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The Innocents (2005)

Deborah Kerr , Peter Wyngarde , Jack Clayton  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)

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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: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2005
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009X75EC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,508 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
114 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, Inspired and Terrifying January 29, 2002
By Mad Dog
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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138 of 156 people found the following review helpful
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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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest ghost story ever filmed February 25, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Jack Clayton's superb film version of Henry James's novella THE TURN OF THE SCREW is unquestionably the most faithful rendition of James ever brought to the screen: the film retains not only all the famous ambiguity of the novella but also all the beauty as well as all the suspense and horror. Deborah Kerr gives the performance of her life (with the exception only, perhaps, of Sister Clodagh in BLACK NARCISSUS) as the beautiful and hysterical governess brought to a gigantic mansion to care for two odd children, who may or may not be communing with the ghosts of Kerr's predecessor and the manor's manservant. The uncertainty as to whether the ghosts are real--or products of the governess's repressed fears and insecurities--is the famous crux of the James novella, and beautifully translated into the film. There are teasing moments of narrative uncertainty, such as the classic sequence in the schoolroom, that capture all the mystery of the original source, and the great sequence with Kerr trying to restrain a hysterical Flora from joining what looks to be the ghost of Miss Jessel out by the manor's lake in the pouring rain is authentically creepy.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Innocents" is a convincing ghost story. October 16, 1999
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wholly unsettling film.
What a wholly unsettling film.

The Innocents is probably my favorite creepy or scary movie of all-time. Very excited for the Criterion Blu-ray release!
Published 13 days ago by River Rivers
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh.
Wasn't the best movie. The acting was kind of bizarre. Not very scary.
Published 13 days ago by Bride2be
5.0 out of 5 stars A veritable recruitment poster for the 19th century
"The Innocents" is effective because of its restraint. If this were filmed today, it would be ruined by endless CGI effects, propane explosions, windows blowing out of high-rises,... Read more
Published 29 days ago by 1960Fury
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss It
Unbelievable acting from Master Miles and his sister. Terrifying if this happened to you. Shocking ending.
Published 1 month ago by Janet Mittleman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Deborah was always great!
Published 1 month ago by Raymond G. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch The Greatest Fright Movie First , "The Innocents"
With the ugly "slice and dice genre" raising it's "no-brained head" again on today's movie screens-it's a genuine pleasure to know that this elegantly superior... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Richard Beynon
2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to todays standards.
A really boring film
Published 2 months ago by Stephen Toms
4.0 out of 5 stars Oldie but Still Pretty Goodie
It's been a very long time since I saw this classic film. I wasn't sure if it would have the same impact on me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Skyeleo
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest ghost story of all time!
Thank you Criterion for giving "The Innocents" it's deserved special place in your library. I thought I had become desensitized to all horror cliches and bloody visuals,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Movie Monster
4.0 out of 5 stars A very scary movie
I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. It was truly scary, a great haunted house movie. Deborah Kerr is superb as a governess who might be losing her mind, as the two children... Read more
Published 3 months ago by B. Adducchio
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