Jack Clayton’s The Innocents (UK, 1961) is based on the Henry James story The Turn of the Screw, making it an ideal ghost story film to show to children at KS3. Teach First teacher Jenny Heeks created four lessons during a placement at BFI during August 2013.
Her first lesson is based around film marketing, and the choices the distributors of The Innocents made about foregrounding some elements of the film, and disguising others. Jenni’s contention is that the powerfully ‘uncanny’ and evil dimension of the children in the film was maybe too strong to handle directly. The Innocents Lesson 3 Children are Evil and a selection of original marketing ideas from the film distributor:
Jenni’s second lesson makes an imaginative connection between the shot of beetle emerging from a rose in the film, with William Blake’s Sick Rose: The Innocents Lesson The Insect and the Rose
Her third lesson explores the role of the haunted house throughout Gothic fiction, and film: The Innocents Lesson: Haunted Houses
And the fourth lesson explores the power of the imagination, specifically over whether characters and events in the film really happen, or are figments of Miss Giddens’s imagination… The Innocents Lesson: Power of the Imagination
Finally.. Jenni compiled some Viewing Notes and threw in a Gothic Bingo game, for fun! The viewing notes are exceptionally interesting and useful – a live record of her viewing of the film, with responses, allusions, connections, and ideas all spilling out.