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
Director Seth Holt found Bette Davis "impossible" to work with. See more »
In the scene where they put the doll into the bathtub to scare the nanny: When they first pick up the doll, it has blonde hair, then when they put it into the bathtub, it has black hair, then when the nanny finds it, it has blonde hair again. This is a technique that is repeated throughout the second half of the film, whenever the bathtub death is revisited by the characters. See more »
This is obviously not Mary Poppins from the very start. Nanny is so sticky sweet that you suspect something's wrong. On the other hand, she may just be that nice. Joey, who's coming home after being away for a couple of years, is revealed to be either an insufferable brat, or a terribly disturbed and frightened boy of 11 or so. Joey, who despises and harasses all middle-aged women, says Nanny is trying to kill him. Sweet Nanny is afraid someone may believe the child's irrational ravings. Mother Virgie, herself on the verge of total mental collapse, can't cope. Father Bill is too busy with business and travel, and too much the authoritarian parent to concern himself. Even the supporting characters are flakey: frail Aunt Pen(elope), the 14-year-old nymph Bobbie upstairs, Bobbie's boyfriend, and even the milkman! And what happened to Susie, who may be the key to everything, but isn't in the cast list? Something's terribly wrong. Who or what is it?
A deeply disturbing story, difficult even to watch, but exceedingly well done for the genre. Difficult to rate because it has zilch entertainment value, but I finally decided to go mainly for the "cinematic" value and give it an 8.
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