A film such as Jack Clayton's 1961 film, The Innocents, based on Henry James's 1898 book, The Turn of the Screw, achieves a lasting quality when it has excellent effects, including setting and music. A great setting is required to set the right scene for a movie.
In The Innocents, the house in the middle of nowhere, with the gothic style tower and secluded pond, creates the aura of solitude needed for a ghost movie. There is a gazebo looking out over the pond, which creates a place for the characters to look out at the ghost of Miss Jessie (Clytie Jessop) when she appears there. Also, there is a cemetery between the house and the church that they must pass through on Sundays. Cemeteries always add an aura of dread and doom.
Once a good setting is chosen, The Innocents displays the perfect lighting. When a scene with a ghost is featured, it is dark with an eerie glow off to one side or in a certain area. Also, the ghosts always have a certain glow to them that creates that creepy quality essential to the movie. When the governess. Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), starts seeing the ghosts and becomes frightened to the point that she is almost hallucinating, there is a light right under her face that makes it glow and look peaked. Along those same lines are the dreams she has. Everything in her dream is all jumbled about, and the voices echo back and forth.
Another important element is the music. The Innocents does a superb job of creating an eerie effect with the music. The main element used is the constant repetition of the song played by Miss Jewel's jewelry box. Flora sings this song in the beginning and continues throughout the film. Not only that, it is played in the background often; and, after the jewelry box is discovered, the box plays it frequently. This song is a creepy sounding song to begin with; but the way it is played and sung, as well as the repetition, creates the disturbing effect it has. There is other music as well that keeps the effect going. It is more of a building orchestra style that accentuates scenes of importance and fear.
The Innocents manages to capture all the elements, setting, lighting, and music, needed to set the scene for a great scary movie. This film deserves an Oscar for that alone.