I know that nobody wants to read such tall comments. But I can't say it in a short way. If you like "The innocents", it could be interesting for you. If you don't like it, this comment will probably change your opinion!
Yes, this film is not scary! It is absolutely possible that Ms. Giddens is the mad one in this story and the children are in fact "The innocents".
Just look at the amazing emotion-symbols: When Ms. Giddens arrives in Bly, the camera shows Flora's reflect in the water. The following perspective proves Giddens' and Flora's reflects over the water. A sign that both of them do have a close second personality.
The butterfly on Ms. Giddens' dress... One day later, when she carries out that Miles will come home, Flora comments that a spider eats a butterfly and that she LIKES spiders.
A voice screams "Flora!" - the ghost of Ms. Jessel? There is no resolving while the whole film.. It could have been the cook, too, like Mrs. Grose says.
It's absolutely clear: Ms. Giddens identifies herself with the dead Ms. Jessel. She looks in a mirror at the wall while she asks Mrs. Grose, what a kind of woman Ms. Jessel was. At the end, she wears Ms. Jessel's dress.
Flowers loose their blossoms when she touches them (symbol for falling innocence through Ms. Giddens - in one scene a blossom falls on her holy bible!) The wobbling roller-blind-pendulum is the perfect mark of Ms. Giddens' sexual fantasy. She discerns Quint's ghost AFTER she has seen his photography.
AND: The film begins with its end. Ms. Giddens remembers what is happened in the last months. So we see the whole movie in her recall. Who says that it is the right version? Miles dies at the end: Was it the bad ghost of Quint, Jessel or was it he bad ghost of Ms. Giddens??
A wonderful shy musical score emphasizes this stroke of genius. The lullaby "O willow waly", almost constantly in sad minor-accords, is another sign for the children's innocence. Flora hums it a lot of times (one of the rare differences to Henry James' novel), but she never sings the grave lyrics.
Some people said that Deborah Kerr overacts here. In my opinion it is her best performance. Excellent performances by the two children, too (although they couldn't know the sense of the story), fantastic cinematography, great atmosphere. And the screenplay seems almost to be written by Henry James, himself.
Wow! Believe me, this is a masterpiece!
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