Film Review: ‘The Innocents’ (1961)
(Fig1- Film Poster)
Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) agrees to take a role of a mistress and take care of a couple of orphans, who after the death of their parents found themselves in the care of their uncle who isn’t particularly happy about that fact. Gentleman doesn’t see a reason for which he should bring the children to London, where anyway they wouldn’t be able to accompany him in his favourite entertainments, and would be just a nuisance for him. A house at the cottage is the best place for the kids, so he sends there the mistress, and gives her the authority to be the person in charge of the whole house and the people who live in it. He gives her an order to not interrupt him with any problems, she has to solve them all by herself. Full of anxiety woman goes to the house in Blye, and the beauty of the place charms her. Flora also seems like a charming little girl. Everything is like in a fairy tale until Miles gets expelled from school and needs to get back to the house.
(Fig2. Miles and the ghost of a man)
‘The Innocents’ is one of the best films directed by Henry James, the film is a gothic horror, and not everything in it has a clear meaning. The relation between the kids and the caretaker, question the audience, because it isn’t entirely clear, if she wants to save the kids from the ghosts, or if everything is a figment of a diseased imagination. 'Miss Giddens desperate desire to help while overtly suggesting a note of repressed hysteria, hinting that the ghosts may be externalizations of her own inner demons'. (Biodrowski, 2008)
(Fig3- Ghost of a woman in the lake)
The atmosphere of horror is achieved by the music especially the melody about the willow tree. “The story’s profound, unsettling ambiguity is perfectly served by Georges Auric’s soundtrack of laughs and whispers.” (Walters, 2006) The soundtrack makes the audience wait in the suspense of what is going to happen. And the whispering of people we can’t see on screen makes us feel uncomfortable and gives the horrifying feeling. It’s important to mention the 11 and 13 year old actors who did a great job getting into their characters so perfectly especially Miles who was possessed by a ghost. After the film a lot of scenes stays in the audiences minds especially Miles’s and Miss Giddens’s controversial kiss.
Walters, Ben. (2006). The Innocents- http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/76028/the_innocents.html (Accessed 20/12/ 2011)
Biodrowski, S. (2008) The Innocents (1961)-http://cinefantastiqueonline.com/2008/04/film-dvd-review-the-innocents-1961/ (Accessed20/12/2011)