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The Innocents [1961] [DVD]

Deborah Kerr , Peter Wyngarde , Jack Clayton    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
Price: £9.14 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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The Innocents [1961] [DVD] + The Haunting [DVD] [1963]
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Product details

  • Actors: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave, Pamela Franklin
  • Directors: Jack Clayton
  • Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen, Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Dec 2006
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000IMVMH0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,129 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

A Film by Jack Clayton

Described by critic Pauline Keal as 'the best ghost movie I've ever seen', Jack Clayton's adaptation of Henrys James's The Turn of the Screw is a virtuoso piece of storytelling

Deborah Kerr (in the performance of her career) plays the emotionally repressed vicar's daughter who takes up a job as governess to two seemingly angelic orphans. Gradually coming to believe that the children are possessed by the perverse spirits of their former governess and her sadistic lover, she begins to see manifestations of the ghosts prowling the huge gothic mansion of Bly House.

Director Jack Clayton sustains a superbly haunting atmosphere throughout the film, and like James's original work, cleverly retains the ambiguity of whether the ghosts are real or the products of the governess's fevered imagination. Aided by Freddie Francis's exquisitely inventive and atmospheric Cinemascope photography, we, like the governess, are never quite sure what unspoken horrors might be lurking beyond the edge of the frame and are kept guessing until the film's tragic conclusion.

Special features

  • Feature commentary by professor Christopher Frayling
  • Filmed introduction with Professor Christopher Frayling
  • The Bespoke Overcoat (Jack Clayton, 1955, 37 mins)
  • Gallery of production stills including an essay by The league of Gentleman s Jeremy Dyson

UK | 1961 | black and white | English language, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 96 minutes | DVD9 | Original aspect Ratio 2.35:1 (Cinemascope) | Region 0 DVD


'The best ghost movie I've ever seen' --Pauline Kael

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Chilling After All These Years 24 Nov 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
In my youth the BBC ran a strand of films on Saturday evening entitled The Saturday Thriller. First off was Psycho, which was the first time I'd seen that movie, then came The Innocents which had a much greater effect on me. I have seen the former many times since and it is obviously a classic but I have only just seen The Innocents again and I was stunned at how creepy it really is, especially as I see more in it now than I did as a child.

At the time I first saw this movie my grandmother was living in a lodge house next to a rather neglected large country house, in front of the house was an area of long grass that was reminiscent of the scene where the figure of the previous, dead, nanny had appeared in the reed bed next to the lake in the film. I still get goose pimples thinking about the first time I stood there and remembered a scene from the film and ran back to my gran's house in terror. I never talked to anyone about it at the time but just recently found that my sister had had the same experience, scary indeed.

When I watched it again recently I was amazed at how powerful it is and only in a couple of places did the dramatic music and the histrionics snap me out of my suspended disbelief, this is a true classic of the genre but it is not comfortable viewing, leaving the audience unnerved for some time afterwards. I had over 40 years between viewings and I still remembered how creepy it was first time round.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 16 Sep 2010
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Once upon a time before special effects there was a fine art in cinema which used the viewer's mind to create effects which have not since been improved upon. Film makers during this period strived to maximise this through shot composition, art direction, light and shade, music score, simple editing, evocative cinematography and a style of acting to further enhance the desired effect in close relation to all of these disciplines and skills. 'The Innocents' is one the finest examples in this category. Engrossing and disturbing, always compelling. Lower the lights, open your mind and dare to let this black and white masterpiece contaminate you with endless psychological colour. You cannot fail to find yourself reflecting on its effect and feel the energy of its masterful delivery. Enhanced clarity in sound and vision via blu-ray.(I hope readers are not deterred from purchasing this disc due to some people receiving faulty discs, it is important to remember they are reviewing their experience and not the film. I suggest returning and requesting another if this happens, Amazon will accommodate I'm sure)
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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Turn of the Screw... 16 Dec 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"The Innocents" is director Jack Clayton's screen adaptation of Henry James's story "The Turn of the Screw" (1898). A brilliant and fascinating exercise in psychological horror. Impressionable and repressed governess Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) agrees to tutor two orphaned children, Miles and Flora. On arrival at Bly House, she becomes convinced that the children are possessed by the perverse spirits of former governess Miss Jessel and her lover Quint (Peter Wyngarde) who both met with mysterious deaths.

The film's sinister atmosphere is carefully created through its cinematography, soundtrack, and design: Freddie Francis' beautiful photography, with its eerily indistinct long shots and mysterious manifestations at the edges of the frame; an evocative and spooky soundtrack; and the grand yet decaying Bly House.

Deborah Kerr gives the performance of her career and makes "The Innocents" an intensely unsettling experience. Are the ghosts the products of Miss Giddens' fevered imagination and emotional immaturity, or a displacement of her shock at the sexually precocious behaviour of ten-year-old Miles? Is she the protector or the corrupter?

Now widely considered to be one of the greatest of all ghost stories on film, "The Innocents" continues to inspire today's 'haunted house' movies, most notably "The Others" starring Nicole Kidman and directed by Alejandro Amenábar in 2001.

DVD Extras include a commentary with Professor Christopher Frayling, the original trailer for "The Innocents", the Oscar and BAFTA award-winning short film "The Bespoke Overcoat" directed by Jack Clayton, 1955, 33 mins (Clayton's first film as director) starring Alfie Bass and David Kossoff,

a stills gallery including original costume designs, publicity posters, press books and production pictures and a booklet including film notes by Jeremy Dyson (BBC's "The League of Gentlemen").
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76 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece 17 Dec 2006
A masterpiece of ghost-story cinema and haunting Victoriana. Wonderful adaptation of 'The Turn of ths Screw'. Takes the stage play 'The Innocents' and transforms it into a cinematic tour-de-force of innocence, corruption, dark secrets and above all ambiguity. The great thing is the ambiguity - the viewer is left to make up their own mind. Are the children being used by the ghosts of the dead servants (as it seems they were used by the servants when alive), are the apparitions real, is it all in the imagination of the repressed and hysterical governess, have the children been abused and corrupted, is it all a work of psychological symbolism (with the old mansion and the ghosts being used as symbols of the abuse of the children's innocence)? There is evidence to support all theories, which is exactly what Henry James intended with his story. Unlike the modern horror films which throw everything at you and don't allow your imagination to work, this film uses suggestion and ambiguity and stimulates your imagination.

The screenplay ('90% by Truman Capote') and script make great use of the old house and the images of decay and corruption amid its beauty and ornate Victoriana to show the dark heart of the tale. The cinematography in black and white cinemascope is used to perfection. The direction and the acting are all perfectly fitted to the story. In all, this creates a wonderful, claustrophobic and chilling world.

The BFI release DVD package is a thing to treasure. Apart from the movie itself there is a filmed intro and a commentary by Christopher Frayling, both of which give loads of fascinating backgound info and interpretation, a copy of Jack Clayton's 1st ever movie, and a lovely booklet.

A real work of art.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Better version available
There is now a better version available on Blu Ray from Criterion in USA. A new transfer in 4K from the original negative with superb image quality all around.
Published 10 hours ago by M. Hafner
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I have searched for years for this so I very pleased
Published 15 days ago by Brian
5.0 out of 5 stars It's still thrilling.
This is a thrilling film, and it still has the same impact on me now, as it did when I first saw it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by addison de witt
5.0 out of 5 stars The Innocents
So far ahead of its time, this relatively faithful adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw still has the power to chill the blood even today. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joanne Sheppard
5.0 out of 5 stars Innocent Overcoat
The Innocents is very watchable, creepy and often on tv. I would like to praise The Bespoke Overcoat, the 37 minute short which has truly great performances from Alfie Bass and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mario
5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky enjoyment
I love this film. I have read the book and seen several versions of the film, this is my favourite I think and I have seen it many times Fans of Henry James will be divided in... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Macbeth
5.0 out of 5 stars classic atmospheric chiller
Even after all these years, this film still retains the capacity to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
Published 3 months ago by Mr. J. Fitzpatrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic movie
I have always loved this film and I had it on video for ages and then lost it. This DVD is superb in widescreen, felt like I was in the cinema watching it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Merrill George
5.0 out of 5 stars Film Noir at it's best
This i an expertly shot chilling and scary film that I can't recommend enough to anyone...

I couldn't believe I had never been told about it whilst at college or uni... Read more
Published 5 months ago by joe
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the tops
This film still "cuts the mustard" after 53 years!, it is such a pity that we don't get to see these old films on the big screen, because so much atmosphere is lost on TV... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lenadjutor
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