Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Innocents

A governess (Deborah Kerr) arrives at a countryside manor to take charge of two young children under strict instructions from their uncaring guardian uncle (Michael Redgrave) never to contact him, no matter how dire the circumstances become. Quickly she becomes convinced that her wards have been corrupted by two recently deceased overseers, and are now possessed by their spirits. From the classic novella The Turn of the Screw, Jack Clayton's The Innocents is the definitive and a relatively simple haunted house movie, a genre that has been fumbled by filmmakers so often over the years. Screenwriters Truman Capote and William Archibald fill in the blanks of Henry James' story to great effect and superb black and white photography and a few camera tricks lend to some genuinely spooky moments. Kerr and Megs Jenkins, playing a long term maid, both turn in terrific performances.