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The Innocents (BFI)

Released on 11 December 2006

Featuring: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde & Megs Jenkins

Format: DVD | Rating: 12 years & over

5.0 out of 5 (4 customer reviews) | Write a review

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The Innocents tells of an impressionable and repressed governess, Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), who agrees to tutor two orphaned children, Miles (Martin Stephens) and Flora (Pamela Franklin). On arrival at Bly House, she becomes convinced that the children are possessed by the perverse spirits of former governess Miss Jessel (Clytie Jessop) and her Heathcliffe-like lover Quint (Peter Wyngarde), who both met with mysterious deaths.

Based on the novelThe Turn Of The Screw by Henry James.
  • Audio commentary from Christopher Frayling
  • Introduction from Christopher Frayling
  • 'The Bespoke Overcoat' short film
  • Gallery

customer Reviews

 Average rating (4 reviews)

 Intelligent and genuinely disturbing

| | See all ThomasKus's reviews (1)

From the amazing opening credits (the usual 20th Century fanfare is replaced by a child's lament and black screens) to the stunning end this is a classic in every sense. Much is owed to the razor sharp and often ambiguously unsettling dialogue written by Truman Capote, the stunning black and white photography and the outstanding acting from Deborah Kerr as well as the two young children. Yes, there are some Hammer Horror cliches like the open windows, rolling thunders, hysterical screaming and supposedly scary ghosts but the overall result is a hugely satisfying and positively memorable film.

Make sure you don't miss out on the extras, especially the 20min introduction that should be watched after seeing the film, though, as it contains a number of spoilers. However, it does give great insights without having to sit through the feature length commentary which I assume will provide further insights when I get around watching this next time.

 Classic spinechiller

| | See all Sandgrounder1's reviews (1)

This classic British spinechiller from the early 60s is, to my mind, probably the best ghost film ever made. Even watching it today, almost 50 years later it is a film that once seen will stay with you. Deborah Kerr is excellent as the repressed governess who discovers a terrible secret haunting the two children in her care. A sense of dread and menace pervades the film, much of it created by the superb black and white photography. No blood, no gore, just sinister events in a Victorian mansion. If you haven't seen it, try not to watch it alone, as you will be well and truly spooked. This is a truly scary film that belongs in the collection of all fans of the supernatural.

 'I only wanted to protect them......'

| | See all Kevin1075's reviews (754)

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I picked this up a little while ago based on it's reputation and because I had recently read the book 'The Turn of the Screw' on which the stage play version of which this film is based upon.

As in that book and play the basic story follows an unamed Governess (Deborah Kerr) as she arrives at the vast Bly House to care for two young children, Flora and Miles. Initially entranced by the beauty of the house and the charming children the Governess begins to see (or does she?) figures and movements around the house. Discovering the story of the deaths of her predecessor Miss Jessel and her lover Peter Quint and putting the two together she becomes convinced she is facing a battle for the very souls of her two young charges.

But is any of it actually happening?

Quite possibly one of the finest examples of psyhological horror and beautiful ambiguity over just what is really going on the film stands on the direction of Jack Clayton, the expert photography of Freddie Francis - which makes use of the viewers pheripheral vision to full effect - and the dominating performance of Deborah Kerr. Also the performances of the children are impressive, especially the interaction between Martin Stephens as Miles and Kerr as the film build to the final confrontation between them.

The extras on this disc are few but certainly informative. A very detailed commentary by Christopher Frayling, and a filmed introduction on the real estate used to depict Bly House plus a booklet and a short film 'The Bespoke Overcoat' - another ghost story that was one of director Jack Clayton's early films.

A fantastic film to watch with the lights out and to savour over many many rewatches!

 Unsettling stuff

| | See all RJNeb2's reviews (670)

A governess comes to take charge of two children in a large country house and comes to believe that they are channelling the spirits of two previous inhabitants, now deceased. Or is it all the product of her feverish imagination? The power here is that we're never really sure and thanks to Kerr's beautifully nuanced performance, barely holding it together, and Clayton's careful pacing and staging, it creates a real sense of unease, capped off by a couple of truly hair-raising moments. From the Less is More school of scary movies, probably the real star here is cinematographer Freddie Francis and his exemplary use of the Cinemascope widescreen.

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ActorsDeborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave, Martin Stephens, Pamela Franklin, Clytie Jessop & Isla Cameron
DirectorJack Clayton
Certificate12 years and over
Year1961
ScreenWidescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic
LanguagesEnglish - Dolby Digital (1.0) Mono
SubtitlesEnglish for the hearing impaired
Duration1 hour and 40 minutes (approx)
RegionRegion 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.