There's just something not quite right when Bette Davis stars as an English nanny. And is her 10-year-old charge an emotionally disturbed murderer or just an insolent brat?


Seth Holt


Jimmy Sangster (screenplay), Marryam Modell (novel) (as Evelyn Piper)





Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Nanny
Wendy Craig ... Virginia Fane
Jill Bennett ... Aunt Pen
James Villiers ... Bill Fane
William Dix ... Joey Fane
Pamela Franklin ... Bobbie Medman
Jack Watling ... Dr. Medman
Maurice Denham ... Dr. Beamaster
Alfred Burke Alfred Burke ... Dr. Wills
Harry Fowler ... Milkman
Angharad Aubrey Angharad Aubrey ... Susy Fane
Nora Gordon Nora Gordon ... Mrs. Griggs
Sandra Power Sandra Power ... Sarah


Bette Davis is an English nanny whose charge is a rude 10-year-old Joey, just discharged from a disturbed children's home where he'd spent two years undergoing treatment for drowning his little sister in the bath. He returns to an unloving father, fragile mother, and doting nanny -- whom he hates. Suspicion arises again when his mother is poisoned, and Joey continues to insist Nanny is responsible. Joey contends the nanny was responsible for his little sister's death, and only the upstairs neighbour girl believes him. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Nanny wasn't responsible . . . WAS SHE? See more »


Mystery | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The role of the Nanny was originally intended for Greer Garson who first accepted then declined, saying the script would not be good for her career. Jimmy Sangster who wrote and produced the film later said, "I went to Santa Fe and met with Greer, and she said she liked the script, and everything was fine. When I got back to London, we had a message from Los Angeles saying that Greer Garson didn't think the script would do her career much good. I didn't like to say she didn't have a career in those days." See more »


In the opening titles, Bette Davis is returning from errands, feeding birds in the park, buying flowers from a street vendor. She carries a square box tied with string that is upturned while buying flowers. Upon returning home to the Vane household, the box is opened to reveal a decorated cake for Joey and amazingly the cake looks perfect despite it's perilous journey home. See more »


Aunt Pen: Nanny, what are you doing?
The nanny: I'm taking Master Joey an extra pillow... what are you doing up so late?
Aunt Pen: I couldn't sleep, I'm going to make a cup of tea.
The nanny: It's bad for you this late at night... you go back to bed and I'll bring you a glass of milk.
Aunt Pen: I don't want a glass of milk, I want a cup of tea.
The nanny: Allright.
Aunt Pen: Nanny, don't take Joey that pillow... he'll never go back to sleep.
[leaves the room and reenters a few seconds later]
Aunt Pen: You don't approve of pillows, I remember you saying when we were small 'children ...
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Referenced in Hollywood Mouth (2008) See more »


Shaking Shadows
Music by Sam Fonteyn
KPM Music Ltd
See more »

User Reviews

Bette Davis....again delivers
2 August 2011 | by MarieGabrielleSee all my reviews

This is a rather oddly presented story with the common theme of something awry with the nanny....or butler or....anyone who you think you can trust.

Suspense films like this are excellent in that one really can guess what is to happen next, and the characters and their behavior is quite mercurial.

Wendy Craig , (who later starred in comedies such as "Butterflies" on NY station PBS) is good here as the mother of young Joey Fane, a troubled child with whom no one seems to know what to do with. Or is that really the case?. There is a Hitchcockian element to this story in that the black and white cinematography is slightly foreboding, little Joey's butter cream cake (to welcome him home after the hospital) looks inviting, but is it poison?.

Jill Bennett who has been in other films of this genre as the narcissistic aunt Virgie, who feels she is up to the task of minding Joey until odd occurrences begin to shake her resolve.

Ms. Davis as the nanny has a secret past, which is not divulged other than when we see the squalor in which her own daughter had lived. Her expressions are sublime, then jaw dropping. She acts with expression, her movements and beats are the mark of her talent. She does not need to vocalize what is percolating internally. A gem here worth seeing for Davis alone. 9/10.

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Release Date:

20 January 1966 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Nanny See more »


Box Office


$1,300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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