Transparent Ghost Cause for Transparent Plot

     When I watch a movie, I like to have no distractions. I like to be engrossed into the story that is taking up some of my life. I look for interesting characters, twisted plot surprises, and exceptional acting. After watching director Jack Clayton's 1961 film The Innocents, an adaptation of Henry James's 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw, I felt unsatisfied.

     The reason is that I could not understand what essential ideas were taking place. For a person who had not read the book, he or she might feel the same. From the beginning we were taken into the rich, secluded world of two seemingly normal children. Once the children, Miles (Martin Stephens), Flora (Pamela Franklin), began to act abnormal, the plot untwisted itself to revel the presence of ghosts, leaving me a little bewildered.

     For anyone watching the film for the first time, he or she would be left confused because we really are not supplied all of the solid information that clearly defines the purpose of the troubled ghosts. We are only left thinking that they are two spirits wanting to reunite through the sibling children to enjoy their love for one another. This prompted disturbing questions to me. Why would these spirits choose children that were so closely related? It left me with the disturbing thoughts of the children being loving with each other. I do not mean to sound like a pervert with this idea, but it did stand out in my mind.

     The second misunderstanding that came to me was the relationship between the young boy and the governess, Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr). Though we are under the impression that the boy is now under the control of the man spirit, Peter Quint (Peter Wyngarde), we are still left with the visuals of the interaction between the governess and the boy. This was nothing short of surprising when thinking that it was acceptable for the cinema in those highly censored times. I did not understand the male spirit's disloyalty to his mate. He is taking such great links to be with his lover, but at the same time he fits the status quo of any male. He cheated on her!

     In conclusion, I have to say that The Innocents deserves a remake to clear up mine and other viewers' misconceptions. It truly has the opportunity to be more of a haunting tale of love.

Dale Vanover

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