Pauline Kael called this British classic, based on Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw”, “the best ghost movie I’ve ever seen”. Deborah Kerr and Michael Redgrave co-star and the script is by Truman Capote, with contributions from John Mortimer. “No shock tactics here, just the careful creation of sinister atmosphere, Freddie Francis’ haunting camerawork and evocative acting. Kerr especially is excellent” (Geoff Andrew, Time Out Film Guide). (99 mins)
Dir: Jack Clayton, UK 1961


“Beautifully made – a remarkable feat of interpretation.”

“Beautifully directed and acted – great chiaroscuro. Did Deborah act better – ever? More eerie than the original.”

“Chilling and powerful. Great performances, especially Deborah Kerr – what an expressive face – and Megs Jenkins.”

“Just as spine-tingling as when I first saw it in 1961.”

“I was 22 when I first saw this after reading all the Henry James stories. Tonight it (be)came much more shocking – probably because this genre of continual shocks (is) so rare nowadays. It probably would not (have) be(en) so effective in colour!”

“Well filmed and acted”

“Very chilling!”

“Genuinely scary. I thought that the new governess was the most frightening character (but) not sure if that was intentional”

“Spooky – then very spooky. A brilliant, improbable tale but improbable climax.”

“Very gripping. (I) stayed awake. Soundtrack odd.”

“(I was) surprised to be terrified!”

“Great suspense and what splendidly strong photography. Absolutely made the hairs on my neck stand on end! A most unexpected ending.”

“Shades of Hitchcock and The Birds (but) how did she keep her hair so neat? Wonderful acting but awful film.”

“I agreed with Cyril’s comments about the title.”

“I enjoyed the gothic atmosphere, up to a point but (otherwise) unbelievable.”

“Ticked all the right gothic boxes, Stronger on atmosphere than (on) narrative.”

“It was like watching (life in) a dated, statuesque, middle-class parallel universe.”

“Wow! And all so beautifully enunciated.”

“Excellent acting, settings and costumes but did I believe a word of it … ?”

“More tosh but quite nicely done. Wasn’t the real mystery how a poor governess managed to have so many posh outfits?”

“Anyone with a haircut like Miles’ was bound to come to a sticky end!”


A:16, B:19, C:7, D:5, E:1 to give 73%