Saturday, 28 July 2007

The Innocents (1961)

The Innocents released in 1961, is based on the classic Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw. Conveying the uncertainties and ambiguities of the story on film would seem to be a daunting task but director Jack Clayton has done a superb job. If anything the movie is perhaps even better than the book. I realise that that is a very ambitious claim, but this is a very fine movie indeed. Much of the credit for the film’s success goes to Deborah Kerr in what is possibly the greatest performance of a long and distinguished career. .

The story involves a governess (Kerr) who believes the children in her charge to be menaced by ghosts. But what is really going on? Kerr is always finely balanced on the edge of hysteria, but without ever becoming annoying and without ever losing the viewer’s sympathies. This film also looks superb. I can’t recommend this movie highly enough.

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