100 minutes, U.K., 1961, Black and White, D-Cinema

Miss Giddens is appointed to watch over two orphans, Miles and Flora, living in the grand and stately home, Bly House. The governess starts the job with enthusiasm and good intentions, but, after witnessing some unsettling events and hearing about the fate of her predecessor, Miss Giddens begins to have suspicions about the children, fearing they may be possessed.

Jack Clayton’s adaptation of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw was recently cited by Martin Scorsese as one of the scariest films ever made and could well be cinema’s greatest ghost story. Freddie Francis’ gleaming black and white cinematography, the nuanced script, mostly written by Truman Capote, and what is possibly the finest performance of Deborah Kerr’s stellar career, are some of the elements that combine to ensure that The Innocents endures as a potent and unsettling proposition. (Notes By Michael Hayden.)

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