Re-Turn of the Screw

†††††††† Henry Jamesís 1898 The Turn of the Screw would be the ideal book for me to use to make a new movie with. Like the 1961 movie The Innocents, directed by Jack Clayton, I would not include the opening gathering that the book has. However, to help keep the mystery it should be made clear that it is the governessís diary that tells the story.

†††††††† The narrator, played by Jim Carrey, would find the diary in a Victorian writing desk he has inherited from his aunt in an asylum. As he reads the manuscript weird coincidences, such as lights blowing out and glimpses of people through his window being seen, could occur. Most of the movie should not include him though; any of his scenes should be short and quickly fade back to the voice of Gillian Anderson. Anderson will be dressed as she was in the Bleak House mini-series by Masterpiece Theatre.

†††††††† As did Deborah Kerr in the The Innocents, Anderson, of course, will be made to look younger as she arrives at the country mansion. Her meeting with the childrenís uncle (Michal Redgrave in the Innocents), will be narrated on the carriage ride.

†††††††† Mrs. Grose, played by Judi Dench, who depicted M in many James Bond movies, and the children Miles, and Flora, portrayed by those creepy actors from Signs (instead of Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin), will be dressed in nicer Victorian clothing as well. While the clothing of The Innocents did not quite fit, the mansion was perfect and something similar would do quite well.

†††††††† The mansion did what The Innocents movie should have done, leave a feeling of mystery. While the scene of Quint (Peter Wyngarde) appearing in the window and the scene with Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) seeing him on the rooftop were brilliant, most the other ghost scenes did not follow suit. Henry Jamesís 1898 novella is great because of how it does not leave one clear way to interpret it. A movie of it must keep this in order to hit the nail on the head, keeping the essence of the book. Unlike The Innocents, my version would leave the children more innocent in order to make the answer unclear.

†††††††† Just as she never could turn up proof in an X-Files episode, Gillian Andersonís governess would fail to prove to Mrs. Grose that the ghosts were around. In the end when Miles dies, she will be hugging him tight. He will point off the screen; and Quintís ghost will not be shown like in the movie, just the direction looked at by the governess and Miles. The movie will end with Jim Carrey at the mansion digging up Milesí body in the same place he had died and a coroner giving an inconclusive cause of death.

Andrew Hildenbrand

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