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The Innocents (1961)

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dfordoom
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The Innocents (1961)

Postby dfordoom » May 15th, 2007, 7:52 am

The Innocents, released in 1961, is based on the classic Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw. Conveying the uncertainties and ambiguities of the story on film would seem to be a daunting task but director Jack Clayton has done a superb job. If anything the movie is perhaps even better than the book. I realise that that is a very ambitious claim, but this is a very fine movie indeed. Much of the credit for the film’s success goes to Deborah Kerr in what is possibly the greatest performance of a long and distinguished career.

The story involves a governess (Kerr) who believes the children in her charge to be menaced by ghosts. But what is really going on? Kerr is always finely balanced on the edge of hysteria, but without ever becoming annoying and without ever losing the viewer’s sympathies. This film also looks superb. I can’t recommend this movie highly enough. A great movie for those who (like me) believe that horror doesn’t require violence or gore.

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Mr. Arkadin
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Postby Mr. Arkadin » May 15th, 2007, 5:51 pm

Great intelligent film with a beautiful glossy look to it. Kerr makes anything she is in better.

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Mr. Arkadin
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Re: The Innocents (1961)

Postby Mr. Arkadin » September 10th, 2011, 7:09 am

A bump for this amazing film showing tonight! If you can't wait that long (or need a bit of incentive), here's Kate Bush's The Infant Kiss, which was inspired by the movie:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUTkdw4C0XA[/youtube]

Hopefully, we might discuss this one.

RedRiver
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Re: The Innocents (1961)

Postby RedRiver » September 12th, 2011, 2:31 pm

This is a sophisticated, effective ghost story. Especially due to the formidable talents of Ms. Kerr. As fine a film actress as I've ever seen.

kingrat
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Re: The Innocents (1961)

Postby kingrat » September 12th, 2011, 4:30 pm

The Innocents will be repeated a couple of times in the near future, including Halloween night. The print TCM showed is sensational. In her opening remarks, Illeana Douglas mentioned that cinematographer Freddie Francis had told her that The Innocents was his favorite among the films he shot. I believe Deborah Kerr considered this her best performance. If you're interested in this film, you'll love the way it looks.

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mrsl
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Re: The Innocents (1961)

Postby mrsl » September 12th, 2011, 5:26 pm

,
Being a huge fan of Ms. Kerr and ghost stories in general, this is one of my favorites. However, rather than the children being menaced by ghosts as someone suggested, I don't think the little girl is involved in the control, but also a victim of her brother who, I feel is the menace here. Although we see the ghosts at two instances, her at the lake side and him in the window, I don't consider this a ghost story as much as a mind control film. From his first appearance, the boy brings a 'darkness' with him. His sister seems as frightened as the governess. (BTW, when did she perform governess duties? . . . the house keeper is the one who governs their meals, bedtime, naptime, playtime, etc. We rarely see them in the classroom either, very strange). There is no doubt that Ms. Kerr gives a fine performance, but the end shows that with all the threats and warnings given, it is all for naught.
Anne


***********************************************************************
* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *

]***********************************************************************

RedRiver
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Re: The Innocents (1961)

Postby RedRiver » September 13th, 2011, 3:22 pm

Deborah Kerr considered this her best performance

Really? She's wonderful in it. But she shines just as bright in TEA AND SYMPATHY. My favorite is SEPARATE TABLES. Such a timid little mouse, I hardly recognized her.

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Mr. Arkadin
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Re: The Innocents (1961)

Postby Mr. Arkadin » September 13th, 2011, 8:50 pm

Many critics have noted Giddens repressed sexuality and neurosis, speculating that we are seeing her unhinged mind slowly eroding. While this is an interesting theory, it does not explain how Flora knows Miles is coming home, her questioning of whether her soul might roam the earth, the tear on the desk, or Miles death. The film's ambiguity is perhaps its greatest power and one of the reasons I find myself compelled to revisit it often.

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CineMaven
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Re: The Innocents (1961)

Postby CineMaven » September 14th, 2011, 12:03 am

Mr. Arkadin, thanxxx for posting that YouTube video. It's been a good long time since I've seen this movie...and I gather it was on the other night? (I missed it, not having cable hooked up to my tv in my new apartment). Everyone's responses in this thread are an interesting reminder for me to check out the movie again. DEBORAH KERR is one of my favorites. She gives such a nuanced performance in what I liken to Walking A Tightrope's Razor's Edge. I'm mixing my movie history trivia, so please somebody straighten out the ol' raven Maven with what I'm trying to remember here: Was it Eisenstein who did an experiment of putting different pictures or images in front of the same unchanging footage of a person...and that's person's emotions seem to change depending on the picture...though his visage doesn't change? (Whew, long-winded, run-on, unwieldly...but I had to get it out!)

I bring that up b'cuz the movie seems to have to be played in two notes. How the director directs the little boy...and how it is Kerr's REACTION to her young charge that makes him look sinister. How does she express her desire for the man within the little boy, without looking like she desires the little boy. That could be a sticky wicket. What a rotten trick to play on a spinster. Tsk! Tsk!

You know, I kind of forgot about Deborah Kerr until reading all the comments on this thread. It hurt to think of her b'cuz her passing had really saddened me years ago. I remember bursting with happiness when the Academy gave her a lifetime achievement award a few years before that. Out she came, strawberry-haired, looking regal and so deserving of this Award. She so delicately shaded her performances from film to film. Wild and crazy in "CASINO ROYALE" timid as Red River says in "SEPARATE TABLES" and different again with "...Tables" co-star, Burt Lancaster in "FROM HERE TO ETERNITY" as she was different with Cary Grant in their pairings or in "NIGHT OF THE IGUANA." I always believe her.

I must mark my calendar when "THE INNOCENTS" (nice homonym) airs again so I won't err again. I'm a big Deborah Kerr fan. She was lovely and delicate. Thank you guys for reminding me.
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com

RedRiver
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Re: The Innocents (1961)

Postby RedRiver » September 14th, 2011, 3:10 pm

After all this, I'm compelled to confess I simply couldn't finish the book. Good God! I read Ross Macdonald. Not Henry James.

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Mr. Arkadin
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Re: The Innocents (1961)

Postby Mr. Arkadin » September 30th, 2011, 11:46 am

Another bump for this afternoon's showing. It will also air on Halloween.


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