NABOKV-L post 0017945, Sun, 15 Mar 2009 07:59:55 -0700

Turns of the Screw
Yesterday Jansy wrote: Truman Capote was one of the script-writers of
a Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw" adaptation to the movies, in
"The Innocents". Although VN disliked William James' brother, he
conceded that he sometimes enjoyed "his turn of a phrase" ( I'm
quoting SO from memory). Unlike the original, "The Innocents" follows
a clear psychological bias by emphasizing the hysteric traits and the
pedophilic impulses found in the children's governess. Its marvellous
b&w photography and scenic effects, plus an effective story-telling,
managed to keep intact the suspense, inspite of this specific short-
coming. I couldn't help wondering how Kinbote would be represented -
should there be a Pale Fire movie version according to the J&H
hypothesis. In my opinion VN deliberately planted unsolvable problems
and imprecisions to offer, not only one but, an indefinite number of
possibilities which I consider as far more important to explore than a
single definite solution to a puzzle. Nevertheless, a clever J&H
version might be as fascinating to see as the growing unreality
achieved by Deborah Kerr in the role of a crazy spinster.

Dear Jansy,

I'm delighted that you bring up the subject of the James story and the
wonderful film "The Innocents". The way I read the "T of the S" is
open-ended. I do not see any resolution of the ambiguity. However, I
would certainly be open to thinking about a possible resolution. The
one in the film is only a suggested interpretation - - it still
retains and allows the occult explanation of events - - most
beautifully and convincingly envisioned, I might add.

I have read some intriguing ideas about the story though. One is
speculation that it is a re-writing of Jane Eyre, which I'm not sure I
understand, the other is a very detailed analysis of the story that I
haven't really tackled yet. My own speculation is that as a "virgin
mother" the governess is being punished for her audacity against the
Virgin Mary (she is the daughter of a vicar isn't she?).

All very interesting and to be continued!


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