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The Nightcomers

36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Captivating and disturbing, this intense psychodrama with its haunting, twisted notion of sexuality puts a new spin on the characters from Henry James' celebrated ghost story, "The Turn of the Screw." MARLON BRANDO stars as QUINT, a gardener who powerfully impacts the lives of young orphans Miles and Flora, who are left in the care of their governess (STEPHANIE BEACHAM) and housekeeper (THORA HIRD). Obsessed with the charismatic Quint, the children are mesmerized by his warped views of love and life and soon pattern their own lives after his crude, secret courtship with their governess. When the housekeeper finds out about the lovers' relationship, she decides to fire them, leaving the bereft children to take matters into their own chilling hands.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Marlon Brando, Stephanie Beacham, Thora Hird, Harry Andrews, Verna Harvey
  • Directors: Michael Winner
  • Writers: Henry James, Michael Hastings
  • Producers: Michael Winner, Alan Ladd Jr., Elliott Kastner, Jay Kanter
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2007
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OU03BW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,969 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Nightcomers" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Gypsychick on August 16, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Touted as the prequel to "The Turn of the Screw", Brando plays Quint, a sexually charged gardener overseeing the grounds (and soon the players) at a remote English Manor. Two young orphans with only their nurse and housekeeper to tend to them become intrigued and obsessed by the strange Irish man who spends more time spinning tales than cutting the lawn. The children, who are completely closed off from the rest of the world, become willing voyeurs in Quint's creepy tender-violent dance with the nurse and soon find themselves aping the actions of the adults. Their loyalty and fixation with Quint drive them to unspeakable acts when it appears the "parents" may end their own relationship. Brando's Irish brogue is always a treat to hear (as in "The Missouri Breaks") and one always wonders of the horrific tales he spins in character have something to do with his own painful childhood. This film is engrossing and savage and walks the miniscule line between pleasure and pain. It's definitely not a flick for the kiddies.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Brian J. Greene VINE VOICE on June 24, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Chilling, tense, compelling take on The Turn of the Screw. Brando plays a ruffian gardener/caretaker who has some of his very own ideas about life, love, and nature. He has totally under his spell the two newly-orphaned children living in the house, as well as their buxom nanny. The story is fascinating from the first scene and never lets up. Danger is ever-present, yet when it strikes you are shocked and surprised. Some of the sex scenes between Brando and a lovely young Stepahnie Beacham push the envelope, to the point where you would almost call this softcore, because of the exposed personal parts and the S&M nature of some of these scenes. Some also might be disturbed by the two adolescent children playing at some of these scenarios, they having spied on the couple at night. But none of that is gratuituous, it is all part of the story, and if that doesn't bother you you will love the film.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A. Griffiths on June 28, 2007
Format: DVD
The famous prequel to "The Innocents" is finally available on DVD, but sadly it could never come close to the subtle perfection of that classic. Still, it's still an interesting film. Starring Marlon Brando and Stephanie Beacham, it imagines a possible scenario that may have been played out between Quint and Miss Jessell (who are already dead at the start of the action in the original novel, "The Turn Of The Screw"), and the two children who interact with them. A new governess is left with the psychological mess they left behind in the minds of these children, and that is the role played by Deborah Kerr in the 1960 classic, but it forms just the tail end of the film we have here.
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 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!).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 5, 2009
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
"Based on the characters" created by a Henry James novella "The Turn of the Screw," "The Nightcomers" is something of a curiosity. Probably without the name of Marlon Brando, the film would have been totally forgotten by now. My VHS tape's cover says "Don't miss this sexy shocker." Looking back from now, the 1971 Michael Winner film may still look sexy, but is not shocking any 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.
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