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The Innocents


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The Innocents + The Uninvited (Criterion Collection) + The Haunting
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Product Details

  • Actors: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave, Martin Stephens
  • Directors: Jack Clayton
  • Writers: Henry James, John Mortimer, Truman Capote, William Archibald
  • Producers: Jack Clayton, Albert Fennell
  • Format: Widescreen, NTSC, Anamorphic
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2005
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009X75EC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,077 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Innocents" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Includes widescreen anamorphic and full-screen versions

Editorial Reviews

Deborah Kerr stars in this "horrifying Gothic ghost tale" (Newsweek) based on Henry James' "The Turn Of The Screw,' a powerful psychological drama about innocence possessed by evil. Shortly after coming to live with orphans Flora and Miles in their dark, eerie mansion, the new governess (Kerr) mistakes their strange behavior for preciousness. But she soon comes to believe that the charming, beautiful children are possessed by evil, malicious spirits - the souls of their previous governess and estate manager who are now dead. With its shocking conclusion and sinister cinematic effects. The Innocents "catches an eerie, spine-chilling mood right from the start" (Variety) that never lets up.

Customer Reviews

It's one of the very best films ever made.
Bennett Yellin
The pacing is slow like many ghost stories creating tension and a sense of unease due to the unusual camera angles and visuals.
Wayne Klein
This is a very good movie with great acting.
wg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Mad Dog on January 29, 2002
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
There have been several adaptations of The Turn Of The Screw, but none as effective as this 1961 gem. Working on the axiom that less-is-more, Clayton shows remarkable and deliberate restraint, and it pays off.
Kerr plays governess to two children one of which may or may not be the victim of possession. Anything more would be giving it away.
Certainly in the top ten list of Horror/Ghost story films of all time, The Innocents compares favorably with "The Haunting" (the original '63 version). Kerr's spectral visions are as solid as the furniture -- they're just harder to find, and lot scarier; the film is an example of how little one needs to resort to SPFX when one knows how to make drama.
On the down side the original was photographed in lush monochrome cinemascope, and the only version released to date (that I'm aware of) is pan-an-scan, so you're missing about 40% of the image.
Still, even in this limited form, "The Innocents" is as scary as anything that's come out of Hollywood inthe last twenty years (er, I mean deliberately scarey -- the remake of The Haunting was scarey for all the wrong reasons).
Please let there be a DVD soon!
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131 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Schuyler V. Johnson VINE VOICE on March 6, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
I saw this when it first came out, and the performances by the children, Miles and Flora, show acting skills far beyond their years. Calling Ms. Kerr, the governess, "Miss Giddons dear" and faintly mocking tones, they dominate the movie; their haunting and possession by the dead servants, Quint and Miss Jessel, are something to see. One of the scenes that scared me the most was the one where Flora is dancing, in the little stone gazebo, to the haunting music box theme, by the lake, and the dead Miss Jessel appearing, watching her from the middle of the lake, seemingly suspended on some water plants, looking sad in her black mourning dress. Flora seems to be dancing for her, and the effect is chilling. The entire movie has a neverending undercurrent of terror, albeit quiet terror, and you never know, literally, what is around the next corner of the vast house. Quint appears to Miss Giddons, outside a window, during a game of hide and go seek, and Miss Jessel glides eerily by a hallway, in her requisite black mourning dress. The housekeeper, Mrs. Gross, stands by the children and refuses to believe they are anything less than "innocent", while Miss Giddons adopts a more pragmatic (and accurate) view of how damaged and under the influence of these two entities the two children really are. Miss Giddons has a dramatic showdown with Flora, by forcing her to acknowledge the existence of Miss Jessel in the scene by the lake, and afterwards the traumatized Flora is taken away by the housekeeper and Miss Giddons is left alone in the house with Miles.Read more ›
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 16, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Is "The Innocents" a ghost story or a psychological drama? It depends on the viewer. A logically minded person will conclude that the governess is psychotic and the morbid history of the house and the children created the hauntings within her mind. However, imaginative viewers will conclude the obvious: the children are literally possessed by the deceased governess and her sadistic lover. There are contradictory clues within the movie that point to both solutions. For instance, if the children were not possessed how did Flora know that Miles was coming home? However, if the children were possessed why was the governess the only one to see or hear any evidence of the apparitions? Much of the reason "The Innocents" is such an effective suspense film is because of its ambiguity. This is much more effective than newer horror films such as "The Haunting" (1999) in which the ghosts literally tear down the house. "The Haunting" wasn't frightening at all. Successful movies about the supernatural know what to show and what to leave to your imagination. "The Innocents" is a convincing ghost story, because all reports or sightings of ghosts end with one of two possible explanations. Either there was a ghost or there wasn't, and it's up to each one of us to decide.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Willert on June 25, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
There have been some great horror films in the 20th century. Hitchcock was responsible for probably a half dozen himself. The more recent "The Others" comes to mind, and "The Sixth Sense". But nothing compares to Henry James' tale of horror in Turn of the Screw, aptly named THE INNOCENTS for film. Deborah Kerr is perfectly cast as the governess of two children who seem to be possessed by two tragic ghostly figures that only the governess can see. Creepy, haunting, a movie you probably don't want to watch alone, though I have. Great cast. Director Jack Clayton has the perfect touch. Though I am giving the film itself 5 stars, I wouldn't give the VHS version a high mark at all. The audience is forced to watch this magnificent film in the dreadful 'full screen' mode. All we see are mouths and noses at times. If the studio doesn't want to release the film on DVD, at least bring out a special 'wide screen' VHS version so we can see the movie as it should be seen. Or, better yet, release THE INNOCENTS on DVD. It deserves as much attention as most classics.
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