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The Turn of the Screw (1974)

An English governess is hired to take care of two adorable orphans, who turn out to be not exactly what they seem to be.

Director:

Dan Curtis

Writers:

Henry James (novel), William F. Nolan
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lynn Redgrave ... Miss Jane Cubberly
Megs Jenkins ... Mrs. Grose
John Barron ... Mr. Fredricks (as John Baron)
Anthony Langdon ... Luke (as Anthony Lagdon)
Kathryn Leigh Scott ... Miss Jessel (as Kathryn Scott)
James Laurenson ... Peter Quint
Benedict Taylor ... Timothy
Jasper Jacob Jasper Jacob ... Miles
Eva Griffith Eva Griffith ... Flora
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Storyline

An English governess is hired to take care of two adorable orphans, who turn out to be not exactly what they seem to be.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 April 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dem Bösen widerstehen See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dan Curtis Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of the musical score was initially composed for another Dan Curtis TV production, the gothic series Dark Shadows (1966). See more »

Quotes

Flora: Darkness is a shroud to cover.
Miles: Darkness is the cloak, beware.
Flora: We do not fear the vast of blackness.
Miles: We wear shadows in our hair.
Flora: Darkness calls us to a reckoning.
Miles: Call us to its close embrace.
Flora: We shall soon be there to meet it.
Miles: Though we cannot see its face.
Flora: In the dark, the raid of the ghost.
Miles: And the coffin cannot hold.
[...]
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Connections

Version of Folio: The Turn of the Screw (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

Tantalizing Mystery
20 May 2018 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

The two hours come across as a tantalizing version of the classic Henry James novelette. To me, the story appears more a psychological mystery then a ghostly horror tale. But either way, the results are fascinating, though I can see why viewers preferring cut-and-dried story lines might be unhappy with the results.

A well-meaning governess Miss Cubberly is hired into an English country mansion to tutor two young children. While there, she's drawn into a web of creepy events. The young brother and sister are beautiful and charming, but perhaps they are also possessed by the evil spirits of dead former governess Miss Jessel and dead former house valet Quint. On the other hand, perhaps the ghostly visitations are actually mental projections of the new governess about whom we crucially know very little. For example, she certainly appears consumed with her charges welfare, but is she also mingling their behavior with her own deep-seated confusions about innocence and sex. Does she, for example, confusingly blend the sexual libertine Quint with the budding adolescent Miles.

Story here is foremost. There's no real interest in mood, or even Technicolor ornaments. Instead, we're riveted to the characters, minus peripheral distractions. Acting-wise, Redgrave's just right for the well-meaning governess, though I would have preferred a little more ambiguity in some of her behavior. Stealing the film, however, is young Jasper Jacob as Miles. I don't know that I've ever seen one so young (14) convey such a sense of wickedness, particularly with his gimlet shaped eyes. Several of his scenes with the mature Redgrave are unusually unsettling in their teetering sexuality.

I've read James' novelette, but had a hard time with the congested prose, which I assume was meant to provide insight into the governess's mental state. Nonetheless, the book was, like the movie, oddly captivating to the end. And as an exercise in dark psychology, I don't think I've read or seen anything more mysteriously tantalizing. So, if you don't mind ambiguities, catch up with this little exercise.


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