Find That Film: The Innocents

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Ready for a movie that will leave you gasping, “What!” Please enjoy some extra chills with season four episode twelve’s The Innocents.

Deborah Kerr star as Miss Giddens, the governess, in this Jack Clayton horror classic. Growing up in the parsonage, she longed to care for children so she accepts a rather unusual first assignment at a country estate to care for two orphans. The children seem lovely and friendly but she begins to doubt their decency as they tend to act more mature than they should. One year earlier, their valet and previous governess passed away and the sadness lingers around the children. Miss Giddens comes to believe that sadness is manifest in spirit, perhaps even in possession.

This is an excellent ghost story without confirming or denying the ghosts. The true horror in the story is the doubt. Is the governess correct in her beliefs or is she mad? Every viewer will form their own opinion. Truly, Kerr’s performance borders are raw and nuanced at once. Young Martin Stephens nearly runs away with film.

The art direction and cinematography shine in The Innocents. Cinematographer Freddie Francis worked magic in the black and white widescreen format. It was unusual and haunting in practice. Clayton and his team employed harsh lighting techniques and slow scares sorely lacking in modern horror which tends to be dark and jumpy.

If you’re feeling trapped and uneasy with your own children this winter cycle, experience Deborah Kerr’s isolation with impish kids. Maybe you’ll find some sanity when you find that film The Innocents.

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