I will admit a bias for the classic I wrote about earlier, The Innocents (1961), the classic interpretation of Henry James‘s short novel, The Turn of the Screw. And I’ll admit that it has been a long time — a very long time, many years, in fact — since I read the novella. But I know what I know and watching The Turn of the Screw (1992) is slow, dull, and tries way too hard.
Patsy Kensit, the lead actress playing the governess, is pleasant to watch…she’s talented, beautiful, and doing well starring in a tiresome cliche…but other than that…
The Innocents, like the Henry James’s story, draws a person into the story with skillful ambiguity and beautiful cinematography. It isn’t clear if we are watching a literal ghost story or something else in that classic.
The Turn of the Screw, however, stacks the deck and lacks any depth. The themes of James’s story are over-played and carelessly displayed. Madness, sexual taboo, and deception exist in almost every line, every scene. And that horrible soundtrack! Until the very end, this film doesn’t fail to disappoint. Have I used the word cliché to describe this film yet? Maybe it is time now to try silly.
Did I point out the German accent spoken by the French house keeper? (I can’t help myself.)
And Julian Sands? Olivier Debray? I am not in the mood for unshaven moody, creepy actors wearing eyeliner.
Maybe I just don’t like chick flicks, because that’s what we have here…a wonderful classic turned into a gothic chick flick where the “horror” elements are simple tricks, tropes, and…I daresay…traps. (I’ve used the word cliché already, right?)
Vapid is a good word for this film. “Vapid” looks sand sounds omething like vampire. Kind of. (Vampire-Gothic connection, get it?)
All right, ok, I know there is nothing quite as insipid as rambling complaints so I will give it a break. I want readers, after all, and there is good stuff to read on this blog. You just have to scroll down and find it.
Or use the tag cloud.
- The Innocents (1961) (alittletourinyellow.wordpress.com)
- Me, My Dell, and My Nerves… (alittletourinyellow.wordpress.com)
- Early ’60s Horror (2) (hilobrow.com)