The Innocents


One of those early 60's films that were so effectively done--much like The Haunting, and it shares the same fault as The Haunting which is that it collapses the ambiguity into the original and leaves no room for the real questions raised by the original work.

The Innocents is The Turn of the Screw without the framing story. Deborah Kerr plays the governess, and does it superbly. The two children are quite good up to the end. I dare not say more but to state that the movie is completely true to the original work except as I've suggested above.

Turn of the Screw is a much more nuanced and productive work than a similar film The Rocking-Horse Winner. (May not be the title of the film, but that's the title of the D. H. Lawrence short story from which it is made. Both films have as their focus children and their "contact" with the supernatural world. The Turn of the Screw raises the question of whether the problem is located in the supernatural world or in the children themselves or in the mind of the governess. Like The Haunting of Hill House which begs the questions as to whether it is really the house that is haunted or the person, so Turn of the Screw offers this very ambiguous choice. Unfortunately the film unnecessarily collapses the choice and answers the question.

Despite this minor shortcoming, the film is beautifully done. Rich, crisp black and white photography that is never muddy or vague. Not a lot of extra "sountrack" music. A very plain, very stark, very beautifully done film. Highly recommended.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 5, 2005 9:38 AM.

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