Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • TBC
  • 1972
  • 96 mins

The Nightcomers

The Nightcomers

Synopsis

Marlon Brando, Stephanie Beacham and Thora Hird feature in Michael Winner's pointless prequel to Henry James' 'The Turn Of The Screw'. Occasionally lurid but generally lame attempt at psychodrama in which two horrible kids commit a double murder

About

There may be many who thought Marlon Brando would never ask Thora Hird if she wished to see him naked. Thanks to Michael Winner's misguided period horror he gets the chance but there's precious little of value here, and the most horrific thing is Brando's cod-Oirish accent.

The first of many problems is the premise. James' play tells of a lonely brother and sister (here played by Ellis and Harvey) haunted by their dead governess and gamekeeper. The Nightcomers explains how they came to die but offers no insight into the original story, and fails to stand alone.

Effectively the children's only friend, Brando is the Mellors-esque Quint, and it turns out he's enjoying an S&M flavoured affair with governess Miss Jessel (Beacham.) A Whistle Down The Wind-style misunderstanding convinces the kids that the adults need to be killed and the film ends where The Screw begins.

Climbing up trees and blowing up toads, Brando is bad but charismatic. However Beacham looks embarrassed, the children are embarrassing and only housekeeper Thora Hird exhibits much energy. The plot is a succession of improbabilities and the climax too daft for words.

Released in the same year as Last Tango in Paris, were it not for Brando's presence this would have been consigned directly to the great video vault in the sky, where it belongs.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Verna Harvey, Thora Hird, Stephanie Beacham, Marlon Brando, Harry Andrews, Christopher Ellis
  • Director: Michael Winner
  • Writer: Michael Hastings
  • Producer: Elliot Kastner, Michael Winner
  • Photographer: Robert Paynter
  • Composer: Jerry Fielding

In a nutshell

Badly acted, poorly written, rarely convincing and never frightening, this is an ill-conceived prologue to 'The Turn of the Screw' that really didn't need to be made.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    The Five-Year Engagement

    Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are Tom and Violet, a happy couple whose plans to marry become increasingly hopeless. Co-starring Chris Pratt and a host of sit-com favourites, expect sincerely romantic moments amongst Segel's signature frat boy humour.

    On Film4: 4 Aug 9:00PM

  • Film4

    Maidan

    Documentary portrait of the winter 2013/14 Ukrainian demonstrations in Kiev against the pro-Moscow presidency of Viktor Yanukovych and for a greater integration with Europe.

  • Film4

    The Five-Year Engagement on Film4

    Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are Tom and Violet, a happy couple whose plans to marry become increasingly hopeless. Co-starring Chris Pratt and a host of sit-com favourites, expect sincerely romantic moments amongst Segel's signature frat boy humour.

  • Film4

    Summer Daytime Films on Film4

    Summer films on Film4

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Guests announced for Film4 FrightFest 2015

    Barbara Crampton, Rick Wakeman, James Cosmo, Toyah Willcox, Neil Marshall and Bernard Rose amongst dazzling array of guests set to re-animate FrightFest... Scream Queen legend Barbara Crampton is F

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Toby Amies on The Man Whose Mind Exploded

    Ahead of the TV premiere of The Man Whose Mind Exploded, Film4.com editor Michael Leader speaks with director Toby Amies about his fascinating documentary about the friendship he forged with the colou

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share