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Turn of the Screw [VHS]

2.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews


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Product Details

  • Actors: Lynn Redgrave, Megs Jenkins, John Barron, Anthony Langdon, Kathryn Leigh Scott
  • Directors: Dan Curtis
  • Writers: Henry James, William F. Nolan
  • Producers: Dan Curtis, Tim Steele
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Mpi Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: October 19, 1994
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303320597
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,251 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Kesler on August 7, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Though I appear to be a minority, I'd like to praise this version of "The Turn of the Screw," not because I think it's an improvement over the 1961 film version, "The Innocents," but because I think it succeeds in the context of its own particular medium: videotape. True, this rendering of Henry James is not "cinematic" in the usual sense, but the very nature of videotape precludes the stylistic approach of celluloid. What this version lacks in the verisimilitude of exterior settings, it more than compensates for in terms of intimacy of atmosphere (the main virtue of videotaped productions), so that I encountered a mood of claustrophobia lacking in theatrical versions. In fact, this "Turn of the Screw," like Dan Curtis's 1968 version of "Jekyll and Hyde" (and like the BBC videotape of "Count Dracula") carries much of the directness of on-stage drama: precisely because of its technical lack of "polish," it draws the viewer into a more authentic sense of involvement. As for the acting, here, too, I have to partially differ, since I feel Lynn Redgrave gave a fine and measured performance (not over-the-top, as some reviews have stated). If I had any quarrel with the acting, it was with Jasper Jacob as "Miles," because the actor looked 4 or 5 years too old for the role. Still, his performance was passable, and as for Eva Griffith, her "Flora" was superb; Griffith's face, moreover, has remarkable sensuality for a child actress, which makes the gradual onset of libertine possession all the more believable. In short, this is one of my favorite adaptations of a famous horror novel which, whatever its flaws, is one I'd love to have on DVD.
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Format: VHS Tape
Despite a few nay sayers out there,this video was pretty darn good. It may not have a polished look,but then again,it was made for television. Within that contects,this version thrives like a vegetable in the rain. The sets are good as well as the acting,effects,and the frightning score by Robert Corbert.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Well-acted, eerie atmosphere, BBC-style British television spooker is all set to be near-perfect, of a quality right up there with The Changeling or the Woman In Black. But some viewers may be turned off by the relentless torturing of animals that the two kids get up to - far more so than the barely hinted at suggestions in The Innocents film version of this great Henry James story. I found this aspect spoiled what could have easily been otherwise an above-average haunted house movie relying on psychological chills in the best tradition of The Haunting.
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Format: DVD
What a number of viewers of this program fail to realize is that this adaptation of the classic Henry James novel was videotaped in its entirely on location at a centuries-old estate in England. With the video format, a high degree of intimacy is realized and, as a result, the production feels very much like a stage play. The only exception is the outdoor portions of the program, which are shot on grainy 16mm film that gives a totally different visual impact.
Additionally, some reviewers fail to understand that the music score includes frequent use of eerie percussion cues, which several people on Amazon have mistakenly referred to as sound effects. The music very much adds to the moody, mysterious atmosphere.
This program was shot for ABC-TV's "Wide World of Entertainment" series, originally airing in 1974. It is not a British production but was shot in England. The late Lynn Regrave was a fine actress and viewers should look at this like a stage play and not expect a cinematic film experience. On that level it succeeds admirably considering the budgetary limitations. The richness of shooting in a genuine old estate - no phony studio sets here -- is another plus.
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Format: DVD
Lynn Redgrave is Jane Cubberly, a governess who takes over the care of two children Flora and Miles at Bly House. In this quiet country estate she experiences or sees strange things. By the time she knows the truths about her predecessor Miss Jessel and one Peter Quint, she is convinced that some evil force is out there, waiting for the chance to corrupt the two "innocent" children in her charge.

Dan Curtis directed this made-for-TV adaptation of Henry James' famous novella in 1974. The production is obviously low-budget and some images and sound effects are technically inept - in the "storm" scene there is no storm; the sun is shining somewhere up above. The menacing presence of "them" (you know what I am talking about) are not menacing enough; they look like actors with special make-ups - but that is not really the problem of this version.

In spite of some nice visual tricks, Dan Curtis' film is not creepy or psychologically insightful enough. The ambiguity of the original book is totally gone. Look how the governess talking back to her employer, the children's uncle, calling him "dreadful." Her repressed sexual desire is part of her (over)eagerness to "protect her" children, but the film discards one of the most intriguing parts of James' story.

Instead, materials are added to the plot that should be simple, but they result in the film's most unconvincing (and sometimes boring) scenes. When young boy Miles should be a "perfect" and "innocent" child, in her eyes at least, the film describes him as cold-hearted animal torturer. Clearly the boy is not "innocent" in the way the governess would want him to be (neither is Flora, who can be insensitive to the dead frog), but Ms. Cubberly is too slow to understand what is so obvious to us.
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