6.3/10
1,803
39 user 28 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:

Joseph Losey

Writers:

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

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Boom! (1968)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Explores the confrontation between the woman who has everything, including emptiness, and a penniless poet who has nothing but the ability to fill a wealthy woman's needs.

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Noël Coward
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The day before a young man is to be executed for killing his girlfriend, his alcoholic father shows up to try to prove his innocence.

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Ann Todd, Leo McKern
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

What is real and what is fiction? Faced with writer's block with his novel, Lewis Fielding turns to a movie script about a woman finding herself after his wife Elizabeth returns from Baden ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Glenda Jackson, Michael Caine, Helmut Berger
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A respected grocery shop employee in Prague is covering up for her manager's misconduct with whom she is having an affair; however, things will get complicated when a thorough auditor pays a visit.

Director: Jirí Weiss
Stars: Anne Heywood, James Booth, Rudolf Hrusínský
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A medium and her husband stage a kidnapping in order for her to pretend to solve the crime and achieve fame.

Director: Bryan Forbes
Stars: Kim Stanley, Richard Attenborough, Margaret Lacey
X, Y and Zee (1972)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The venomous and amoral wife of a wealthy architect tries, any way she can, to break up the blossoming romance between her husband and his new mistress; a good-natured young widow who holds a dark past.

Director: Brian G. Hutton
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine, Susannah York
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Two escapees are on the run in the wilderness of an unspecified country. Wherever they go, they are followed by a menacing black helicopter.

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Robert Shaw, Malcolm McDowell, Henry Woolf
A Doll's House II (1973)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Nora Helmer, years earlier, has committed a forgery in order to save the life of her authoritarian husband Torvald. Now, she is being blackmailed and lives in fear of her husband's finding ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Jane Fonda, Edward Fox, Trevor Howard
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A wealthy but neurotic Southern belle finds herself trapped in the hideout of a gang of vicious bootleggers. The gang's leader lusts after her, and is determined not to let anything stand in the way of his having her.

Director: Stephen Roberts
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, William Gargan, Jack La Rue
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.

Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Paul Massie, Dawn Addams, Christopher Lee
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Two teachers, man-hungry Doris and restrained Marian, visit the Yorkshire moors a year after friend Evelyn disappeared there. On a stormy night, they take refuge in the isolated cottage of ... See full summary »

Director: Leslie Arliss
Stars: James Mason, Wilfrid Lawson, Mary Clare
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A wheelchair-bound young woman returns to her father's estate after ten years, and although she's told he's away, she keeps seeing his dead body on the estate.

Director: Seth Holt
Stars: Susan Strasberg, Ann Todd, Ronald Lewis
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Elizabeth Taylor ... Leonora
Mia Farrow ... Cenci
Robert Mitchum ... Albert
Peggy Ashcroft ... Hannah
Pamela Brown ... Hilda
Edit

Storyline

Leonora Grabowski (Dame Elizabeth Taylor) mourns the death by drowning years earlier of her daughter. She encounters a strange waif-like girl, Cenci Engelhard (Mia Farrow), who bears a strong resemblance to her lost child. Cenci is 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 (Robert Mitchum), 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:

No one admitted the last 12 minutes. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 October 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Secret Ceremony See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of this movie was shot inside and outside Debenham House, in London's affluent Holland Park district. The house, located at No. 8 Addison Road, was designed by the eminent architect Halsey Ricardo for Ernest Debenham, the department store magnate, and was built between 1906 and 1907. Much of the baroque decoration of the house's interior was there before filming started. However, the large bathroom and adjoining bedroom used by Leonora Grabowski (Dame Elizabeth Taylor) were constructed on a studio soundstage. See more »

Quotes

Leonora: [Describing her attempted suicide, to Cenci] "You'll be sorry when I'm dead, Bernard," I said to myself. "It may be a mortal sin, but it'll break your lousy heart, Bernard," I said to myself. I dressed up in all my finery, I even had my hair done up in curls. I set the table for two, with candles... and I swallowed every goddamned thing I could lay my hands on: aspirin, disprin, veganin, codeine, the lot. I lay down on the sofa, the music was playing, I drifted off down a cool river toward the ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Network TV version is eight minutes shorter than the theatrical release, removing some scenes and featuring alternative footage for others. See more »

Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Creepier than a horror film
19 October 2008 | by PutzbergerSee all my reviews

This movie is a tad pretentious and muddled, but it'll get under your skin. All the characters are either so deluded (crazy rich girl Mia Farrow), desperate (middle-aged hooker Liz Taylor) or demonic (scummy pedophile Robert Mitchum) that watching it is like spending two hours in a psych ward with no attendants on duty. Also gripping is the atmosphere created by director Joseph Losey, who was considered as a genius in the 60s and is pretty much forgotten today. With wide-angle shots and a minimum of noise, Losey reinforces his characters' isolation and solipsism by making London, one of the most crowded cities in the Western world, seem as empty and quiet as a tomb.

The plot is a psychological inversion of the classic haunted house story -- Liz and Mia take shelter from an outside world that threatens their relationship. And that relationship is, to put it mildly, weird. Mia lures Liz into her huge, empty home because she resembles her late mother. Liz indulges Mia's fantasy because as a homeless prostitute she's in need of shelter, plus, she lost a daughter who looked a lot like Mia. This arrangement could be sweet to the point of treacly if these two grown women didn't enjoy doing things like bathing together and discussing ex-lovers. And Mia has a particularly repulsive ex-lover in Mitchum, her former stepfather who started molesting the girl in her early teens. Though the experience clearly ripped Mia to shreds, the creep still has some power over her and the film becomes a battle of wills between Taylor and Mitchum. Along the way there's a fake pregnancy, a nightmarish seaside holiday and a visit to Mia's two horrid old-maid aunts. The movie isn't particularly pleasant or coherent, but it does pull off the impressive feat of telling its story the way its characters are experiencing it, and that's pretty damn disturbing when you're dealing with a bunch of warped people. See it, then watch a romantic comedy or something so you're able to sleep that night.


17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 39 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed