One from the To Watch Pile…
Film: I’m not always a balls-to-the-wall, high gore horror fan, in actual fact, a lot of the time, I much prefer the slow-burn style thriller. This leads me to enjoy some of the more older, black and white horrors, which is why I was excited to watch this Bette Davis, Hammer Horror film The Nanny.
The story is of young Joey Fane (William Dix), a ten year old boy who has spent two years in a facility for ne’er-do-well children after it seems that he accidentally killed his younger sister, Susy (Anghared Aubrey). Upon returning home from the facility, Joey is quite happy to see his mother, the faint-hearted Virginia (Wendy Craig, best known for the Tv series ‘And Mother Makes Three’/ ‘And Mother Makes Five’) and his quite strict father, Bill (James Villiers from Repulsion) but seemingly refuses to want to have anything to do with the family’s long standing ‘Nanny’ (Bette Davis, the Hollywood legend from films such as Dead Ringer and Whatever Happened To Baby Jane).
He becomes convinced that ‘Nanny’ is trying to kill him, and confides so in the 14 year old neighbour from upstairs, Bobby (Pamela Franklin from …And Soon The Darkness). Soon though, other members of the house become ill with evidence pointing to Joey poisoning them, and it would seem that perhaps he actually DOES have murderous intentions.
This film was produced and written by Jimmy Sangster, who wrote many scripts for the Hammer Horror stable, and was based on a book by Evelyn Piper. The director Seth Holt, sits high on my list of Hammer go-to guys as he directed Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, which I love. The score was composed by Richard Rodney Bennett who also gave us the scores to such films as The Witches and Four Weddings and a Funeral.
This is a thrilling movie that is told very deliberately, and contains some great performances; especially from the youngsters involved who really had to hold this film together. The film takes place mostly in and around the apartment building that the Fane’s live in, and Holt’s direction keeps it interesting, though never too much like it is a theatre piece, which could have happened in a lesser director’s hands. Highly recommended.
Format: The review copy of this film was a region B bluray released by Shock in Australia. The movies goes for 93 minutes, and the audio is presented in a decent and clean 2.0 LPCM track, and the image is presented in a moderately clean 16:9 image, that is quite artefact-y with many little marks and scratches on the print, but not to the point of distraction. All in all, a nice image for a film of this vintage.
Extras: Unfortunately, there are no extras on this disc, which is a bummer, as surely this is an important piece of film history with its victim being a child, and other elements that possibly hadn’t been dealt with before this film which I won’t reveal here as they are somewhat spoilerific.
WISIA: I don’t think this film will end up on high rotation, but it is good enough to keep in any collection, especially for fans of older, less ‘Hollywood’ horror.