The Innocents (1961)
Film: The Innocents
Director: Jack Clayton
Writer: William Archibald and Truman Capote
Starring: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde and Megs Jenkins
In this film we begin with a rich man who is looking for a governess to take care of a little girl that he is the guardian of, but he doesn’t have time to take care of. He interviews a woman, played by Deborah Kerr, and gives her the position. From what we see of her, we know that she seems somewhat sheltered and seems nervous as well. What we learn of him, is that he is somewhat heartless and doesn’t care much for the children that he is guardian over.
She goes to the large estate that is out in the country to live and to watch after the little girl, played by Pamela Franklin. She stops her carriage and decides to walk up to the manor, but as she does, she hears someone calling for Franklin. She comes upon her and asks why she didn’t come when she was called, saying she didn’t hear anyone. This puzzles Kerr.
Kerr asks Franklin about her brother, played by Martin Stephens, and she tells her that he will be coming home soon. This again puzzles Kerr, but they receive word that he was expelled from school.
The three do get along very well at first, but Kerr begins to see things. She sees a man on top of the tower, then outside the window. She also begins to see a woman across the lake, both of them just staring. She pries for the story of what has happened at the manor and then begins to think that the children may somehow be involved. Can Kerr solve the mystery of the ghosts she sees and keep the children safe?
This film is scary with nothing really ever happening. Seeing the two specters is creepy because they don’t do much but stare straight ahead. What makes it even worse though, you don’t know what they’re going to do and then again you don’t know if they are even real or not.
Kerr comes off as crazy, but there is a hint that the children, as well as the head maid might believe as well as see what she does. They seem like they’re afraid to believe what they see, so they deny that they have. This drives Kerr’s performance and it does every well as a governess who is trying to not only teach, but save the children from the spirits that are at work.
If you want to see a horror movie that does well with little and gets its scares from psychological as well as from the atmosphere, I’d recommend this one. The acting in this film is very good, Kerr did a fantastic job. I would even say the children did as well. Keep in mind that this film is from the 1960s and is in black and white, so if that is an issue, there are remakes of this film that might interest you. I would highly recommend giving this film a viewing though.
My Rating: 7 out of 10