The Innocents (1961)

Directed by Jack Clayton

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted by ghosts and that the children are being possessed.

The Others (2001) but with the deep focus cinematography of Citizen Kane (1941).


Miss Giddens’s growing sense of horror is rooted directly in her unarticulated suspicion (not because she can’t articulate it but because she can’t bring herself to) that the sin Quint introduced to Bly was nothing less than the original one; he brought the knowledge of good and evil to the estate’s prelapsarian prepubescent Adam and Eve […]. Ultimately, the measure of the film is simply this: the product of a time when visual discretion was the norm for both practical and aesthetic reasons, it retains its power to chill in an age of full disclosure. The Innocents shows little but suggests much, and its refinement in no way detracts from its ability to disturb and, yes, haunt moviegoers more accustomed to the sucker punch than to the inexorable turn of the screw […].

Maitland McDonagh (Criterion)