Sunday, November 16, 2014


THE INNOCENTS may seem a bit old-fashioned by current standards of film horror (PARANORMAL ACTIVITY... yawn),  but viewed by anyone with even scant sensitivity to light and dark,  troubled sounds,  and thoroughly believable performances by all involved will be deeply moved,  intrigued,  and perhaps even frightened. Based on Henry James' novella THE TURN OF THE SCREW,  and directed by Jack Clayton,  THE INNOCENTS thrives on ambiguity and the shrouding of evil in its near depiction of the ephemeral. Cinematographer Freddie Francis' black and white photography (you should remember his marvelous work in David Lynch's THE ELEPHANT MAN) is one of the many attractions here,  bringing a deep sense of claustrophobic dread to the proceedings. Also notice that Francis' use of superimposition of multiple images and dissolves shows up in Lynch's first film ERASERHEAD to great effect. And without giving anything away one should be prepared for one of film's creepiest kisses,  that between governess Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) and her young  male charge Miles (Martin Stephens). Truman Capote's script is filled with suggestions of neurosis,  repressed sexuality, violence, and yes,  perversion. This tale of possession by the deceased should be required viewing for both its restraint and beauty,  qualities not regularly seen in current movies of any kind.

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