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The Supernatural and the Spiritual


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Oh, Lorna, Lorna, Lorna. .....Nothing happens? Really? What about that child sighing and crying in the middle of the night, their sobs seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere? What about that horrible terrifying pounding, again and again, shaking the walls and Julie Harris' sanity? If nothing else, what about the Claire Bloom character, who clearly is attracted to Julie Harris' ? That was pretty unusual for a studio made film from 1963, wasn't it? huh?

 

I just CAN'T. I just don't. I'm sorry. 

No.

Do. Not. Like.

 

ps- another reason I dislike THE HAUNTING would be the fact that Julie Harris was a brilliant actress, but she succeeds in THE HAUNTING in the same way she does in MEMBER OF THE WEDDING in PLAYING A REALLY IRRITATING character to unfettered perfection.

 

ps- you know the Ghosts of Hill House just instantly regret recruiting Eleanor into their ranks. I BET they were aiming to get Russ Tamblyn instead, but she hijacked the car and now they're sentenced to an eternity of listening to her whiny, kooky, nuerotic, irritating crap day in and out.

 

In the end, I feel for the ghosts.

 

PS- an eternity with Russ though, heaven!

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THE HAUNTING is one of those films that I refer to as a "Magic Eye Picture."

 

Everyone looks at this thing and sees a dolphin dancing on a sunset (ie somethign glorious);  but hard as I squint and cross my eyes, I just can't.

 

It bores me, nothing happens, and I don't like it.

 

(Also: I read the book and all three of the above apply to it as well.)

 

phhhhffffffffffffthbbbbt.....

I've not read the book.  I wonder if my fascination with this film is tied up in the Julie Harris aspect of the film completely.  She played another character who really freaked me out in Reflections of a Golden Eye.

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I just CAN'T. I just don't. I'm sorry. 

No.

Do. Not. Like.

 

ps- another reason would be the fact that Julie Harris was a brilliant actress, but she succeeds in THE HAUNTING in the same way she does in MEMBER OF THE WEDDING in PLAYING A REALLY IRRITATING character to unfettered perfection.

 

ps- you know the Ghosts of Hill House just instantly regret recruiting Eleanor into their ranks. You know they were aiming to get Russ Tamblyn instead, but she hijacked the car and now they're sentenced to an eternity to dealing with her whiny, kooky, irritating crap. In the end, I feel for the ghosts.

 

Well, I can't argue with that. Julie Harris IS annoying. And as you say, not just in The Haunting but in so many other movies she's in.

Good actress though she is, bless her, but she always looks as though she's about to cry.

So yeah, poor ghosts. They don't know what they're in for with Julie hanging out with them for all eternity.

 

ps: By the way, even as you feel about The Haunting, I feel about Black Narcissus :

 

"I just CAN'T. I just don't. I'm sorry. 

No.

Do. Not. Like."

 

 

And as far as I can tell, there's plenty of angst, kookiness, and irritating crap in that movie too.

 

ps:2 : Back to The Haunting: You have to at least give credit to the screenwriter for openly depicting a lesbian character in 1963. I mean, back then, they pretended they didn't exist (oh, ok, except for The Children's Hour.)

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I've not read the book.  I wonder if my fascination with this film is tied up in the Julie Harris aspect of the film completely.  She played another character who really freaked me out in Reflections of a Golden Eye.

 

I honestly read the book as "there are no ghosts, Eleanor is just a nutcase." Apparently the filmmakers (screenwriter?) did too (initially) and they  asked SHirley jACKson whether this was how she intended it, and she apparently said no, there REALLY WERE ghosts at Hill House.

 

I may be remembering it wrong though.

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Oh, Lorna, Lorna, Lorna. .....Nothing happens? Really?

Well, I've got this flick and "The Innocents" at the top of my classicflix.com rental queue so when I see it/them I'll try to weigh in and I'll let you and Lorna know who wins this argument. ;)

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I understand feeling the way you do entirely in re: BLACK NARCISSUS, it both enthralls and disappoints me a little each time i see it.

 

i still wish it had been directed by Hitchcock as a straight thriller.

 

you might try reading the book by RUMER GODDEN; I have not read it, but I have read THE RIVER (also by her) and although it is light on plot, it was masterfully written.

 

NARCISSUS is on my to-read list for sure.

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Well, I've got this flick and "The Innocents" at the top of my classicflix.com rental queue so when I see it/them I'll try to weigh in and I'll let you and Lorna know who wins this argument. ;)

 

now, THE INNOCENTS i like a lot, it's a damn good film and the best performance Deborah Kerr ever gave...maybe.

 

It's one that requires repeat viewings even.

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EDIT: THIS TRAILER, HOWEVER, IS HOT GARBAGE! OMG!!!!!!!!!! NOT AT ALL INDICATIVE OF THE FILM AS IT REALLY IS. i DID NOT WATCH IT UNTIL I POSTED IT HERE, WOW IS IT BAAAAAAAAAD!!!! SERIOUSLY, THIS MOVIE IS GOOD. WONDER IF THIS WAS A RE-RELEASE TRAILER?????.

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With the broad nature of this topic I reckon this thread could go on for years!

I hope it goes on for a while - I've thought about starting this thread for quite a long time, because of my interest in these subjects, and I think I now have enough movie ideas to last for a long time, thanks to all of you!

 

So glad you mentioned "Somewhere in Time". I was trying to think of films that involve reincarnation and this is a biggie. I have this on DVD. Christopher Reeve is outstanding and, if you ever start thinking the film is schmaltzy, the dramatic and shocking ending is sure to move you deeply.

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HONESTLY, I feel sorry for even posting that trailer! i cannot think of a more egregious misrepresentation of a film than that.

 

i would have asked for someone's head over this were I one Kerr or the director's team.

It's a bad trailer, all right, but your hilarious original comments made up for it. ;)

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Well, I can't argue with that. Julie Harris IS annoying.[...]

 

I've seen a few people say that, but I don't find her so. Maybe I just have high tolerance, but I find that some of the more intensely hysterical performances are akin to so many engaging psychopathic performances I love that I often become swept up in their mania in a similar way. I just like a good deteriorating sanity flick. I enjoyed going insane with Julie Harris in that film (I haven't seen her in much else,) and felt that her fevered response to the situation increased the claustrophobia and angst immeasurably. If everyone in that film stayed as cool as a cucumber throughout it would seem that the ghost didn't have much of a weapon against them.

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[...]The anthology Kwaidan is composed of adaptations of traditional tales, and most play like otherworldly fairy tales. This film, too, has beautiful cinematography.[...]

 

I love that one, too. The story Hoichi the Earless all by itself is one of the most perfect ghost films I've seen. Something about that one is just so shockingly, fascinatingly bizarre in the way it unfolds it's... mesmerizingly creepy. Not just the amazing imagery, or setting, or the powerful music that carries it, but also just the perspective of the blind protagonist who is entirely ignorant of his increasingly haunted state...

 

That's not even to mention the exquisite epic sequence that opens the segment.

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I've seen a few people say that, but I don't find her so. Maybe I just have high tolerance, but I find that some of the more intensely hysterical performances are akin to so many engaging psychopathic performances I love that I often become swept up in their mania in a similar way. I just like a good deteriorating sanity flick. I enjoyed going insane with Julie Harris in that film (I haven't seen her in much else,) and felt that her fevered response to the situation increased the claustrophobia and angst immeasurably. If everyone in that film stayed as cool as a cucumber throughout it would seem that the ghost didn't have much of a weapon against them.

What did you think of her in Reflections in a Golden Eye where she maims herself?

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HONESTLY, I feel sorry for even posting that trailer! i cannot think of a more egregious misrepresentation of a film than that.

 

i would have asked for someone's head over this were I one Kerr or the director's team.

 

Lorna, I'm still laughing. It's ridiculous ! What were they thinking?

I especially like that swirly substance that looks like two-flavoured cheesecake batter - I can't even guess what that's supposed to be !

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What did you think of her in Reflections in a Golden Eye where she maims herself?

 

I don't remember her much. I didn't see all of that film. I found it kind of goofy.

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SPOILER:

 

 

Commenting further on Somewhere in Time: How do you make a character go back in time in the most 'plausible' way possible, without his climbing into some sci-fi machine? Reeve merely dresses himself in vintage clothing, redoes his room to create an environment in the past, and even carries old coins in his pocket. He then basically tries to hypnotize himself back in time. It sounds like a Twilight Zone episode, but I think it works.

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Lorna, I'm still laughing. It's ridiculous ! What were they thinking?

I especially like that swirly substance that looks like two-flavoured cheesecake batter - I can't even guess what that's supposed to be !

 

I was thinking a close-up of someone mixing paint at the local Sherwin-Williams, but yeah, I can see the cheesecake thing too.

 

Damn, now I'm hungry,

 

The THIRD time that echo-chamber voice yelled out "CAN THE DEAD REALLY POSSESS THE LIVING??!!" I started shouting back at the screen "WHAT THE HELL YOU ASKING ME FOR??? IT'S YOUR DAMN MOVIE!!!!"

 

Again, the reason THE INNOCENTS works so well is because it uses none of the LOUD hokum-laden cliches that the trailer is loaded down with; in fact (and I may recall this wrong) I don't think the film has any incidental music at all, and large parts of it just play out in silence, which is really effective.

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copied and pasted from wikipedia in re: THE INNOCENTS:

(SPOILERS EDITED OUT, SAFE TO READ)

 

Production

According to Professor Christopher Frayling, much of the screenplay is derived from William Archibald's play of the same name, which premiered on Broadway in 1950, rather than coming directly from James' novella, The Turn of the Screw. Frayling credits Truman Capote with about 90% of the film's script as it appears on the screen. Frayling also attributes the Freudian subtext to screenwriter Capote, whose contribution gives the film a Southern Gothic feel – with the governess's repressed erotic sensibility counterpointed by shots of lush and decaying plants and rapacious insect life. Director Jack Clayton, though, chose to downplay this aspect in the finished film to preserve the ambiguity between the ghost story and Freudian element.[4]

Clayton wanted the film to be quite different to the Hammer horror films of the period, and employed a number of cinematic devices to achieve this, including using genuinely eerie sound effects and moody stylized lighting. For the first 45 seconds of the film the screen is black and singing is heard, and only after this do the credits appear (projectionists thought this was an error). To ensure that his child actors' performances were not too knowing, Clayton also withheld the full details of the story from Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin, who only received those parts of the script that lacked the surprising and mysterious adult elements of the film. By such means Clayton was able to create a horror film that left the strange events depicted for the viewer to interpret.

The Innocents was the big career break for renowned film editor Jim Clark, who was hired on the recommendation of his colleague Jimmy Ware, editor of Clayton's first feature, Room At The Top. In his 2010 memoir Dream Repairman, Clark recalled the experience as "a true collaboration" and that he and Clayton became close friends and regular drinking partners during production, since both were single at the time, and lived near each other. He described The Innocents as:

"... a real pleasure to edit, since Jack had a very certain approach to his material, having worked out everything beforehand. He was a perfectionist who left nothing to chance, and was very precise in his approach to work".

Inspired by George Stevens' A Place in the Sun, Clark created "some rather cunning dissolves", which he also described as "mini montages" in which he edited the cross-fades between certain scenes to run four or five times longer than the standard 'mix', and often blended in a third, near-subliminal image.

 

 

Reception 20px-Wiki_letter_w_cropped.svg.png This section requires expansion. (November 2014)

The Innocents was nominated for two BAFTA Awards, including Best British Film and Best Film from any Source. 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.[7]

Director Martin Scorsese placed The Innocents on his list of the 11 scariest horror films of all time.[8]

The film at the time did not attract an audience, but critics would call it one of the best psychological thrillers ever made. Time Out named it as the 18th in a list of the 100 greatest British films. The Innocents currently holds a 96% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes from a sample of 46 reviews.

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I honestly read the book as "there are no ghosts, Eleanor is just a nutcase." Apparently the filmmakers (screenwriter?) did too (initially) and they  asked SHirley jACKson whether this was how she intended it, and she apparently said no, there REALLY WERE ghosts at Hill House.

 

I may be remembering it wrong though.

I read the book too, and I think Eleanor is a bit neurotic but the book is wonderful nevertheless.

 

All Shirley Jackson's stories are very outre, which makes her a one of a kind author. I remember one story in a collection of short stories by her, where some of the characters would then show up in other non-connected stories and you felt like you were entering the Twilight Zone.

 

By the way, in the original book by James, it is never made clear though one can have opinions, whether things are really happening or are all in the mind of the governess. Henry James did an excellent job of showing how myopic and mental malcontents can see things that perhaps are not there. Or they are they and people discount them due to the source.

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Does anyone know if a film was made out of Jackson's story "The Lottery?"

GPF. I remember seeing a tv version of that tale. It might have been on PBS, not sure.

 

I do remember it starred a really cute guy, who used to be on that show with Kirstie Alley I think. Let me find his name on IMDB.

 

Update: It starred Dan Cortese who was in "Veronica's Closet" and it was a tv movie from 1996:

 

The Lottery

 

On his deathbed in the hospital, Jason's father asks that his ashes be spread over the top of his wife's grave. Jason, who came to the city with his father at a young age, remembers little ...See full summary »
Director: Daniel Sackheim
Writers: Shirley Jackson (short story), Anthony Spinner(television story) | 1 more credit »

 

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SPOILER:

 

 

Commenting further on Somewhere in Time: How do you make a character go back in time in the most 'plausible' way possible, without his climbing into some sci-fi machine? Reeve merely dresses himself in vintage clothing, redoes his room to create an environment in the past, and even carries old coins in his pocket. He then basically tries to hypnotize himself back in time. It sounds like a Twilight Zone episode, but I think it works.

 

I have only seen this film one time on television and those who know me know how shaky I am on the details.  But, wasn't this about a writer?  Fantasizing about an earlier time and living it in his imagination -or is it real?  I could totally buy into that.  But the self-hypnosis part (was that right?) ...  

 

So, when I see these moments of past meets present on some realm of time and space, the one that totally leaves me in a puddle of tears and enlightenment is the closing scene of Field of Dreams.   For me, the less explained or contrived, the better. 

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I have only seen this film one time on television and those who know me know how shaky I am on the details.  But, wasn't this about a writer?  Fantasizing about an earlier time and living it in his imagination -or is it real?  I could totally buy into that.  But the self-hypnosis part (was that right?) ...  

 

So, when I see these moments of past meets present on some realm of time and space, the one that totally leaves me in a puddle of tears and enlightenment is the closing scene of Field of Dreams.   For me, the less explained or contrived, the better. 

 

"SOMEWHERE IN TIME" MAJOR SPOILER HERE:

 

 

 

 

Yes, he was a playwright.  He is backstage when he meets an old woman who pleads with him to "return" to her.  He doesn't understand.  Later he finds a portrait of a woman from the 1800s and falls in love with her.  He researches the woman's life and ways he could go back in time to be with her.  Eventually he locks himself in a room and keeps repeating to himself that he is back in time... almost like mantras, and then he eventually does meet up with her (to make this "plausible", again, it takes him a very long time, and a lot of effort, to actually break through that time barrier.) 

 

The way that he is very unwillingly pulled back to the present was pretty ingenious, I thought...

 

The old woman at the beginning of the movie and the woman in the portrait are the same person.

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