There is nothing like a great psychological thriller; and, when I heard that The Turn of the Screw was one, I was overjoyed. What exited me even more was when I found out there was a movie version of Henry James's 1898 book entitled The Innocents. To compare the two, I must say I enjoyed the movie, directed by Jack Clayton in 1961, much more than the book. The book was rather confusing and left the reader uncertain on what was and was not true. However, I found the movie to be more entertaining and seeming to give a clearer depiction of what was actually occurring.
For a horror film of 1961 that lacks many of the technological advances of today, I was very surprised that it turned out so well. The Innocents is an excellent piece of work from beginning to finish. Every aspect of the film was superb; Freddie Francis, the cinematographer that shot the frightening scenes of the ghosts; the music scorer, Georges Auric, who played the music piece that recurred at the ever-so appropriate moments of the movie (the opening scene of a black screen and a child humming was especially eerie); and the actors, who played their parts most convincingly--all were amazing in every way.
The acting in this movie absolutely blew me away. I was mainly impressed by the children in the film: Pamela Franklin, who portrayed Flora, and Martin Stephens, who depicted Miles. Stephens, who played the perfect pint-sized gentlemen, seemed to be a thirty-year-old man in the body of a young child. The way he spoke was so mature for a boy of his age; every time he spoke to Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), he sounded almost as if he were trying to court her. I was completely amazed when I found out he was not even a teenager at the time of filming The Innocents. Moreover, Franklin's performance was equally as great. I will never forget those amazing bone-chilling screams that such a little girl could produce. These two children were truly gifted, it was evident they were absorbed by their characters. To simply look in their eyes, one could see turmoil of Miles and Flora.
Everyone should give The Innocents a chance; it may not be a modern-day thriller with amazing special effects and a multi-million dollar budget; but it is a movie that one will be thinking about days after viewing it.