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The Innocents


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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 (222 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009X75EC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,137 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 best horror stories are those that are psychological in nature; that is, they make the viewer - or reader - experience the terror in his or her mind.
Reginald D. Garrard
I think that it needs to be seen more than once to understand the story better, even if you already know how it ends.
Mavis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 132 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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144 of 162 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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27 of 29 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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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jay Dickson VINE VOICE on 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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