These are my notes on our screening of The Innocents. Nothing special. But I want to model this kind of activity for you.
The Innocents (d. Jack Clayton 1961)
black screen, child singing
bird song. title sequence.
as in prayer or supplication. clenched.
Kerr’s face. face tilted up. a breeze?
sub vocal: “All I want to do”
In bachelor uncle’s office.
Whatever happens. — we don’t really trust her.
lap dissolve to carriage.
camera positioned behind trees watch her
as she walks toward house.
voice calling. “Flora!”
reflection in water– Flora, clouds. inverted
Miss Gibbons. Kerr. Maid?
the semi-abandoned mansion.
Miles is Flora’s bro.
is Kerr thinking about the bachelor?
“The devil’s own eye.”
“Miles is coming!”
Mrs Gross is the maid.
depth of field.
Flora’s prayer: she catches on “if I should die”
some people. just walk around. we must pretend we didn’t hear it. sometimes one can’t help but imagine things.
windows, curtains blowing. Flora watches Miss Gibbons. garden.
lap dissolve humming Kerr in bed to garden outside.
Flora’s creepy, knowing, uncanny.
composite? Flora extreme foreground, Gibbons in background (15-20 min. mark)
“an injury to others”: letter about Miles
Miles flatters Kerr. She questions him. Wind blows.
He misdirects her. Turns the discussion to other things.
“Trust me.” Candle blown out. lap dissolves
white roses. statuary. bug comes out of its mouth.
sound drops out except her skirt. a strange sound. looks up
to tower. figure on roof. dazzled by light.
slo mo (bug/doves)
following shot to door. door opens into interior.
sound of flies. stairs up camera tilt
2 [illegible] light cut to door opening out onto
rooftop. “he was looking at me”
one can never believe Flora– Miles. reliability really
Miles on horseback. framing, music to create anxiety.
strange noise shots of trees.
image of horse– Miles is coloring.
Flora’s image: G. thinks it’s flowers. F. says it’s
thunderstorm. too small to have secrets?
backstory for Gibbons. strange figure.
up steps shadows. disused room. old toy– puppet.
broken image. misdirection. (cuts).
tapestry along stairs is very gothic. mise en scene is a
combination of Victorian/ gothic. face in mirror.
windows reflect but transparent a double image.
high angle shot of kids laughing looking down
lap dissolve: miniature to Kerr sleeping restlessly.
screeching of Flora’s pen. “begging for attention!”
horrible. she’s so indulgent. trying to account for
Quint’s appearance. extreme foreground: not a composite.
Kerr switches position. (1 hr mark) horn on
table. story of Quint/Miles told by Gross.
Poem recited by M– Kerr against cushions with images
of medieval figures. “welcome my lord”
lingering after-image of Flora’s creepy face.
camera movement around Gross/ Kerr. series of 2 shots w/ both
figures facing camera. Quint/Miss Jessel.
lap dissolve between 3 images. intermediary image just a few seconds duration.
2 shot set up gives depth
to closeup of K. overshoulder Flora’s back.
music box song. Figure appears. is someone
there or not?
“two of those abominations” “A woman dressed in black.”
No pride, no shame. It sounds like
Miss Gibbons, a projection of some facet of herself.
Totally abandoned. Fucking all over the house.
“Too much whispering.”
Following Kerr. during this exchange w/ Gross.
“The Innocents” a way of making her thought
process more compelling “Wandering all over the house, sobbing.”
Anna, the other maid. “Our secrets.”
montage while Kerr sleeps. Quint picture
turtle kids “watch her” extreme closeup of
mouth. very strange sounds. Quint on rooftop.
his hand and a child’s birds music box. distorted
music whispers. Ms. Jessel dancing w/ Flora Quint/Miles
candle blown out (1h20m?)
“some stupid trick to get him to notice me”
Jessel committed suicide, drowned in lake.
church yard. tombstones. Flora leaves flowers on
Schoolroom. fly buzzing. sound of sobbing.
rapid cuts. Jessel’s ghost crying. a tear.
“everything has changed” Gibbons is totally out of it,
staring. “She spoke” Pitiless and hungry. A sexual
desire. They can only reach each other by possessing the kids
(implied incest). A perfect, paranoid explanation. Gross is
losing faith in Gibbons?
White roses as motif? a sign of fantasy? madness. whispers.
roses in foreground. Kerr in robe like a rose. an
excess (blossom) profusion as a kind of madness. Dark/light
staircase candles creaking. whispers.
tapestry track/pan out then Kerr’s face –> misleading
misdirection. looks left/right.
sobs/music. voices that seem to be a
repetion of Quint/Jessel in past.
Kerr turns ceiling shot she keeps turning.
Confounded by. Mask on wall. To Flora’s bedroom
looking out window. Miles in garden.
lap dissolves face– bird– Kerr writing.
piano– same music as humming/ music box.
now Kerr is in all black, like Jessel.
Jessel in distance.
total tantrum. as if a demonic force.
all of this to undercut our certainty. is Kerr crazy?
Hands extended to fire like credit sequence. Flora
screams throughout the night. Terror or rage.
Flora is cursing “such filth”. Gross says she
didn’t see the woman. “That bad memory.”
“It was like a pendulum” Miles
What am I to tell their uncle?
Gross has no idea what the truth is nor has
Beautiful layering of visual field as carriage departs: Kerr/ pan/ Flora/ Gross. Three planes, one for each character.
I can’t judge you Miss, a body can only judge themselves.
very gothic exterior. statues. architecture. Kerr in
Miles as if he’s controlled by Quint.
I said things. I frightened the other boys.
extreme closeup of Miles’ mouth.
Kerr thinks Quint is controlling him. High angle.
Miles is dead.
hand in dark.