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The Witches (1966)

Not Rated | | Horror | February 1967 (USA)
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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 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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

WHAT DO "THE DEVIL'S OWN" DO AFTER DARK? 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:

February 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Own See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a later magazine interview, Nigel Kneale said that he was dissatisfied with the way the film had turned out. Personally, he found modern black magic practitioners to be fairly risible and he had intended to poke fun at the idea of an English coven. His blackly comic touches were removed by the production team, who wanted the film to be entirely serious. Conceding the film to be well-cast, he felt the ending lacked the necessary menace needed to avoid the unintentional-but-inherent silliness of the situation. See more »

Goofs

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

Connections

Referenced in Five Million Years to Earth (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
For Joan Fontaine Or Hammer Completists Only
13 December 2007 | by ferbs54See all my reviews

"The Witches" is a different type of Hammer picture. There are no vampires, zombies, monsters or crumbling Carpathian villages to be found, and the story takes place in as charming and sunny an English village as one could ever hope to find. In this tale, Joan Fontaine (pushing 50 here but still very beautiful) is convalescing from a nervous breakdown that she suffered after her teaching stint in the African voodoo country. She comes to the aforementioned quaint English town to begin her new job as headmistress in a small private school, and soon becomes embroiled in that town's witchcraft, devil practices, and the attempted sacrifice of one of her girl students. Unfortunately, what sounds smashing in synopsis turns out to be a rather slow-moving film, and not at all scary or suspenseful. What should have been the most exciting section of the picture--the coven/sacrifice at the end--is just ridiculous, with a bunch of old-timers flouncing around and flailing like so many epileptic jackasses, and with a silly-looking head priestess with a multicandled headpiece. Still, the picture DOES have its small merits. Fontaine, here in one of her last film roles, is well cast and acts impeccably, and the beautiful shots of the English countryside will surely make you want to pack up and move. Still, I didn't care for this Hammer outing as much as I had hoped, and still don't understand what happened to Kay Walsh's character at the end, or why the presence of Fontaine's teacher was necessary. Bottom line: This picture is for Joan Fontaine or Hammer Films completists only. Others would be well advised to watch "Rebecca" or "Horror Hotel" for the 10th time and call it a night.


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