The Nightcomers (1972)

“Two Children. Two Adults. One Unspeakable Crime.” What events predated Henry James’ bizarre 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw? This offbeat British horror film attempts to answer that question by showcasing the relationship between a kinky gardener named Peter Quint (Marlon Brando) and his willing accomplice, a sexually naïve nanny, Miss Jessel (Stephanie Beacham). A couple of obnoxious kids, Flora (Verna Harvey) and Miles (Christopher Ellis), witness the action. It’s basically Last Tango in Paris meets The Secret Garden! Okay, so I’m exaggerating a bit. Some critics have singled out Brando’s “awful” Irish accent (for instance the Time Out Film Guide refers to the legendary actor “mumbling endless Irish blarney” throughout the film) but it didn’t bother me at all. Directed by Michael Winner (Death Wish), The Nightcomers also stars Thora Hird, Harry Andrews and Anna Palk. I definitely recommend this film for Brando fans; everyone else might want to stay the hell away. Spoiler alert: Brando gets snuffed out at the end with an arrow to the head. The Turn of the Screw was made into the British film, The Innocents, in 1961 starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave and Megs Jenkins, and directed by Jack Clayton.

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