The Innocents

Starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave, Peter Wyngarde and Megs Jenkins
Screenplay by William Archibald, Truman Capote and John Mortimer.
Based on the novella by Henry James
Directed by Jack Clayton
Running time 100 minutes
UK 1961

  Henry James' intriguing, ambiguous short novel 'The Turn Of The Screw' is the basis for this eerie and chilling British supernatural tale. Miss Giddens, a governess, is engaged by the uncle of two orphans who live at Bly - his country estate. The man's coldness and lack of interest in the children is clear and Miss Giddens is hired on the understanding that she does not trouble him with any type of communication about her charges.

  Once at Bly she quickly forms a relationship with the girl Flora and with Mrs Grose the kindly housekeeper. But when Flora’s brother Miles returns home after being expelled from boarding school the atmosphere changes and the governess begins to believe that the children are behaving strangely. She uncovers sinister secrets about the death of her predecessor a year beforehand and becomes convinced that something truly evil is present… Freddie Francis' exquisite black and white cinemascope photography uses deep focus and bold lighting to give this gothic tale a strange and disturbing beauty while the performances - particularly Deborah Kerr as the fragile Miss Giddens are excellent.

  The script is layered and ambiguous - creating unnerving moments in broad daylight and drawing us in to the mind of the increasingly disturbed heroine. Prepare to be afraid….very afraid