Classic film - essential viewing
- The Innocents review by PV
If you've seen 'The Others', then you see this film, you'll see where 'The Others' got all its ideas from. Brilliant writing - mostly by Truman Capote - and well-adapted from Henry James' classic Turning of the Screw, this film still has the ability to shock and scare.
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Wonderful classic horror
- The Innocents review by JD
This is probably the best horror film I have ever seen because there is much more than just horror. I was not drawn in at first because it seemed dated and unnecessarily upper class, but for the big house, creaky floored, evil servant atmosphere it has to be like this. The direction would have been outstanding in any era but startlingly good for 1961. The acting is also strangely untheatrical. My slightest criticism would be that the balance of "is she mad or are they evil" was too close and I was unsure in the final scene which to believe. The other thing is that I am not a great horror fan. If you are this is easily a 5 star.
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- The Innocents review by NP
The nasty blood-red delights of Hammer films a few years before had instantly rendered horror adaptions like this somewhat genteel (which is one alleged reason why Hammer themselves slid out of favour about a decade later). Indeed, one of the joys of this 20th Century Fox production is the glimpse it shares of another, softer world - a world of crisp manners, phrases like 'stuff and nonsense', elegant houses and rolling summer gardens. Not a tracksuit or a gold chain in sight.
Away from this fond reminiscing, 'The Innocents' is a terrific and beautifully acted horror story about two demonic children. And yet the youngsters, so well-played by Martin Stephens (as Miles) and Pamela Franklin (as Flora), may be somewhat mannered, but never brattish as young performances can be (relentlessly chirpy, if anything). Deborah Kerr (as naïve Miss Giddens) and Megs Jenkins (Mrs Grose) are wonderful as the two extremely well-meaning women placed in charge of the juveniles, who gradually, are revealed to possess extraordinary perceptive powers. Peter Wyngarde, the unofficial face of the late 1960s, is unnerving as the sombre Peter Quint.
Director Jack Clayton and cinematographer Freddie Francis extol the virtues of the black-and-white world and pack each scene with detail of comfort and splendour, only to offshoot them with moments of increasing unease.
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