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The Supernatural and the Spiritual


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I work with a few animal shelters and it is their policy NOT to allow any adoptions of black cats for about a month before Halloween. It's a precaution against idiots "sacrificing" one. It's exactly the same thing as only allowing customers to buy ONE chick, thinking it's a disposable "Easter gift" (you must buy a minimum of 6 chicks at a time)

 

As for the "devil" in Dorian Gray....it has always been my feeling the George Sanders character is the devil or at least his agent. Sanders "suggests" and somewhat cajoles Dorian into selling his soul for eternal beauty. That's a pretty devil-ish thing to do.

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I work with a few animal shelters and it is their policy NOT to allow any adoptions of black cats for about a month before Halloween. It's a precaution against idiots "sacrificing" one. It's exactly the same thing as only allowing customers to buy ONE chick, thinking it's a disposable "Easter gift" (you must buy a minimum of 6 chicks at a time)

 

As for the "devil" in Dorian Gray....it has always been my feeling the George Sanders character is the devil or at least his agent. Sanders "suggests" and somewhat cajoles Dorian into selling his soul for eternal beauty. That's a pretty devil-ish thing to do.

 

SEE, THIS IS WHY I LOVE COMING HERE.

THE **** YOU FIND OUT IS AMAZING.

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JUST FOR LARFS...

 

On October 1st this year I want to dress up like this:

 

6b2103d36c97eff59be01e49d6c52463.jpg

 

And make a crawl of the local shelters offering "as much as it takes" for a solid black cat and then inquiring if they know where I can find a goat as well.

And just for larfs, they might throw you in jail....

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Ben most people would turn you away;

I don't listen to a word they say.

They don't see you as I do;

I wish they would try to'

I'm sure they'd think again if they had a friend like Ben,

A friend like Ben

(Like Ben)

Like Ben

 

Aw, come on now, most  people are rather fond of the Mank. (nice to think you dedicated an entire poem to him, though. I hear Michael Jackson was a huge Mankiewicz fan...)

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And a further comment about Wayward Pines MissW:

 

I didn't talk much about the TV series because I thought it would irritate people to hear about what I thought of being an extra on a television show.

 

But you did. Talk about being an extra on the show, that is. In fact, you talked about that more than about the show.

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Aw now, come on now, most  people are rather fond of the Mank. (nice to think you dedicated an entire poem to him, though. I hear Michael Jackson was a huge Mankiewicz fan...)

I don't think 'I'm more popular than a movie rat' will be

part of his pr package. I always got a kick out of the

first line of the second verse--Ben, you're always

running here and there. I saw Willard, but I don't think

I've ever seen Ben. A very easy bucket list item.

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Getting back to the premise of this thread, I just watched "The Innocents".

 

Thank you, misswonderly, for recommending it. It is a beautiful and frightening film about a woman who obtains work as a governess to two young children, and all is not as right with them as it seems.

 

The plot is complex, the visuals absolutely stunning: not only are the sets and locations gorgeous, but the film has many scenes of arresting and symbolic imagery.

 

Deborah Kerr did a superb job as Miss Giddens, as well as the actors who played Mrs. Gross, and the children.

 

Highly recommended!!

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I'd like to write more about the visuals for The Innocents.

 

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

 

1. Miss Giddens, out in the garden, sees a stone cherub. It is holding two dismembered stone hands, and a bug crawls out of its mouth. Like something out of a nightmare.

 

2. Miss Giddens sees a figure walking on the roof of a tower... Later, she is playing hide and seek with the children. She stands at a window, and you see a reflection of a stone statue. Then, an evil looking man walks up to the window... the man seen on the tower.

 

3. Near the end of the film, where you see the man who embodies the statue (I won't give more away).

 

4. The woman ghost in the weeds, dressed in black...

 

As an aside, even the creepy audio cues are good.

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MURDER BY NATURAL CAUSES (1979-Tvm)  Hal Holbrook, Katharine Ross, Barry Bostwick, Richard Anderson.  Runs 100 minutes. 

 

     Released by LIGHTNING VIDEO, a subsidiary of Vestron, in the mid-80s.  I bought a copy of it years ago; I never did see it on television.  Good movie! 

 

      

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Getting back to the premise of this thread, I just watched "The Innocents".

 

Thank you, misswonderly, for recommending it. It is a beautiful and frightening film about a woman who obtains work as a governess to two young children, and all is not as right with them as it seems.

 

The plot is complex, the visuals absolutely stunning: not only are the sets and locations gorgeous, but the film has many scenes of arresting and symbolic imagery.

 

Deborah Kerr did a superb job as Miss Giddens, as well as the actors who played Mrs. Gross, and the children.

 

Highly recommended!!

 

And it also drives home how bad that trailer is doesn't it?

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I'd like to write more about the visuals for The Innocents.

 

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

 

1. Miss Giddens, out in the garden, sees a stone cherub. It is holding two dismembered stone hands, and a bug crawls out of its mouth. Like something out of a nightmare.

 

2. Miss Giddens sees a figure walking on the roof of a tower... Later, she is playing hide and seek with the children. She stands at a window, and you see a reflection of a stone statue. Then, an evil looking man walks up to the window... the man seen on the tower.

 

3. Near the end of the film, where you see the man who embodies the statue (I won't give more away).

 

4. The woman ghost in the weeds, dressed in black...

 

As an aside, even the creepy audio cues are good.

 

All of the above are as you say, quite creepy visuals. But the one that stands out for me the most, the one that makes me feel kind of frightened when I think about it, even after the movie's over, is that fourth scene you cite, "the woman ghost in the weeds..." What makes it particularly chilling is that the figure is still there, even after Miss Giddens looks away. Usually with this kind of ghost scene, the protagonist sees a ghost , looks away, and then when they look back, the specter is gone. So there's something especially eerie about the fact that the woman dressed in black is still there, even when the governess looks away and then back again. It makes the ghost seem real; it also makes the ghost seem somehow more malevolent; she almost seems to be staring steadily at Miss Giddens. This really contributes to the uncanny atmosphere of the entire scene.

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All of the above are as you say, quite creepy visuals. But the one that stands out for me the most, the one that makes me feel kind of frightened when I think about it, even after the movie's over, is that fourth scene you cite, "the woman ghost in the weeds..." What makes it particularly chilling is that the figure is still there, even after Miss Giddens looks away. Usually with this kind of ghost scene, the protagonist sees a ghost , looks away, and then when they look back, the specter is gone. So there's something especially eerie about the fact that the woman dressed in black is still there, even when the governess looks away and then back again. It makes the ghost seem real; it also makes the ghost seem somehow more malevolent; she almost seems to be staring steadily at Miss Giddens. This really contributes to the uncanny atmosphere of the entire scene.

Yes, absolutely! All that you mention strikes me the same way. The ghost not only doesn't go away, it's so 'solid-looking', not ghost-like, that it gives you the impression it is making a direct threat.

 

Equally powerful is the very, very beginning, with Flora's singing and Miss Giddens' praying hands. I don't think I've ever been frightened by the opening credits before!

 

Also, the ending is a little ambiguous. Does anyone else think so? I'll weigh in more about that later... ;)

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Also, the ending is a little ambiguous. Does anyone else think so? I'll weigh in more about that later... ;)

 

Just to finish up my thoughts - DISCUSSING THE ENDING OF "THE INNOCENTS" HERE:

 

 

 

 

After the little boy, Miles, mentions the name of Peter Quint he ceases to inhabit Miles' body, and Peter's ghostly form disappears.  But then Miles himself dies.  Miss Giddens leans over and kisses Miles on the mouth .  Then Miss Giddens looks up in a kind of shock, like something happened to her, and leans backward out of the frame.  What happened?  Did Peter Quint possess her?  Any ideas?

 

(The kiss was unusally adult and creepy, in my opinion.  Plus, earlier in the film, when Miss Giddens asked Miles to give her a kiss goodnight, Miles gives her a long kiss on the mouth as well.)

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Just to finish up my thoughts - DISCUSSING THE ENDING OF "THE INNOCENTS" HERE:

 

 

 

 

After the little boy, Miles, mentions the name of Peter Quint he ceases to inhabit Miles' body, and Peter's ghostly form disappears.  But then Miles himself dies.  Miss Giddens leans over and kisses Miles on the mouth .  Then Miss Giddens looks up in a kind of shock, like something happened to her, and leans backward out of the frame.  What happened?  Did Peter Quint possess her?  Any ideas?

 

(The kiss was unusally adult and creepy, in my opinion.  Plus, earlier in the film, when Miss Giddens asked Miles to give her a kiss goodnight, Miles gives her a long kiss on the mouth as well.)

 

I'm wondering if we're supposed to think that the ghosts / spirits of Peter Quint and the former governess (do we ever find out her name?) are trying to inhabit - or I suppose the correct word is "possess" - Miles (Quint) and Miss Giddens (the former governess.) It is mentioned early on in the film that Quint and that governess were lovers. So the bizarre (and let's hope, fleetingly occasional) sexual attraction between the boy and Kerr's character, manifested in those strange unsettling kisses, could be explained by the ghosts taking over their bodies, at least for one second, when the kiss happens (twice, as you say.)

 

And yes, Miles is very young, not even a teenager (11, maybe? ten?), more like a son to Giddens than a lover. So the erotic kiss on the mouth between them is very "adult and creepy" as you aptly put it.

 

It's horrible that the boy dies in the end. You kind of wish, before that happens, that Miss Giddens and the housekeeper could have found a really good priest to exorcise the place ( but that's another movie, isn't it?)

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Yes, with the first kiss between Miles and Miss Giddens, knowing after the fact that Quint possessed the boy, the viewer can say that it's really Quint who is kissing her.

 

Also there is that wonderfully done later scene, when Miles is practically cussing out Miss Giddens, with beads of sweat on his face, and behind him is the spectre of Quint looking down and laughing evilly.

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Re "The Innocents" (1961)--there is a 1972 prequel to it called "The Nightcomers" with Marlon Brando.  It was trashed on release--have never seen it, but film may be of interest.

 

Two films that haven't been mentioned:

 

"Tales of Manhattan" (1942)--About a cursed coat and what happens to its' various owners.

 

"The Conqueror Worm" (1968)--For hypocrisy in the name of religion, this one's hard to beat; has Vincent Price's best performance as Matthew Hopkins, as a Witchfinder in Cromwell era England, who finds witches (or unfortunates), collects his fees, disposes of those named, and goes off to the next town to make money.  One of the best and most depressing horror films of the 1960's.

 

Re "The Shining" (1980)--There's one Huge logic flaw that kills the movie.  Jack Nicholson acts a step away from "psycho" from his Job Interview on--he might as well have a neon tattoo of "Crazy" tattooed on his forehead.  He'd never make it past the interview.  IMO, Kubrick was so in love with Nicholson's performance he let it overshadow all else in the film, to the films' detriment.  Effective as Nicholson is in parts of the film, Shelley Duvall outacts him in terms of subtlety and character growth; Duvall has her effective scenes too (the typewriter scene, etc.)  JMO.

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Re "The Shining" (1980)--There's one Huge logic flaw that kills the movie.  Jack Nicholson acts a step away from "psycho" from his Job Interview on--he might as well have a neon tattoo of "Crazy" tattooed on his forehead.  He'd never make it past the interview.  IMO, Kubrick was so in love with Nicholson's performance he let it overshadow all else in the film, to the films' detriment.  Effective as Nicholson is in parts of the film, Shelley Duvall outacts him in terms of subtlety and character growth; Duvall has her effective scenes too (the typewriter scene, etc.)  JMO.

 

I understand where you're coming from. My defense of Jack, and his performance, would be:

 

1) if you remove what you as an audience member bring to the table in regards of knowing what Nicholson has done with film performances in the past (or future, if you're just watching the film now), you can see where the "crazy" evidence is showing. But if you just look at the few scenes of the interview, and if that's the only time they met, would you necessarily write him off as crazy just from his behavior in the office or on the tour? It's also implied that the position is not an easy one to fill, due to the isolation and the past history of violence at the hotel. The management was probably just pleased that they found someone (a writer and former school teacher too) to fill the position.

 

2) Jack Torrance is shown early on as having an anger and violence problem, when the incident of him dislocating Danny's shoulder is discussed. It alludes to the fact that Jack's is a personality already close to edge, and that's why the hotel is able to manipulate him the way it does.

 

In the end, I enjoy Jack's performance as being fun, but I don't think it has a lot of nuance. He's memorable, but the real effect of the film comes from other aspects in the film, for me anyway, like the sound, cinematography, the score, the overall mood.

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MAY be SPOILERS--if you're a Good Guesser, SKIP THIS POST

 




LawrenceA--Has been too long since I've seen the film to remember the specific dialogue--but was a Previous caretaker mentioned?  If so, the manager would know Not to repeat that scenario--or, jobwise, His head might roll (figuratively).  Or is Something Else implied?  That's all I can say without adding Definites (which would semi-absolve Kubrick).

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MAY be SPOILERS--if you're a Good Guesser, SKIP THIS POST

 

 

 

LawrenceA--Has been too long since I've seen the film to remember the specific dialogue--but was a Previous caretaker mentioned?  If so, the manager would know Not to repeat that scenario--or, jobwise, His head might roll (figuratively).  Or is Something Else implied?  That's all I can say without adding Definites (which would semi-absolve Kubrick).

 

Yeah, in the interview, Barry Nelson sheepishly tells Jack about the "incident" with the former caretaker some time back. While Nelson is telling him, and Jack is looking uncomfortable, the other management guy sits staring at Jack, as if gauging his reaction.

 

If one wanted to go waaaay out, you could say that hotel made the management's decision for them. You don't know how much influence the malevolent "spirit" of the hotel has over those who work there throughout the year.

 

And remember, I sort of agree with your and other's assessment in regards to how Torrance is depicted. It would have made things more striking if they had played up the normalcy of Jack Torrance in the early parts of the film, so that the transition to full-on homicidal maniac had more impact.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This thread has brought to mind a movie situation....but I can't recall the movie!

 

There are a group of children...well, their spirits, angels. The spirits of the children are in a hospital, just outside the delivery room. You hear a slap, a baby cry and one of the children disappear-presumably just born in the other room.

 

The movie ends there, with the implication baby spirits are just waiting to be born. It also implies reincarnation and is very cute & likeable.

It seems like this movie was b&w, but I just don't recall. I bet the word "angel" is in the title.

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This thread has brought to mind a movie situation....but I can't recall the movie!

 

There are a group of children...well, their spirits, angels. The spirits of the children are in a hospital, just outside the delivery room. You hear a slap, a baby cry and one of the children disappear-presumably just born in the other room.

 

The movie ends there, with the implication baby spirits are just waiting to be born. It also implies reincarnation and is very cute & likeable.

It seems like this movie was b&w, but I just don't recall. I bet the word "angel" is in the title.

 

This sounds like For Heaven's Sake (1950)

 

32q3DTh.jpg

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Re "The Shining" (1980)--There's one Huge logic flaw that kills the movie.  Jack Nicholson acts a step away from "psycho" from his Job Interview on--he might as well have a neon tattoo of "Crazy" tattooed on his forehead.  He'd never make it past the interview.  IMO, Kubrick was so in love with Nicholson's performance he let it overshadow all else in the film, to the films' detriment.  Effective as Nicholson is in parts of the film, Shelley Duvall outacts him in terms of subtlety and character growth; Duvall has her effective scenes too (the typewriter scene, etc.)  JMO.

Agreed, filmlover. Though Lawrence does a great job in defense of Nicholson, I think Nicholson miscalculates and this hurts the film badly. Going from 1 to 100 is always more interesting than going from 99 to 100. Kubrick can fall in love with an actor's performance and not give it the editing or shaping it needs. I'm thinking especially of Peter Sellers in LOLITA. Kubrick loves what Sellers is doing and lets his scenes run on as long as Sellers wants. For me, most of Sellers' performance in LOLITA is fast forward material, and this did not have to be the case. Alec Baldwin made a similar point about Kubrick's indulgence of Sellers when he and Robert Osborne discussed LOLITA on the Essentials.

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I understand where you're coming from. My defense of Jack, and his performance, would be:

 

1)...

 

2) Jack Torrance is shown early on as having an anger and violence problem, when the incident of him dislocating Danny's shoulder is discussed. It alludes to the fact that Jack's is a personality already close to edge, and that's why the hotel is able to manipulate him the way it does.

 

In the end, I enjoy Jack's performance as being fun, but I don't think it has a lot of nuance. He's memorable, but the real effect of the film comes from other aspects in the film, for me anyway, like the sound, cinematography, the score, the overall mood.

 

Jack, after all, is an alcoholic. This is a large сhink in his armour.  He creates reasons to drink. He knows he's going to drink, it's just a matter of letting the urges well up inside until he finally rationalizes it. The Hotel exploits this weakness very nicely. Keeping this in mind, I completely accept his performance.

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