Originally airing on ABC on April 15, 1974, this Dan Curtis-produced and directed film takes the videotaped look of Dark Shadows to the Henry James novel and wraps it all up in a little under two hours. And if you love that gothic fiction soap opera, good news. Music cues from it are all over this made for TV movie.
Lynn Redgrave stars as Miss Jane Cubberly, is hired by Peter Quint and sent to look after young Miles and Flora after the deaths of their parents. Yet wickedness (that word will be used often; I chased my wife around our house screaming dialogue from this movie in my horrible British accent) abounds and perhaps Jane should have never made her way to the Bly house.
The issue with The Turn of the Screw happens with every adaption: people have been trying to figure out the novel since it was first written. The story, the revelation at the end and the characters’ motivations are all up to the individual reader, which makes it difficult to film a movie for everyone.
Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played Maggie Evans on the original Dark Shadows and has written many of the books that have kept the show alive, is in this as Miss Jessel. Megs Jenkins, who plays Mrs. Grose, also had the same exact role in another adaption, The Innocents.
Here’s a great fact: Redgrave is one of four members of her family to appear in an adaptation of this story. Her father Michael was in The Innocents, her brother Corin was in the 2009 version and her niece Joely Richardson played Darla Mandell in the recent version, The Turning.