Something to Hide

         Although The Innocents, directed by Jack Clayton in 1961, was not necessarily one of my favorite movies of the semester, I did feel that it depicted the most accurate atmosphere in comparison to the novella. I felt like the setting effectively portrayed the ghost-like mood Henry James created in his 1898 novella, The Turn of the Screw.

         When the film first begins, Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) arrives at Bly to become the caretaker of two children, Miles (Martin Stephens) and Flora (Pamela Franklin). When Miss Giddens first arrives, everything in and around the estate seems perfect. The sun is shining, the wind is slightly blowing, as the blooming flowers and the house are inviting. But then, as time passes, things change. As the direction of the story turns from good to questionably evil, visual effects, as well as sound effects, begin to take on the same haunting aura. The pleasant setting turns into a terrifying home filled with secrets and mysteries Miss Giddens can barely even begin to unravel.

         When the movie first begins, the setting is light and bright, but as the story unwinds the majority of the film’s content is depicted inside the house. The house turns into somewhat of a maze, with seemingly endless hallways and dimly lit rooms. Many of the film’s scenes are also filmed at night when a haunting feeling is almost inevitable. Sound effects are also a huge influence in this film because noise is kept at a minimum until something dramatic occurs. The quiet filming with a big burst of horrifying energy at the end keeps viewers nerves on edge throughout the entire film.

         The director of the film did an excellent job persuading the viewer that the house, as well as the film’s characters, had something to hide simply by using the correct visual and audio effects. The mood of the movie truly made viewers feel that ghosts were going to jump out of the screen at any time.

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Autumn Boaz

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