The Turn of the Screw: Masterpiece Theatre

Overview

This adaptation of the classic novel by Henry James, produced for British television and shown in the United States as part of PBS's Masterpiece Theatre series, stars Jodhi May as Miss, a young woman hired as a governess by the Master (Colin Firth), a charming but mysterious man who wants Miss to care for his two children, with the unusual stipulation that she have no contact with him. Despite this edict, Miss becomes infatuated with the Master and comes to enjoy her work; the children are good-natured and fun to...
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Overview

This adaptation of the classic novel by Henry James, produced for British television and shown in the United States as part of PBS's Masterpiece Theatre series, stars Jodhi May as Miss, a young woman hired as a governess by the Master (Colin Firth), a charming but mysterious man who wants Miss to care for his two children, with the unusual stipulation that she have no contact with him. Despite this edict, Miss becomes infatuated with the Master and comes to enjoy her work; the children are good-natured and fun to care for, and she makes a good friend in housekeeper Mrs. Grose (Pam Ferris). But, one day, she sees something strange in the house: the ghost of Peter Quint (Jason Salkey), the Master's former valet, who died under mysterious circumstances. Miss learns that her predecessor as governess, Miss Jessel (Caroline Pegg), also drowned, in an incident that raised many questions, with some believing the Master to blame. Miss learns that the children can see the ghosts too, though most adults cannot, and she fears that she has fallen into a situation of grave danger. The Turn of the Screw was directed by Ben Bolt, whose previous television experience includes the series Prime Suspect and An Unsuitable Job for a Woman.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Scene selection; Access to the ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre; Website; Closed captions
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
If this PBS version of The Turn of the Screw is not quite as expert at creating tension and a sense of the supernatural as the better-known The Innocents, it is nevertheless both a respectable and a respectful adaptation of the Henry James classic. Indeed, this Turn is one of the better of the many adaptations of the book at keeping things murky in terms of whether the ghosts are "real" or simply the result of an overactive imagination. Director Ben Bolt and screenwriter Nick Dear deserve a great deal of credit for this accomplishment, but they must share it with Jodhi May, who plays the governess whose sanity may be in question. May's performance plumbs the psychological depths of the character, creating someone whose inner contradictions, especially in terms of her repressed sensuality, make quite believable the possibility that the spirits in Turn are all in her head. This does come with a cost, however; May is so overtly sensitive that one wonders why the Master has chosen her for this position, and equally wonders why the staff treat her with so much deference. Still, it's a small trade-off for the wonderful effects her performance brings to the film. Equally commendable is Pam Ferris, who seems to be Mrs. Grose personified, and Colin Firth, whose tiny part is nevertheless impeccably played. The child actors are fine, if not outstanding. All in all, this Turn is well worth watching.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/13/2004
  • UPC: 783421339392
  • Original Release: 1999
  • Rating:

  • Source: Wgbh / Pbs
  • Time: 2:00:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 6,278

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jodhi May
Pam Ferris
Colin Firth
Jenny Howe
Caroline Pegg
Grace Robinson
Jason Salkey
Joe Sowerbutts
Technical Credits
Ben Bolt Director
Michele Buck Executive Producer
Pat Campbell Production Designer
Nick Dear Screenwriter
Helga Dowie Associate Producer
Adrian Johnston Score Composer
Sheena Napier Costumes/Costume Designer
David Odd Cinematographer
Martin Pope Producer
Roseanne Samuel Makeup
Tim Vaughan Executive Producer
Henry James Source Author
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. The New Governess [11:48]
2. Arriving at Bly [10:16]
3. The Mystery Grows [11:46]
4. Protecting the Children [9:09]
5. Nighttime Visits [12:59]
6. The Wickedness of Miles [10:43]
7. Flora Is Removed [9:56]
8. The True Nature of Evil [10:01]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Scene Selection
   DVD-ROM Features
   Accessibility Options
   Other Products of Interest
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