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The Innocents


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 10:07 PM

This wonderful 1950's b&w CinemaScope film is finally out on DVD in widescreen (although the letterboxed version is on the unmarked B-side of the disc...)

Watching it, it seems that David Lynch MUST have seen this and that's why he hired Freddie Francis to shoot "The Elephant Man" (also b&w anamorphic.) There is a very Lynchian dream sequence in there.

It's also a very creepy movie in terms of how the ghosts are handled visually.

Having now shot four features in anamorphic, I'm amazed at how deep-focus the photography is. Here are some frames:

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#2 Mitch Gross

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 10:15 PM

Lovely. One wonders what light levels must have been employed.
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#3 santo

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 10:40 PM

One of the most beautifully photographed films I ever saw.

I've read that Freddie Francis used striped gradation filters with red or yellow or green and centres of clear in the film. Later he applied them for a much different effect in DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE which was shot in lurid Eastmancolor. In DRACULA..., he moves the camera with filter on and sometimes loses some of the excellent atmospheric effect it has when the camera is locked down. An excellent excuse for me to watch THE INNOCENTS again and try and guess where he's using those things.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 12:39 AM

One of the tricks in this film seems to be occasionally using an ND with the center cut out for a "Power Window" darkening effect all around the edges. Some scenes also use net diffusion.
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#5 Jason Debus

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 04:40 PM

Thanks for the screen grabs David, I'm putting this in my NetFlix queue! I'm a big fan of David Lynch's The Elephant Man. I also saw an article about The Innocents in the DVD Playback section of the Dec 2005 AC:

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#6 Jason Debus

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 05:49 PM

For anyone in the LA area, The Innocents is showing at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica on August 9th at 7:30pm (on a double feature with Curse of the Demon).
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#7 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 06:38 PM

I saw this film for the first time in a cinema last weekend, the Bfi have released a new print of it, my reaction...


Amazing. I haven't felt like i've been blown away by a film in ages - it was brilliant: visually, acting wise (the children are genuinly creepy) and it retained much of the ambiguity of the original story.

Debora Kerr, was perfectly suited for it, infact it was very similiar to her role in Black Narcissus, though I think a modern audience will probably find this more watchable than that film which is bordering 'over the top.' It does retain some of the rather tedious exposition/character scenes of the short story, but it never interupts the flow and tension enough to spoil it.

The scene where the little boy kisses the Governess on the lips and 'that' latter scene... are some of the most deceptively disturbing scenes I think i've ever scene.

But best of all was the excellent framing and the use of forground/background blocking. Psycologically it has such power, and unfortunatly it appears to be a lost art in the current fashions of handheld and shallow focus.

I saw it back to back with From Here to Eternity and that film, a typical Hollywood classic just couldn't compete.
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#8 Bob Hayes

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 12:58 AM

The Innocents is truly one of the most unsettling films about possession ever made. The atmospheric photography played a huge part in creating a truly disturbing mood.
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#9 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 05:46 PM

The Innocents is truly one of the most unsettling films about possession ever made. The atmospheric photography played a huge part in creating a truly disturbing mood.


I think one reason it is so unsettling is the possesion is never confirmed, its very un-graphic (the antithesis of The Exorcist), so you doubt the motives and behavior of the heroin as much being unsettled by the children's behavior... the moment at the end when she kisses his body is the high point of that.

One of the most effective things about the ghost appearences were they were often (though not always,) so small in the distance you doubt what you've seen, gives that seeing things in the corner of the eye quality.
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#10 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 06:10 PM

Too bad it doesn't exist on DVD in R2 yet. Hopefully, Bfi might do a re-release soon.
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#11 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 06:17 PM

Too bad it doesn't exist on DVD in R2 yet. Hopefully, Bfi might do a re-release soon.


Hopefully, if they have the rights to distribute a new print maybe there's a chance they can get the rights to release it on DVD.

I'm a big user of Amazon rental, but they don't rent R1 dvd's, shame because I would really like to watch it again.


Apparently Jack Clayton's other supernatural film 'Something Wicked This Way Comes,' is quite underated, has anyone seen it?

Edited by Andy_Alderslade, 22 August 2006 - 06:18 PM.

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#12 Jason Debus

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 07:28 PM

Too bad it doesn't exist on DVD in R2 yet. Hopefully, Bfi might do a re-release soon.

I've recently discovered how easy it is to play any region DVD if you don't mind playing it via PC, this software allows region free playing (and no i don't work for them, there's just a wealth of DVDs outside of r1!):

http://www.dvd-x-player.com/

I think there may be a few places that have it cheaper than buying it from the site, but even so it's only $69.95.

There's a few great films that are available on r2 but not r1 that I use the player for; 1900, Playtime, and La Double vie de Véronique. Also I've got a friend that has a few r3 movies, Korean films Marathon and Welcome to Dongmakgol are worth checking out.
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 11:31 PM

I have a region-free player that corrects for PAL's pixel aspect ratio. Some of my R2 DVD's include "Wagner", "A Matter of Life and Death", "Lost World of Mitchell & Kenyon", "Lost World of Friese-Greene", "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (1972).

I've been watching the restored 2-color Friese-Greene footage lately -- it looks beautiful.

I noticed that for some reason, a DVD of Bertolucci's "Luna" came out in Finland -- any Finns here see that one?
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#14 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 05:09 AM

I've been watching the restored 2-color Friese-Greene footage lately -- it looks beautiful.


As part of the BBC documentry?
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 09:42 AM

As part of the BBC documentry?


Yes. I liked how they were able to superimpose the red and green records, even though there is still a lot of color bleed around movement, rather than have alternative red and green frames flashing at you quickly, which was the original idea. It's a cheat, but it makes the image look better probably than Friese-Greene could achieve.
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#16 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 12:15 PM

Apparently Jack Clayton's other supernatural film 'Something Wicked This Way Comes,' is quite underated, has anyone seen it?


---Disney sexed it up with lots of snazzy effects because it too low key for their tastes or brand.
I suspect the pre-FX version would have been better.

Clayton's 'Our Mother's House' is fairly good. Borderline gothic/psychological drama.
Pamela Franklin is in it.

---LV
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#17 Jon Kukla

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 05:20 PM

I've recently discovered how easy it is to play any region DVD if you don't mind playing it via PC, this software allows region free playing (and no i don't work for them, there's just a wealth of DVDs outside of r1!):

http://www.dvd-x-player.com/

I think there may be a few places that have it cheaper than buying it from the site, but even so it's only $69.95.

There's a few great films that are available on r2 but not r1 that I use the player for; 1900, Playtime, and La Double vie de Véronique. Also I've got a friend that has a few r3 movies, Korean films Marathon and Welcome to Dongmakgol are worth checking out.


Playtime and Double Life of Veronique are both now part of the Criterion Collection, so you should have no problems there.

As far as The Innocents goes, a new BFI print is a sure sign of an upcoming BFI DVD, so I wouldn't worry much there. I recently attended a screening of the new print, but unfortunately it was a very long day and...I kept falling asleep for brief stretches. However, when I was awake, I too was blown away by the huge depth of field for the film. And simply one of the best black and white films ever as far as cinematography goes.
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#18 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 02:03 PM

---Disney sexed [Something Wicked This Way Comes] up with lots of snazzy effects because it too low key for their tastes or brand.
I suspect the pre-FX version would have been better.

Clayton's 'Our Mother's House' is fairly good. Borderline gothic/psychological drama.
Pamela Franklin is in it.


---From IMDB.com:

Disney made many changes to the film that Ray Bradbury and director Jack Clayton did not intend. Many extra special effects scenes were shot, and other changes were made before its release. According to the laserdisc commentary by Bradbury, much of his original intentions for the movie were destroyed.

http://imdb.com/title/tt0086336/trivia

Here's part of a cmment about 'Our Mother's House':

At the beginning of the sixties ,Jack Clayton made a fine adaptation of "the turn of the screw",called "the innocents" which featured P.Franklin too.This could be called "more innocents "but there's a strong difference between the two works.Although "our mother's house" verges on fantastic,there's nothing irrational,nothing supernatural here.THat's what we can call a miracle of a movie:because it sounds like a horror and fantasy movie without all the genre gimmicks .So people who're looking for gore,special effects and other paraphernalia,please pass by.If you enjoy strong screenplays,first-class performances and masterful direction,this is a must.

http://imdb.com/titl...062089/combined

The cinematography's not as jaw dropping stunning as 'The Innocents', yet still a good movie.
Not on VHS or DVD, but allegedly occasionally shows up on TCM. 10-05 6PM what luck.

DP is larry Pizzer. He did 'Morgan' and 'Isodora' for Karel Reisz and 'Phantom of the Paradise".

But why the Elizabeth Taylor photo on IMDuBious??
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#19 David Sweetman

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 09:56 PM

I've had the film "The Innocents" for the past three weeks or so (ordered it after reading this thread) and finally got a chance to see it, I wanted to wait until I could show it on my buddy's big-screen. BW anamorphics were a new one on me. The look was amazing. The shot where the camera was spinning around the maid (i recall) and settles into a perfectly composed shot with the governess and a child in the BG gave me chills.
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