Do You Believe in the Ghosts?

     It is not really known in the 1898 book The Turn of the Screw as to whether the ghosts seen by the governess are real or not. In The Innocents (the 1961 film, directed by Jack Clayton, and 1950 play version of the book, written by Ruth and Augustus Goetz), it is made rather clearly that the ghost do indeed exist. I have noticed that many movies, when adapted from a book, change some of the details of the story so that it translates well onto film.

     Many movies of today, when taken from a novel, will change a detail, sometimes a large detail and sometimes small, in order to make the story more enjoyable. In The Innocents the changing of the ghosts is a great example of changing details to suit a story. In the novella one is unsure of how believable the ghosts are. I believe Henry James did this in order to keep the suspense of the story. The movie, on the other hand, makes it quite apparent that the ghosts seen by the governess, Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) are real. The suspense of the reader is held through the cinematography and the visual effects.

     When I read the novella, I could actually begin to wonder as to whether the ghosts were real or whether they were a figment of the governess' imagination. I enjoyed the suspense that the novella had, but the movie was rather well done.

     Oddly enough, this is the first film-to-movie adaptation that I did not really care how it played out because both the movie and the book versions were excellently done. My suspense and interest were held throughout both versions of the stories. Each one had its own special twist to the tale.

     All in all, I enjoyed the story of The Turn of the Screw as well as The Innocents. Both were great ways to portray the story. The twists and turns created by both versions helped to add to the suspense of the believability of the ghosts.

Richard Shepherd

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