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First of all, Marlon Brando does a good job as the gardener/handyman. He portrays just the right amount of latent brutality and sex appeal to convince you that a prim governess could fall under his spell. I'm no Brando expert, and it may be that he is just playing himself, but it works...my only quibble is his rather thickly laid-on Irish accent which sounds a bit too forced to totally convince. Stephanie Beacham also fares well as the governess, although her character is sketched in far less detail. The two children are played rather woodenly, but to be fair they (and the rest of the cast) are hampered by a pretty hideous script which thinks it is approximating the style of talking in England in Victorian times, with lots of "pray tell me" and "you scoundrel" type of dialogue, and nobody ever uses contractions, which sounds extremely affected. Another main problem with the movie is that it is... well, just a bit low on events. Winner goes a bit overboard on the symbolism with shots of dolls without eyes, small animals dead or dying, or childhood toys found covered in maggots (gasp!).Read more ›
Being a "prequel" to the Henry James story (or Jack Clayton's "The Innocents"), the story of "The Nightcomers" revolves around an enigmatic gardener Peter Quint (Marlon Brando) and his love/hate relations with the governess Miss Jessel (Stephanie Beacham). Brando's character also serves as a kind of father-figure to the two children Flora and Miles, whose strange behaviors often annoy the uptight housekeeper Mrs. Grose.
The film offers an interesting interpretation of what happened to Peter Quint and Miss Jessel, whose fates are only vaguely suggested in the original book. Brando's Quint is charismatic and sexy enough to convince us of his liaison with the repressed Miss Jessel, with several scenes that remind us of "Basic Instinct."
Unfortunately the two kids are much less successful, especially Flora. In short, they show no character development and remain uninteresting throughout the story. Once we see through the true nature of these innocent-looking children, which happens pretty early on, we have nothing to discover in their characters.
Instead of psychological nuances or emotional tensions, director Michael Winner (known for his revenge thriller "Death Wish") relies on shock tactics like blowing up a poor toad. I still don't understand why he was hired for this film, which obviously requires more subtle storytelling. In spite of Brando's mesmerizing performances (including his making funny faces), and the good photography that captures the creepy atmosphere of Bly House, "The Nightcomers" is a disappointing entry in Marlon Brando's filmography.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This film is a pre-quel to Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I really wanted to like this film. Marlon Brando plays the mysterious Peter Quint, and the film offers a glimpse of... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Caligirl
The greatest actor of all time. In an interesting and underrated movie. He was work is always like an acting lesson interestingPublished 21 months ago by deverill weekes
I didn't expect much from this movie, and that's exactly what I got. If you liked "The Turn of the Screw" and "The Innocents" with Deborah Kerr, steer clear of... Read morePublished 22 months ago by SLB