Ghostly Difference

         The difference between the novella, The Turn of The Screw, written in 1898 by Henry James, and the 1950 play, The Innocents, by William Archibald, is remarkable. It seemed that the novella made the ghosts out to be more of a manifestation of paranoia by the Governess. The play, however, makes the ghosts appear to be more realistic. The 1969 film, The Innocents, directed by Jack Clayton, pushes the concept of the ghosts even further. After reading the novella and the play, I was still not fully convinced that the ghosts were actually real until I saw the film. The actual, visual sight of the ghosts made them more believable to the audience. The actors/actresses also helped to make the ghosts (Peter Quint and Miss Jessel, as portrayed by Peter Wyngarde and Clytie Jessop), seem more like actual ghosts and less like a figment of Miss Giddens' (Deborah Kerr) crazy imagination.

         The children, Flora and Miles, played by Pamela Franklin and Martin Stephens, helped to make the ghosts appear more believable in the film. The children had a more evil and conniving attitude in the film. They seemed to be more mischievous and antagonistic to Miss Giddens. They were always doing something that was unusual, for instance, petting a dead pigeon, or acting as if they knew that someone else was watching them. Miles was also much more aggressive in the film he was portrayed in the novella and play. He actually made me nervous and scared for Miss Giddens at some points in the film. The aggression, no doubt encouraged by Quint's ghost, made him seem like the insane person, and not Miss Giddens.

         Even Mrs. Grose, as depicted by Megs Jenkins, was more suspicious in the film. She believed, by simply ignoring the odd situations, that everything would be fine. She did not want to help Miss Giddens learn about the ghosts, but she also did not want to disobey her, since Miss. Giddens was technically in charge of the house, under the uncle, (Michael Redgrave), of course.

         In the novella, I truly believed that the Governess was completely imagining the ghosts. Every time that she saw a ghost, there would be no one else around to witness it; but, in the film, the children seemed a bit more involved in the ghost scenes, even if they claimed that they did not see anything. However, in the film, it was quite obvious that the ghosts were real and interacting with everyone in one way or another.

Adrienne Dumke

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