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Twisted Nerve (1968)

Martin Durnley (Hywel Bennett) is a troubled young man. With a mother who insists on treating him like a child, a stepfather who can't wait to see the back of him, and a brother with Down's... See full summary »

Director:

Roy Boulting

Writers:

Leo Marks (screenplay), Roy Boulting (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hayley Mills ... Susan Harper
Hywel Bennett ... Martin Durnley (Georgie Clifford)
Billie Whitelaw ... Joan Harper
Phyllis Calvert ... Enid Durnley
Barry Foster ... Gerry Henderson
Frank Finlay ... Henry Durnley
Salmaan Peerzada ... Shashie Kumar (as Salmaan Peer)
Christian Roberts ... Philip Harvey
Gretchen Franklin Gretchen Franklin ... 'Clarkie'
Thorley Walters ... Sir John Forrester
Russell Napier ... Professor Fuller
Timothy Bateson ... Mr. Groom
Timothy West ... Superintendant Dakin
Brian Peck ... Det-Sgt Rogers
Richard Davies Richard Davies ... 'Taffy' Evans
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Storyline

Martin Durnley (Hywel Bennett) is a troubled young man. With a mother who insists on treating him like a child, a stepfather who can't wait to see the back of him, and a brother with Down's Syndrome shut away in an institution, is it any wonder he retreats into an alternate personality - that of six-year-old Georgie? It is Georgie who befriends Susan Harper (Hayley Mills), but friendship soon turns into obsession. When Susan begins to distance herself, something inside Georgie snaps and he embarks on a killing spree, with Susan as the next target. Written by Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Cleaver. Cleaver. Chop. Chop. First the mom and then the pop. Then we'll get the pretty girl. We'll get her right between the curl.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hayley Mills and Hywel Bennett appeared in The Family Way (1966) and Endless Night (1972). See more »

Quotes

Narrator: Ladies and gentlemen, in view of the controversy already aroused, the producers of this film wish to re-emphasize what is already stated in the film, that there is no established scientific connection between Mongolism and psychotic or criminal behaviour.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, the police rank Superintendent is spelled Superintendant. See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Horror Story: Halloween: Part 2 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Madeleine
(uncredited)
Written by John Addison and Roy Boulting
See more »

User Reviews

 
Slightly misguided, but still works well as a psycho thriller
10 February 2008 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Twisted Nerve doesn't seem to have a great reputation, and while the film (like its lead character) certainly does have some problems, I enjoyed this one in spite of them. The main problem people seem to have with this film (so much so that the filmmakers actually had to tack on an apology before the film starts!) stems from the fact that it seems to be professing that siblings of mongoloid children were more likely to become psychopaths. This idea is somewhat silly and I can see why it would bother some people; but seriously, this is just a thriller and while the idea is unlikely and misguided, it didn't bother me too much. It also should be noted that 'nurture' plays a big part in the lead character's mental health problems. The film focuses on Martin Durnley. His mother treats him like a child, his stepfather dislikes him and his mongoloid brother is institutionalised. He meets a young girl named Susan Harper, who takes pity on him (or rather, his alternative personality 'Georgie') after a shoplifting incident. But this soon leads to obsession for the troubled young man...

If you go into this film expecting something deep or brilliant, you will be disappointed. As mentioned, the point that the film tries to make is not well imposed and not much else about the film has any depth. Still, as a thriller it works well. The main influence for the film is clearly Hitchcock's masterpiece 'Psycho' and the two share a lot in common. The central character is interesting for the fact that he's so strange. Hywel Bennett really succeeds in creating a character that is both bizarre and completely sinister. The supporting cast isn't as great in terms of performances, but the two leading ladies are much nicer to look at. Hayley Mills delivers the typical young British female lead, while Billie Whitelaw is the real standout for me as the young girl's mother. Twisted Nerve also features a memorable tune, and possibly takes influence from Fritz Lang's M as the lead character often whistles it. The film flows well throughout and delivers the intrigue from the character actions and the situation rather than through suspense. I can see why this film is not often hailed as a classic; but if you're looking for an interesting watch and don't care about some silly ideas, Twisted Nerve comes recommended.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

December 1968 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Twisted Nerve See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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