Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Innocents (1961)

Exquisitely creepy ghost story adapted from Henry James's novella The Turn of the Screw, which these days is probably most notable for inspiring several works of art more impressive than itself. There's several ways to appreciate this intelligent work. You can immerse yourself in the thematics of it (do the "ghosts" represent the allure of the sinful returning from places unknown to overpower the innocent, i.e. the repressed? and is the title then meant in part as an irony?) You can groove on the glorious aesthetics of it, as it is an extremely well-directed film. The photography in particular is richly effective, with some striking usage of deep focus. You can study the acting in detail, as the film does among other things seem to be a seminar on excellent acting -- Deborah Kerr, between this and Black Narcissus, seems to have a lock on navigating the details of repressed women, and the child actors are uncannily talented as well. Or you can just sit back and let the film creep you the fuck out. It's your call, after all. Whichever way you go, you're bound to have a good time.

Grade: A-


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