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The Innocents [Blu-ray]

4.5 out of 5 stars 268 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Germany released, Blu-Ray/Region A/B/C : it WILL NOT play on regular DVD player. You need Blu-Ray DVD player to view this Blu-Ray DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Dolby Linear PCM ), German ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), German ( Dolby Linear PCM ), English ( Subtitles ), German ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Behind the scenes, Black & White, Commentary, Interactive Menu, Photo Gallery, Scene Access, Short Film, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: In late 19th century England, an inexperienced young woman (Kerr) becomes governess to a small orphan girl living in a lonely stately home occupied only by the child, a housekeeper and a small complement of servants. Her initial misgivings allayed by the child's angelic nature, her anxieties are once more aroused when the girl's brother, equally captivating, is sent home from boarding school for wickedness of some unspecified kind. Then eerie apparitions and inexplicable behaviour on the children's part cause her to wonder about the house's history, especially about the fate of the previous governess and the former valet, Peter Quint, and to fear for the children's souls and for her own sanity. Eventually convinced that there is an unnatural force at work, perverting the innocence of her charges, she sets out to secure the children's salvation by wresting them from its power. Though her struggle reaches a resolution, its real nature and its outcome ultimately remain ambiguous.
SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Edgar Allan Poe Awards, ...The Innocents (1961)

Product Details

  • Actors: Deborah Kerr, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave, Peter Wyngarde, Martin Stephens
  • Directors: Jack Clayton
  • Producers: The Innocents (1961)
  • Format: Import, Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, German
  • Region: Region B/2, Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Run Time: 100.00 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008BD8NU2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,110 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"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, cars flipping over and ghostly cyclones sweeping up entire neighborhoods. In other words, it would be over-produced farce.

But in 1961, when this was made, storytelling still took a front seat in motion picture production. The whole point of a movie is to tell a story, not dazzle you with plotless, computer generated B-roll footage.

Marvelous sets, costumes and fine manners make this film a veritable recruitment tool for the 19th century, which appears indescribably beautiful. The performances are excellent and one can't help but think you'd never find a child actor today who could handle the dialogue as well as young Martin Stephens does here. In 1961, children were far better educated (especially in upper class England) than they are today; so finding an actor who could present adult dialogue with such subtlety and sophistication wasn't the problem it would be in 2014.

The only point on which I disagree with this film's producers is the use of birdsong in the opening and closing scenes, as well as in a few other places. It seems far too cheery and somewhat out of place, especially when used at night. Were I the film's director, I would have ordered the sound of wind blowing through the branches instead.

Nevertheless, this is a wonderful film, not to be missed.
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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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