6.3/10
1,984
42 user 31 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.

Director:

Joseph Losey

Writers:

Marco Denevi (short story "Ceremonia secreta"), George Tabori (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Julie Christie turned down the role of Cenci Engelhard. See more »

Quotes

Albert: Is your goddamn mother at home? I'm not going to eat you, you silly bitch.
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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 »

User Reviews

 
Farrow and Taylor at their maddest, baddest and very best

I have liked this film since first seeing it upon its original release. It seems a little slow at times now and I'm really not sure I think very much of any of Robert Mitchum's, for me, lazy performance. In part, I feel this is not just his fault, as I understand that in the original story, some street kids (this was in Mexico) broke in and raped the Farrow character. So in the original her fear and excitement/obsession over sex is caused by this and not by any suggestion of impropriety on the part of Mitchum, playing her step-father. Seems to me this would have worked much better had the original scenario been retained. But never mind, we have what we have and we still have a most spooky and atmospheric movie, with Farrow and Taylor at their maddest, baddest and very best. Eerie location shooting in the art nouveaux decorated mansion and plenty happening to keep the hairs raised at the back of the neck. Unpredictable, worrying and well worth catching


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 October 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Secret Ceremony See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

World Film Services See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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