Book Vs Movie: The Turn of the Screw/The Innocents
The 1898 Henry James Novella & the 1961 Classic Horror Film
The Margos decided to go back to being a little spooked as we were in October by tackling the Henry James classic The Turn of the Screw (neither one of us had read it before!) Originally published in 1898, the ghost story has been adapted several times.
The basic plot is an unnamed narrator is reading the experience of a governess who is tasked with looking after two small children whose parents have died. Their Uncle gives her the orders of looking after the boy & girl and not communicate with him as he is not interested in parenting.
The kids are named Miles and Flora. Miles was expelled from his school but no one wants to bother with having to bring up why. The governess starts to see ghosts in the house and is convinced Flora is being visited by the spirit of their former caretaker Miss Jessel.
Miss Jessel and a co-worker Peter Quint had a relationship and both of the kids loved them.
Flora is taken away and Miles is shielded from seeing the ghost of Quint by the governess.
The original script of The Innocents (directed by Jack Clayton) was written by William Archibald and treated the paranormal as real. Clayton’s friend Truman Capote (who used Archibald’s stage play as primary text) created a more psychological explanation for why the governess is convinced the house is haunted. (We LOVE the dialog in this film!)
Listen to this episode to hear us talk about the book & movie and decide which we like better.
In this ep the Margos discuss:
- The life and literary career of Henry James (and the influence of his family on his writing)
- The many ways the work has been interpreted over the years
- Truman Capote’s contribution to the screenplay
- The cast: Deborah Kerr (Miss Giddens,) Michael Redgrave (the Uncle,) Peter Wyngarde (Peter Quint,) Megs Jenkins (Mrs. Grose,) Martin Stephens (Miles,) Pamela Franklin (Flora,) Clytie Jessop (Miss Mary Jessel,) and Isla Cameron (Anna.)
- The Innocents trailer
- Miss Giddens starts to go mad
- Flora acts strangely
- Miles sees Quint (finally)
- “Oh Willow Waly” by Isla Cameron
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