The Innocents is a 1961 British supernatural gothic horror film directed and produced in CinemaScope by Jack Clayton, and starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave and Megs Jenkins.
Based on the novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, the plot follows a governess who watches over two children and comes to fear that the house is haunted by ghosts and that the two children are being possessed. The title of the film was taken from William Archibald’s stage adaptation of James’ novella. Falling within the subgenre of psychological horror, the film achieves its effects through lighting, music and direction rather than conventional shocks. Its atmosphere was created by cinematographer Freddie Francis, who employed deep focus in many scenes, as well as bold, minimal lighting. It was partly shot on location at the Gothic mansion of Sheffield Park in Sussex.
The Innocents was nominated for two BAFTA Awards, including Best British Film and Best Film. For his direction, Clayton was awarded the National Board of Review Award for Best Director. William Archibald and Truman Capote won a 1962 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. The film premiered in New York City on 25 December 1961 and was entered into the 1962 Cannes Film Festival.
This film made a lasting impression on Kate when she was very young, and it eventually gave inspiration for the song The Infant Kiss.