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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"The Devil's Own"/"The Witches" (1966) with Joan

"The Devil's Own": Not to be confused with the 1997 Brad Pitt film of the same name (or a 1916 silent film with Harry Carey, unrelated to either picture) This one is from Britain's Hammer Film Productions, and is also known as "The Witches" according to advertisements outside the United States.

dfordoom of Cult Movie Reviews recently posted an excellent review of this film, which insipred me to look into it further.

The 1962 novel "The Devil's Own" was written by Norah Lofts, who wrote it under the name of Peter Curtis, for a reason I don't understand (witchcraft-related?) Joan plays a schoolteacher who is exposed to the craft while teaching as a missionary in Africa. She's so frightened that she has a nervous breakdown. After returning to her native England, she becomes the head teacher of a small school in a rural village (a "village without hope" according to the eerie trailer - watch below), where she investigates the strange behavior of the townsfolk (including her 14-year old student with ties to the craft) and other unexplained mysteries. Directed by Cyril Frankel ("School for Scoundrels")

When I first heard about this film, Ms. Fontaine's last theatrical performance, I thought she accepted the movie role because she needed the money. How embarrassed I was to learn that she was in fact a co-producer (!) and insisted on starring in it, having loved the orignal novel.

Initial release date: Nov 21, 1966

Read another review from Mondo Esoterica. Read the Tainted Archive's blog post on Hammer Films.


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