Written in November 2014 for my February 2015 “En movimiento” column in Caimán Cuadernos de Cine. Given the precipitous decline in Truman Capote’s literary reputation since his death, it seems a pity that he’s better known as a screenwriter on the overrated Beat the Devil than on The Innocents, a far more durable though far less celebrated work. — J.R.
Bonus features are an important part of digital film culture, and one shortcoming is the attention usually accorded to both literary and cinematic sources. While these sources aren’t necessarily ignored, they’re rarely emphasized, so that younger viewers watching, for the first time, Jack Clayton’s The Innocents (1961) and Robert Wise’s The Haunting (1963) –- two exceptionally literate and intelligent horror films, both beautifully and resourcefully filmed in black and white CinemaScope -– are apt to overlook the fact that they’re adapted quite faithfully from what Stephen King has called the two “great novels of the supernatural in the last hundred years,” namely Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw (1898) and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (1959). Though both novels are cited and discussed in the extras (and Truman Capote’s contribution of Southern Gothic elements to the screenplay for The Innocents is rightly applauded), they’re rarely accorded the attention they deserve.… Read more »