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The Nightcomers [DVD]

3.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: German, English
  • Subtitles: German, Dutch
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000069Z1R
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,413 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The famous prequel to "The Innocents" is finally available on DVD, but sadly it could never come close to the subtle perfection of that classic. Starring Marlon Brando and Stephanie Beacham, it imagines a possible scenario that may have been played out between Quint and Miss Jessell (who are already dead at the start of the action in the original novel, "The Turn Of The Screw"), and the two children who interact with them. A new governess is hired to clear up the psychological mess they left behind in the minds of these children, and that is the role played by Deborah Kerr in the 1960 classic, but it forms just the tail end of the film we have here.
First of all, Marlon Brando does an excellent job as the gardener/handyman. He portrays just the right amount of latent brutality and sex appeal that seduces the newly appointed governess. I'm no Brando expert, and it may be that he is just playing himself, but it works! Stephanie Beacham also fares well as the uptight governess, although her character is sketched in far less detail. The main problem with the movie is that it is... well, just a bit low on events - and very dated. Obviously filmed on location in Britain in the early 1970's (I know it's a period setting, but that golden age of British horror movies - the time of the famous Hammer Horror style - is unmistakeable!), the film is certainly beautiful to look at. The action is of course based around much corset ripping and a certain amount of sado-masochistic goings on between the two adults, all of which is spied upon by the two charges, ultimately corrupting them. Interestingly, the two children seem an awful lot older in this film than they actually turned out to be in "The Innocents", but I suppose having them as pre-teens would have made too much of the material un-filmable.
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Format: DVD
Conceived as a prequel to The Turn Of The Screw, Winner's film is a curious vehicle for Marlon Brando, as well as a example of a failed attempt to film gothic, period drama satisfactorily. Brando plays Peter Quint, the sexually aggressive former valet, now locum gardener at Bly House, an English county estate. Bly is run jointly by housekeeper, Mrs Grose (Thora Hird), and a governess, the repressed Miss Jessell (Stephanie Beacham). The only other inhabitants of this curious domicile are two children, Miles (Christopher Ellis) and Flora (Verna Harvey), nominally the wards of the absent Master of the House (a splendid Harry Andrews), obliged with their care after the death of their parents in an overseas automobile accident. The children regard Quint as something of a surrogate father, and feel that they can ingratiate themselves by manipulating his private life, notably his intense relationship with Miss Jessell.

Jack Claytons The Innocents (1962) is the closest point of reference for Winner's effort, as the earlier film is the definitive telling of the Henry James tale, the events of which spring from this. Presumably the appointment, and despatch to Bly of the (unnamed) new governess at the film's end is that of Miss Giddings, the character played by Deborah Kerr. But where Clayton's film was completely successful in transmitting a feeling of supernatural unease and psychological dread, Winner's ham-fisted approach to his material comes across as almost entirely without atmosphere or charm.
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By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 25 Jun. 2015
Format: Blu-ray
Before E.L. James put sadomasochism on the popular bestseller list and at the top of the box-office charts there was Fifty Shades of Brando. The Nightcomers might begin with Marlon Brando playing hide and seek with two children, but it’s not long before he’s playing very different games, and not just blowing up frogs to show what a callously earthy type he is. Michael Winner’s prequel to The Turn of the Screw (or more specifically its big screen adaptation as The Innocents) may initially aspire to a level of elegance with its period country house location and Jerry Fielding’s classically inspired score but it’s clear the never-knowingly-understated director saw it as more of an opportunity to offer prurient censor-baiting S&M involving ropes, Stephanie Beacham’s undeniably spectacularly impressive breasts and Brando’s less impressive Oirish accent while showing how their doomed and perverted relationship corrupted the orphaned children in their charge. Brando, his career still in the doldrums before The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris would turn it around the following year, is Quint, the valet-turned-gardener, and Beacham the children’s governess, the latter prim and formal in the daylight until she gets literally tied up with and by the former once the lights are out, both attracted to his baseness and equally enraptured and disgusted by her increasing dependency and submission as he treats her mean to keep her keen.Read more ›
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