Following a horrifying experience with the occult in Africa, a schoolteacher moves to a small English village, only to discover that black magic resides there as well.

Director:

Cyril Frankel

Writers:

Nigel Kneale (screenplay), Norah Lofts (novel) (as Peter Curtis)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joan Fontaine ... Gwen Mayfield
Kay Walsh ... Stephanie Bax
Alec McCowen ... Alan Bax
Ann Bell ... Sally Benson
Ingrid Boulting ... Linda Rigg (as Ingrid Brett)
John Collin John Collin ... Dowsett
Michele Dotrice ... Valerie Creek
Gwen Ffrangcon Davies ... Granny Rigg (as Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies)
Duncan Lamont ... Bob Curd
Leonard Rossiter ... Dr. Wallis
Martin Stephens ... Ronnie Dowsett
Carmel McSharry Carmel McSharry ... Mrs. Dowsett
Viola Keats Viola Keats ... Mrs. Curd
Shelagh Fraser ... Mrs. Creek
Bryan Marshall ... Tom
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Storyline

An English school missionary assigned in an African village has a run in with the local witch doctor and suffers a nervous breakdown. After recovering back in England she takes a job teaching in a small country town hoping to make a new start for herself. All goes well at first, until she starts to hear some disturbing stories about the town. She soon discovers the town is home to a coven of witches and they plan to sacrifice a local girl in one of their rituals. Written by Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>

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Taglines:

A STRANGER IN A TOWN THAT HAS LOST ITS MIND ...IF SHE'S NOT CAREFUL, SHE MAY LOSE HER'S TOO! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This would be the final film performance for former child star Martin Stephens before his retirement from the film industry. See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Gwen Mayfield: Look at this! Stuck full of pins and it's head missing. What do you think it could possible be?
Stephanie Bax: Witchcraft? Somebody having a little dabble? Yes, I would think so. Or did you think I was going to say, no no no, it can't happen here? I bet there are lots of remote spots where remnants of witchcraft are still practiced. Places like Heddaby, in fact. I've often wondered.
Gwen Mayfield: Well, what are we going to do?
Stephanie Bax: Do? Ah.
Gwen Mayfield: Well, I'd like to start by removing those pins.
Stephanie Bax: Yes, we could- Oh, no! Emphatically not! Do ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in The World of Hammer: Wicked Women (1994) See more »

User Reviews

 
Good performances cannot save confused, wayward story...
1 June 2014 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Female schoolteacher in an English village senses something strange is afoot while observing the townspeople's cold reaction to the budding relationship between a local teenage boy and girl; turns out, they want to keep the lass a virgin, and soon the boy is mysteriously out of the picture. Hammer Films thriller, an adaptation of the novel "The Devil's Own" by Peter Curtis (aka Norah Lofts), begins promisingly but deteriorates in the final stretch. The prologue, with missionary teacher Joan Fontaine being run out of Africa by witch doctors, is rendered vague and nearly useless by it not being used as a proper bridge to the main story (she's shaken up, but the experience certainly hasn't taught the heroine anything about black magic). The fine location shooting and tidy production are both impressive, and the cast is nearly terrific (save for the two central students, who are wooden). The plot unfortunately derails at a critical juncture: the boy's father drowns, rampaging sheep spoil some evidence in the mud, Fontaine learns too much and vows to testify at an inquest...but then wakes up in a nursing home with amnesia! From this point on, "The Witches", which has heretofore built up a good amount of tension within its curious scenario, loses all credibility and finesse--and the supporting cast is made to hop around in the dirt, groping one another and gibbering like possessed fools. It's a letdown for Fontaine's fans, although she manages to retain her dignity even as the picture lapses into camp. **1/2 from ****


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

February 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Witches See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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