And the Winner Is . . . The Innocents

         Jack Clayton's 1961 film The Innocents, based on Henry James's 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw, is the best adaptation of the semester. This film does an excellent job of turning a scary book into a scary movie.

         Freddie Francis' great camera work is an excellent component in providing a scary atmosphere. Camera angles, as well as lighting, provide a gloomy feel, which makes the house seem scary to the viewer, even one who is unfamiliar with the story.

         Another component of a good adaptation is good writing. This film does a great job of staying true to the original work. There are a few minor differences, such as who is walking with whom to church; but as a whole, it is accurate.

         Great acting is also very important in a good adaptation. The governess, Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), convinces the audience that she is truly scared for herself and the children. The children, Miles and Flora (Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin), do an excellent job of acting creepy. They seem a little weird and out of place, allowing the audience to believe they may be possessed by ghosts. Peter Quint (Peter Wyngarde) and Miss Jessel (Clytie Jessop) also are good at acting creepy. Although they speak little, their body language and facial expressions are excellent.

Brandon Anderson

Table of Contents