here, coming off his Oscar win for "Sons and Lovers" (1960). His mark on the horror genre would only increase in the following years, as he took the director's chair for Amicus and Hammer numerous times in the 60s and 70s.
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