6.5/10
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37 user 21 critic

Secret Ceremony (1968)

A penniless woman meets a strange girl who insists she is her long-lost mother, and becomes enmeshed in a web of deception, and perhaps madness, in this powerful psychological thriller.

Director:

Writers:

(short story "Ceremonia secreta"), (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Leonora
... Cenci
... Albert
... Hannah
Pamela Brown ... Hilda
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Storyline

Leonora, a prostitute, mourns the death by drowning years earlier of her daughter. She encounters a strange waif-like girl, Cenci, who bears a strong resemblance to her lost child. Cenci is herself struck by the great resemblance of Leonora to her own mother, whose death the mentally unstable Cenci has been unable to accept or even acknowledge. The two women quickly develop a symbiotic relationship, moving in and out of the illusion that each is the lost loved one of the other. The complicating factor is the arrival of Albert, Cenci's stepfather, whose incestuous attachment to her may well be the cause of her mind's unbalance. With Albert's arrival, no one in the strange trio is safe. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

BECAUSE OF THE UNUSUAL ENDING No one will be admitted during the last 12 minutes. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 October 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ceremonia secreta  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Douglas and Michael Strong were not in this film, appearing only in scenes added to it for American TV showings. These scenes were shot in Hollywood by a different director and crew several months after the film's cinema release. Joseph Losey neither authorized nor approved of these changes, which he described as "absolutely illegal". This severely amended version was, fortunately, withdrawn from circulation eventually. See more »

Quotes

Albert: You look more like a cow than my late wife, no offense, I'm very fond of cows.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Best of Taylor's Lesser Known
2 September 2007 | by See all my reviews

This is a must see movie. Any film lover cannot miss Elizabeth Taylor's performance. Her portrayal of Leonora is the deepest soul searching look into a mother's love. The added twist of Mia Farrow, before Rosemary's Baby, as her daughter, searching for her mother's love. Each in such desperate need of what the other has, and has lost. If that doesn't wet your appetite, you have no taste buds. This story has stayed with me these many, many years. My favorite line of Ms. Taylor is when she is imitating Robert Mitchum saying, "you could have killed yourself, honey". Mitchum is the perfect male to fear and despise. The delivery is unforgettably a Taylor original! If you appreciate a movie that accentuates a couple of great actors, in an unusual, intense story, this hits it like no other film. I'm only sorry I haven't seen it on TV in I cannot remember how many years, and it is not readily available in my local video stores. If you can find it, you will treasure it as an unheralded gem.


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