Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Innocents (1961)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Innocents (1961, UK)

In Jack Clayton's scary, supernatural horror-melodrama with a co-adapted script (by Truman Capote) of Henry James' classic The Turn of the Screw, about a governess who feared spirit possession in children she cared for, and believed in the presence of haunting ghosts - with repeated images/sounds of death and decay:

  • the character of sexually-repressed and slightly-deranged Victorian governess Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), employed at Bly House - a gothic, bleak English country estate, employed by wealthy mansion owner and bachelor known as the Uncle (Michael Redgrave), to care for two young and strange, slightly-corrupted children: his orphaned, 'ghostly,' seemingly 'innocent' nephew Miles (Martin Stephens), and his niece Flora (Pamela Franklin)
Governess Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr)
  • the film's atmospheric opening with the Uncle's words: "Do you have an imagination?"
  • the first passionate on-the-lips kiss between Miss Giddens and young Miles - it came after she escorted him to bed; she was horrified that Miles was keeping a pigeon with a broken neck under his pillow ("Yes, poor thing, I'll bury it tomorrow"); and then he suddenly sat up and put his arms around her neck, asking: "Kiss me Goodnight, Miss Giddens"
  • the 'ghostly' ethereal appearances of a mysterious man and woman (identified as Quint and Miss Jessel by the housekeeper Mrs. Grose (Megs Jenkins)) seen by Miss Giddens - the two deceased individuals had reportedly carried on a perverse relationship and were suspected of 'haunting' the estate as apparitions; Miss Giddens believed that Miles was "possessed" - or the possible reincarnation of the previous drowned governess Miss Jessel (Clytie Jessop) and her violently-murdered Irish groom and estate's valet Peter Quint (Peter Wyngarde)
  • the scene of Miles' eerie recitation of a poem, beginning: "What shall I sing to my lord from my window?..."
  • the frenzied concluding sequence in a hot and humid greenhouse, when Miss Giddens saw another apparition of Quint reflected in a window, but Miles denied her assertions, screamed at her, and accused her of being mad: ("You don't fool me. I know why you keep on and on. It's because you're afraid. You're afraid you might be mad. So you keep on and on, trying to make me admit something that isn't true. Trying to frighten me the way you frightened Flora....But I'm not Flora. I'm no baby. You think you can run to my uncle with a lot of lies. But he won't believe you, not when I tell him what you are - a damned hussy, a damned dirty-minded hag! You never fooled us. We always knew") - accompanied by his cackling laugh (Quint also laughed at her)
  • and then in the garden where Miles had fled after smashing the window, Miss Giddens grabbed him when he stumbled to the ground, hugged him and tried to reassure him: ("Oh, it wasn't you. That voice, those words, they weren't yours"); she begged him to admit that the ghost of the dead Quint existed and was present there with them, and then shook him: ("Say it now, now while I'm holding you. Say his name, and it will all be over...The man who taught you. The man you've been meeting, that you've never stopped meeting")
  • Miles yelled back at her and ran off, while screaming at her: "You're wrong, you're insane, you're're insane, you're insane...He's dead!"; she pursued and kept insisting: "His name, Miles. His name, Miles...Tell me his name! You must tell me his name!...Look...look! Look!...He's here! For the last time, he's here...he's here, and you must say his name!"
  • Miles screamed out about possibly having seen the ghost that she was warning him about (the hand of one of the statuesque figures in the garden moved): "Quint! Peter Quint! Where? Where? Where? Where, you devil? Where?" - and then collapsed lifeless to the ground at her feet
"You must say his name!"
The Hand of a Garden Statue Moved
"Where you devil, where?"
  • the ending - Miss Giddens ran to Miles's side after he fell to the ground and cradled his fainting body in her arms, to assure him and believing that he was finally freed from Quint: ("He's gone, Miles. You're safe. You're free. I have you. He's lost you forever"); but then she realized that he had died: ("Miles? Miles! Miles! Oh! Oh, no."); sobbing, she leaned over and kissed him

Miles to Miss Giddens: "Kiss me Goodnight, Miss Giddens"

First Appearance of Quint in Window to Miss Giddens

Another Appearance of Quint's Apparation in Window - Miles Screamed at Miss Giddens And Called Her Mad

Hugging and Reassuring Miles After He Fled to Garden

"Look! He's here!"

Quint - Seen by Miss Giddens in the Garden

"He's gone, Miles. You're safe..."

Kissing Miles After He Died in Her Arms


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