Crazy with a Twist

         After reading Henry James's 1898 novella, The Turn of the Screw, I was very disappointed with the story. I was expecting a horror story and in turn got a tale about a crazy lady who thought she saw ghosts. But, I see it both ways. In the 1950 play, The Innocents, written by William Archibald, I was not sure what was going on with the ghosts. During the 1961 film, The Innocents, directed by Jack Clayton, I was far more aware of the spirits.

         When the governess first saw the ghost of Peter Quint (played by Peter Wyngarde) and she described his appearance to Mrs. Grose (depicted by Megs Jenkins), it was surprising. The governess had never seen Peter, and she depicted him perfectly. The children, Miles (Martin Stephens) and Flora (Pamela Franklin) also acted funny when the ghosts were around the governess. There were times when I thought they were really there, but the governess, named Miss Giddens in the movie (portrayed by Deborah Kerr) was so stressed out, that I thought she was starting to lose her mind.

         The governess also saw Mrs. Jessel (acted by Clytie Jessop) at the bottom of the stairs. Why would she imagine something like this? I had so many views at this point of the story. When I started thinking there really were ghosts, something would happen; and I would change my mind. The governess looked so stressed out and tired throughout the entire film. I thought she may have been schizophrenic. If I were seeing things, I would lose my mind.

         Again, a lot of things were going through my head towards the end of the movie. I think Flora and Miles were trying to drive the governess crazy. It was a coincidence to me that Miles and the former governess both died. They were the only two people the children were around. Did the children kill them? Were they trying to drive the new governess to suicide? Many questions arose through my mind. I am not sure what the core of the story really was. Were there ghosts or not? James did a great job of keeping that hidden throughout the story.

         I wish there were a sequel to this story. The crazy ending with her romantically kissing Miles' corpse was strange. I wanted to see what happened after that. However, I will just use my imagination. The story cannot get any more strange than it already is.

Caitlin Summers

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