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INNOCENTS, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
In 19th century England, repressed spinster-governess, Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) is put in charge of Miles (Martin Stephens) and Flora (Pamela Franklin) two small children by their uncle (Michael Redgrave) in a lonely country mansion haunted by tragedy. Miss Giddens begins to suspect that the perfectly-mannered children are harboring a dark secret. Attempting to solve the mystery, the alarmed governess becomes convinced that the children are helpless pawns in a horrifying plot from beyond the grave!

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This classy English mystery is adorned by a wonderful Deborah Kerr as the governess driven to extremes by a strange, haunted mansion and strange, haunted children. Positively oozing decency as she usually does, Kerr carries the film but gets plenty of solid support from the two youngsters Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin and the reliably terrific character actress, Megs Jenkins as the housekeeper.

Two great British actors have tiny roles: Michael Redgrave has a single scene at the beginning, and Peter Wyngard plays an occasionally seen ghost.

The screenplay is beautifully structured, building the tension gradually with subtle touches until the third act when it escalates the mystery and the suggestions that make it creepy.

The film has inspired many later supernatural thrillers, including Alejandro Amenábar's The Others (2001) with Nicole Kidman. But this essentially simple story and excellent direction by Jack Clayton stand out; the 19th century settings, where horse drawn carriages, old family mansions with terrible secrets and only candles for light, build a wonderful atmosphere and a mood of ever growing dread that serves the film well.

Published April 30, 2009

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

INNOCENTS, THE: DVD (PG)
( 1961)

CAST: Deborah Kerr, Megs Jenkins, Martin Stephens, Pamela Franklin, Peter Wyngarde, Michael Redgrave, Clytie Jessop, Isla Cameron

PRODUCER: Jack Clayton

DIRECTOR: Jack Clayton

SCRIPT: William Archibald, Truman Capote, John Mortimer (novella by Henry James)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Freddie Francis

EDITOR: James Clark

MUSIC: Georges Auric

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Wilfrid Shingleton

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

PRESENTATION: B&W; 16:9; DD 2.0

SPECIAL FEATURES: The Bespoke Overcoat (36 mins); still; [English subtitles]

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella

DVD RELEASE: December 12, 2008







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