Thursday, 6 August 2009


When I heard that this British-Luxomberg production was yet another version of Henry James masterly ghost story, "The Turn of the Screw", I had to check it. I have several versions in my collection, including the classic 1961 film THE INNOCENTS and a film version of Benjamin Britten's opera THE TURN OF THE SCREW. The strength of James' novella, the thing that has made it virtually impossible for adapters to spoil is its ambiguity. Are the ghosts real or are they in the mind of a disturbed woman? This modern day adaption goes firmly for the latter interpretaion, giving the governess a back story involving sexual abuse. Unfortunately, as she sees the ghost of Peter Quint before she has heard of him and certainly before she has seen his picture this all seems badly thought out. The film tries hard to establish an eerie atmosphere but never quite pulls it off and things are not really helped by the laughable violin playing masturbation scene or a brief (sadly) lesbian scene between the governess and Miss Grose, the housekeeper (played by the delectable Tara Fitzgerald) or the fact that lead actress Leelee Sobjeski just isn't up to the demands of her role. Directed by Donato Rotunno. Rating **

No comments: