The Innocents (1961)
Full Cast and Crew for The Innocents (1961)
Cast (in credits order)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Original Music by
Film Editing by
Art Direction by
Costume Design by
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Awards for The Innocents (1961)
1962 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best British Film
1962 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Film from any Source
Directors Guild of America, USA
1962 Nominated DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
Edgar Allan Poe Awards
1962 Won Edgar Best Motion Picture
National Board of Review, USA
1961 Won NBR Award Best Director
Writers Guild of America, USA
1962 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Written American Drama
AMG Info for The Innocents (1961)
UK (1961)- 100 min. - Feature, B&W
Amazon.com Review for The Innocents (1961)
The definitive screen adaptation of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, the 1961 production of The Innocents remains one of the most effective ghost stories ever filmed. Originally promoted as the first truly "adult" chiller of the big screen (a marginally valid claim considering the release of Psycho a year earlier), the film arrived at a time when the thematic depth of James's story could finally be addressed without the compromise of reductive discretion. And while the Freudian anxiety that fuels the story may seem tame by today's standards, the psychological horrors that comprise the story's "dark secret" are given full expression in a film that brilliantly clouds the boundary between tragic reality and frightful imagination.
In one of her finest performances, Deborah Kerr stars as Miss Giddons, a devout and somewhat repressed spinster who happily accepts the position of governess for two orphaned children whose uncle (Michael Redgrave) readily admits to having no interest in being tied down by two "brats." So Miss Giddons is dispatched to Bly House, the lavish, shadowy estate where young Flora (Pamela Franklin) and her brother Miles (Martin Stephens, so memorable in 1960's Village of the Damned) live with a good-natured housekeeper (Megs Jenkins). At first, life at Bly House seems splendidly idyllic, but as Miss Giddons learns the horrible truth about the estate's now-deceased groundskeeper and previous governess, she begins to suspect that her young charges are ensnared in a devious plot from beyond the grave.
Ghostly images are revealed in only the most fleeting glimpses, and the outstanding Cinemascope photography by Freddie Francis (who used special filters to subtly darken the edges of the screen) turns Bly House into a welcoming mansion by day, a maze of mystery and terror by night. Sound effects and music are used to bone-chilling effect, and director Jack Clayton, blessed with a script by William Archibald and Truman Capote, maintains a deliberate pace to emphasize the ambiguity of James's timeless novella. The result is a masterful film--comparable to the 1963 classic The Haunting--that uses subtlety and suggestion to reach the pinnacle of fear.
CineBooks' Motion Picture Guide Review for The Innocents (1961)
UK (1961): Horror
Based on Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, THE INNOCENTS is a fine chiller that builds suspense slowly, subtly, and inexorably.
A haunted estate. Though the estate is a beautiful refuge, there is also an air of eeriness about the place. Miss Giddens thinks she sees a man atop the house, is temporarily blinded by the sun, and then discovers Miles feeding pigeons where she thought the man was. Feeling that her eyes must have played tricks on her, she calms down; later, however, she sees the specter of a woman at a window, and then sees the man again, getting a glimpse of his twisted face.
When she describes these apparitions to Mrs. Grose, she is told that the descriptions match those of the estate's late manager and his dead lover, the woman who preceded Miss Giddens as governess. Miss Giddens learns further that the deceased lovers had a sadomasochistic relationship, and that they had a considerable influence on the children.
Spirits confronted. Believing that Miles and Flora may have been possessed by the ghostly couple, Miss Giddens makes vain attempts to get the children to own up to what's really happening in their cherubic heads, but the duo will have none of her prying. She tries to frighten Flora into admitting that she is possessed, but the girl becomes hysterical and leaves the house with Mrs. Grose.
Feeling that these tactics may have rid Flora of her demon, Miss Giddens now begins to work on Miles. When the manager's ghost reappears before them, Miss Giddens forces the boy to say the man's name, thus admitting that he can see the figure as well as she can. Miles speaks the man's name (Quint), then falls dead at Miss Giddens's feet. She lifts the little figure, kisses him, and begins to pray for his immortal soul as the film ends.
Pauline Kael Review for The Innocents (1961)
UK (1961): Horror
Directed by Jack Clayton and photographed by Freddie Francis (in CinemaScope, in black and white), this version of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw is one of the most elegantly beautiful ghost movies ever made. It features a scary, intense performance by Deborah Kerr, as the governess who sees demonic spectres and forces one of her two charges—the little boy Miles (Martin Stephens)—to confront them. Both Kerr and Michael Redgrave, as the gent who hires her, have just the right note of suppressed hysteria in their voices. The settings—the house, the park, the lake—are magnificent, and the script by William Archibald, Truman Capote, and John Mortimer offers the pleasures of literacy. The filmmakers concentrate on the virtuoso possibilities in the material, and the beauty of the images raises our terror to a higher plane than the simple fears of most ghost stories. There are great sequences (like one in a schoolroom) that work on the viewer's imagination and remain teasingly ambiguous. With Pamela Franklin, Megs Jenkins, Peter Wyngarde, and Clytie Jessop. Music by Georges Auric. Released in the U.S. by 20th Century-Fox.
Leonard Maltin Review for The Innocents (1961)
UK (1961): Horror
First-rate thriller based on Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, with Kerr as governess haunted by specters that may or may not be real. Script by William Archibald and Truman Capote, brilliantly realized on film. Photographed by Freddie Francis. James's short story remade in 1992. CinemaScope.
Memorable Quotes from The Innocents (1961)
Miles: It was only the wind, my dear.
Miles: What shall I sing to my lord from my window? What shall I sing for my lord will not stay? What shall I sing for my lord will not listen? Where shall I go when my lord is away? Whom shall I love when the moon is arisen? Gone is my lord and the grave is his prison. What shall I say when my lord comes a calling? What shall I say when he knocks on my door? What shall I say when his feet enter softly? Leaving the marks of his grave on my floor. Enter my lord. Come from your prison. Come from your grave, for the moon is a risen. Enter, my lord.
Miss Giddens: But above anything else, I love the children.
Flora: [singing] We lay my love and I, beneath the weeping willow. But now alone I lie and weep beside the tree. Singing "Oh willow waly" by the tree that weeps with me. Singing "Oh willow waly" till my lover return to me. We lay my love and I beneath the weeping willow. A broken heart have I. Oh willow I die, oh willow I die...
Trivia for The Innocents (1961)
There is reference to a "Reverend Fennell." Albert Fennell was the film's executive producer.
Goofs for The Innocents (1961)
Continuity: When Miss Giddens goes upstairs to the bedroom, the candle varies in size between shots.
Continuity: In the scene where Miles is on the horse, he rides with and without a saddle in various shots.
The Innocents (1961)
Format: Closed-captioned, Black & White, Anamorphic, NTSC
Available Subtitles: English, Spanish
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