Best haunted English manor movie

"The Innocents" (1961) is the rare psychological horror film that can be enjoyed afresh each time you see it. It's a tense, exquisite rendering of Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw," the tale of a governess ( <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB002773" title="Deborah Kerr" href="/topic/entertainment/deborah-kerr-PECLB002773.topic">Deborah Kerr</a>) at a secluded country estate who becomes convinced that her two young charges ( <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB001795" title="Pamela Franklin" href="/topic/entertainment/pamela-franklin-PECLB001795.topic">Pamela Franklin</a> and Martin Stephens) have fallen under the spell of ghosts. The director, Jack Clayton, understands the Jamesian power of suggestion. He etches whole sexual histories in facial shifts and single strokes of dialogue. He also suffuses the material with a palpable creeping terror possible only in the movies. This is one of the few James adaptations that clarifies the source without simplifying or vulgarizing it. Clayton and his screenwriters (William Archibald, <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PEHST000369" title="Truman Capote" href="/topic/arts-culture/literature/truman-capote-PEHST000369.topic">Truman Capote</a> and John Mortimer) tell the story from the nanny's perspective, and take their emotional pitch from her fervor and excitability. It's a tribute to the brilliant, inventive black and white cinematography of Freddie Francis, and to Kerr's eloquent tremor of a performance, that when the heroine witnesses apparitions, they're immediately credible to the audience. The filmmakers, though, never downplay her peculiar Victorian mixture of propriety and romanticism, her willingness to be "carried away." And as the children, Franklin and Stephens embody the kind of precocious, eerie high spirits that could be construed as "corruption." The governess sights the ghosts at all hours, but the ambiguities reach their fullness in the dark. The whole movie is frighteningly beautiful: a night-blooming flower.
bal-theinnocents-picture

( Handout )

"The Innocents" (1961) is the rare psychological horror film that can be enjoyed afresh each time you see it. It's a tense, exquisite rendering of Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw," the tale of a governess ( Deborah Kerr) at a secluded country estate who becomes convinced that her two young charges ( Pamela Franklin and Martin Stephens) have fallen under the spell of ghosts. The director, Jack Clayton, understands the Jamesian power of suggestion. He etches whole sexual histories in facial shifts and single strokes of dialogue. He also suffuses the material with a palpable creeping terror possible only in the movies. This is one of the few James adaptations that clarifies the source without simplifying or vulgarizing it. Clayton and his screenwriters (William Archibald, Truman Capote and John Mortimer) tell the story from the nanny's perspective, and take their emotional pitch from her fervor and excitability. It's a tribute to the brilliant, inventive black and white cinematography of Freddie Francis, and to Kerr's eloquent tremor of a performance, that when the heroine witnesses apparitions, they're immediately credible to the audience. The filmmakers, though, never downplay her peculiar Victorian mixture of propriety and romanticism, her willingness to be "carried away." And as the children, Franklin and Stephens embody the kind of precocious, eerie high spirits that could be construed as "corruption." The governess sights the ghosts at all hours, but the ambiguities reach their fullness in the dark. The whole movie is frighteningly beautiful: a night-blooming flower.

  • Email E-mail
  • add to Twitter Twitter
  • add to Facebook Facebook
  • Home Delivery Home Delivery
Summer outdoor movie festivals [Pictures]

Summer outdoor movie festivals in the area [Pictures]

Grab a beach chair or your favorite blanket, pack a picnic and hop in the back of the car for a whole summer's worth of favorite films.

Event info: Caribbean Carnival Festival at Clifton Park

July 12-13: Caribbean Carnival Festival at Clifton Park

The ethnic festival includes a parade, live reggae and soca music, and plenty of Caribbean food.

Plan your weekend with baltimoresun.com's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up