The Innocents
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In this lugubrious but brilliantly realized adaptation of Henry James' classic novella The Turn of the Screw, 19th century British governess Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) arrives at a bleak mansion to take care of Flora (Pamela Franklin) and Miles (Martin Stephens), the wealthy household's two children. Outwardly the children are little darlings, but the governess begins to feel that there's something unwholesome behind those beatific smiles. After several disturbing examples of the children's evil impulses, Miss Giddens gets information from the housekeeper (Megs Jenkins) that… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"If the picture is journeyman James, it is also pitapatational entertainment, the most sophisticated scare show since Diabolique."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Is it the finest, smartest, most visually savvy horror film ever made by a big studio?"
‑ Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
"Oozing ambiguity, Jack Clayton's shimmering gem is a masterclass in suggestion, a flawless evocation of the uncanny which pits the subconscious against the supernatural to genuinely hair-raising effect."
‑ Mark Kermode, Observer [UK]
"An elegant, sinister and scalp-prickling ghost story - as scary in its way as Rosemary's Baby or The Exorcist."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"So much is suggested, and so little shown."
‑ Virginie Sélavy, Electric Sheep
"Based on Henry James' story Turn of the Screw this catches an eerie, spine-chilling mood right at the start and never lets up on its grim, evil theme."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Jack Clayton's 1961 chiller lives up to the story's title, incrementally tightening the nerves through suggestive technical artistry in a way that few contemporary ghost stories manage."
‑ Ben Walters, Time Out
"A crackling, eerie, coldly beautiful account of the novel, which reveals new subtleties and meanings every time you go back."
‑ Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
"The ambiguity of Henry James's story is all here, along with a horrible seam of rottenness ..."
‑ Antonia Quirke, Financial Times
"The film bristles with menace as it draws you inexorably towards its chilling conclusion."
‑ David Parkinson, Radio Times
"Too much Freud and too little thought."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Sends some formidable chills down the spine."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"If you've never seen Jack Clayton's 1961 adaptation of Henry James's Turn of the Screw, hurl yourself into a cinema ASAP."
‑ Charlotte O'Sullivan, This is London
"One of cinema's great ghost stories is also an essay on the psychological realities of film acting."
‑ David Jenkins, Little White Lies
"One of the creepiest films ever made."
‑ Jim Schembri, The Age (Australia)
More reviews for The Innocents on Rotten Tomatoes

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