Friday, February 5, 2010

"It was only the wind, my dear."

Prompted by reading a review of Boston Lyric Opera's production of Britten's Turn of the Screw, I thought I would post a little something about how much I seriously love one particular film adaptation of this Henry James' story.

The Innocents, starring Deborah Kerr, from a screenplay by John Mortimer, was one of those movies that I knew I probably shouldn't have been watching when I was a kid, but I did so anyway. (Kind of like with The Birds, but The Innocents certainly hasn't scarred/scared me like The Birds has. Because birds ARE coming to peck my eyes out, but that is a story for another day.) The film was on one of those channels that ran old movies on Saturday afternoons (either channel 38 or 20), and, quite shortly after it started, I was completely hooked by this spooky black and white film set in Victorian England.

If you haven't seen the film or know the plot of the James' novella, I will give you the briefest of summations, as I am infamous for being a plot spoiler. It is the story of a governess of a young girl and boy in a secluded country home, who begins to suspect that something is "wrong" with the house and, quite possibly, her charges. Whether it is the children, the imagination of the governess, or something more sinister, this psychological thriller will keep you guessing up until the last frame. And, even then, not every viewer agrees on what they've seen.

If you feel like you have seen this film before, perhaps as The Others, I would tell you that, while the two films are similar in a number of ways, The Innocents is very much its own film , and I feel in a number of ways superior to The Others. (Although both are really good, and I feel I should disclose that I do own both films on dvd. And that I think that Christopher Eccelston should be in more movies.) A number of adaptations have been made of The Turn of the Screw for both film and television, including a new version for the BBC this past Christmas. The Innocents is the best of the bunch.

So if you are looking for a suspenseful, spine tingler for a Saturday afternoon (or a dark and stormy night MWAHAHAHAHA), I would highly recommend bumping up The Innocents to the top of your Netflix queue. It really is quite fun to watch! (Just be sure you have locked your front door and closed the door to your closet first! You also might want to have your candle at the ready.)


  1. can we watch this for spooky movie night in the fall?

  2. Sure. Although can I remind you about the time I had to walk to my car by myself from your house after watching the "Hush" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? RAN THE WHOLE WAY. We are going to have to follow this one up with another round of Shaun of the Dead.

  3. Should I add this to my queue or wait for movie night??



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