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The Innocents

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Jack Clayton’s 1961 film “The Innocents” really feels like the first in this series that’s got real scares in it, and scares that still hold up today. Martin Scorsese even put it on his list of 11 most scary films. And a lot of that is because of the atmosphere Clayton and his screenwriters (mostly Truman Capote) created with this adaptation of Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw.” Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Naughty Children series with “The Innocents.”

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“Don’t be frightened. It was only the wind, my dear."

Thus far, our series to celebrate Halloween — the Naughty Children series — hasn’t really been that scary. “The Bad Seed” is labeled a crime/drama/horror but comes across a bit more as a comedy now with the over-the-top performances. “Village of the Damned” is labeled a horror/mystery/sci-fi but doesn’t have much in the way of horror. This week’s film, Jack Clayton’s 1961 film “The Innocents,” really feels like the first in the series that’s got real scares in it, and scares that still hold up today. Martin Scorsese even put it on his list of 11 most scary films. And a lot of that is because of the atmosphere Clayton and his screenwriters (mostly Truman Capote) created with this adaptation of Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw.” Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Naughty Children series with “The Innocents.” We talk about how much each like this film — Andy as the veteran of the film and Pete as the newbie — any why it works so well. We chat about Deborah Kerr in a role that exemplifies the ambiguity in the story and how it works so well in context of the decaying nature Capote riddled throughout the screenplay. We talk about Jim Clark’s editing and Freddie Francis’ cinematography, as well as Georges Auric’s score, noting how well they each work to add to the atmosphere in this film. And we marvel at Martin Stephens’ performance here, vastly different (and superior) to his performance in “Village of the Damned.” It’s a brilliant film that we’re thrilled to add to our list, so check it out and then tune in!

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