HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  Nightcomers, The Mad Influence
Year: 1971
Director: Michael Winner
Stars: Marlon Brando, Stephanie Beacham, Thora Hird, Harry Andrews, Verna Harvey, Christopher Ellis, Anna Palk
Genre: Horror, Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: The Master of the House (Harry Andrews), guardian to two children since their parents died in a tragic accident, is growing tired of living with them so far out of the capital in the English countryside, so has made arrangements to leave and go about his business affairs. This means Miles (Christopher Ellis) and Flora (Verna Harvey) are to be left in the care of their teacher, Miss Jessel (Stephanie Beacham) and the housekeeper, Mrs Grose (Thora Hird), yet the one individual who has most influence over them turns out to be Mr Quint (Marlon Brando), the groundskeeper. He is an uncouth Irishman, though the children love him and his stories - but could he be a bad influence?

Henry James' classic short novel The Turn of the Screw has set its readers wondering for over a century: was the new mistress insane, or was she really witnessing ghosts? However, few have been so intrigued as to what was really happening as to invent a whole background to what that phantom couple she thought she was seeing had really gotten up to before she arrived to take care of her charges, yet that is what screenwriter Michael Hastings and director Michael Winner, here apparently going for some literary respect, did. It's still recognisably a Winner film, for all its classic adaptation trappings, as James patently forgot to leave in the scenes of sexual bondage.

It's stuff like that which reminds you the seventies was the decade of films like The Night Porter and books like Let's Go Play at the Adams', but Winner was not really the man to bring that kind of transgressive material to the screen, and as soon as it is introduced, he quickly grows reluctant to pursue it much further. What he does do, in having Quint and Jessel's sex games influence the children's play, is create an air of perversity missing in its inspiration, and the sense of a group of people stuck out on the middle of nowhere as winter draws on (this is a very chilly-looking film, even without a flake of snow) sending each other mad by their very presence is a potent one.

At the heart of this is Quint, essayed by Brando with a leery charm and an unfortunate, sing-song "Oirish" accent that he must have been very proud of, but does his credibility no favours. This was released the year before The Godfather made him a force to be reckoned with all over again - if it had been made after it's doubtful Winner would have been able to afford him, but it does feature a Last Tango in Paris quality to its damaging love affair, so could have been part of the reason the star decided to take his performance even further in that than he does here. It's certainly curious to see him playing scenes with British national treasure Thora Hird: in his autobiography Brando recollects that he could not understand a word she was saying when they took lunch together, which is pretty rich coming from Marlon Brando.

In spite of reservations others have had, The Nightcomers is well cast, with Beacham's prim schoolmistress convincingly corrupted, and the two children, actually two actors in their late teens playing younger than their years, are appropriately squirm-inducing when they fall too far under Quint's spell. The isolation of these characters makes this an odd kind of horror movie, with much of the shock value gauged by what is going on in their minds rather than their actions, but if it all seems a bit unecessary in the first place - the strength of James' original is in its ambiguity - the film is better than its reputation. All right, there are times when Winner indulges Brando - who would argue with him? - as we didn't need part of the running time taken up with a rambling shaggy dog story about a horse, and it's not exactly sparkling entertainment, but it does have a queasiness you don't often get with old dark house mysteries that works in its favour. Music by Jerry Fielding.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3441 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Michael Winner  (1935 - 2013)

Opinionated British producer-director whose early comedies - You Must Be Joking, The Jokers, I'll Never Forget Whatsisname - were promising enough, but come the seventies he had settled into a pattern of overblown thrillers.

Of these, Death Wish was a huge hit, and Winner directed two similar sequels. Other films included horrors (The Nightcomers, The Sentinel), Westerns (Lawman, Chato's Land), thrillers (Scorpio, Dirty Weekend) and disastrous comedies (Bullseye!). Also a restaurant critic.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: